Listening to live music is just good for the soul. Sometimes, though, you don’t have the time (or money) in advance to buy a ticket to a big show and plan a full evening around it. If you want to catch some live music on a whim, we’ve got you covered. Check out this list of a few places to see live music on the fly – no preplanning or reservations required.

Art Bar

A beloved institution in Columbia SC since the 80s, Art Bar in the Vista has that come-as-you-are, all-are-welcome energy of your favorite neighborhood dive bar. Add in a stage and a variety of acts from hip-hop artists to indie rock bands and you’ve got the recipe for an eclectic evening.

New Brookland Tavern

Right across the Gervais Street Bridge in West Columbia is New Brookland Tavern—Columbia’s oldest continuously running music venue and tavern. Here, you can sip on local brews while you watch local and regional talent of all genres, seven days a week. Bonus: there’s even the occasional open-mic comedy night. 

Tin Roof

Your go-to spot for both country and cover bands, Tin Roof is the perfect place to stop in if you want to dance along to your favorite classics that are perfect for a group singalong. Think: “Friends in Low Places” and “All The Small Things.” Don’t lie—we know you know all the words. 

Lula Drake

Feelin’ fancy? Stop in to Columbia SC’s European-style wine bar Lula Drake for sips, snacks and the smooth sounds of Jazz music. Plus, the Nutella crepe - enough said!

Za’s on Devine

Hit Za’s on Devine Street on Wednesdays for wine night and live music. Featuring $4 select glasses of wine and a lively bar area, it's your neighborhood pizza place with a side of acoustic guitar and cover song favorites.

Pearlz Upstairs

Grab a few oysters or a po’boy downstairs at Pearlz Oyster Bar, then head upstairs for live music and dancing. You can expect anything from electronic DJs to local jazz standouts like Mark Rapp. 

The Aristocrat 

Treat yourself or someone else to a night on the town? Swank it up at The Aristocrat in the Vista District. While we love the live music and impressive wine list, we gotta be honest: we stick around for the baked avocado fries. 

Steel Hands Brewing 

Local brews and bands? We’re so in. Spend a sunny Carolina day at Steel Hands Brewing in Cayce, and enjoy standout beer creations like the almost-famous Coffee Lager and the Raspberry Lemonade brew. Don’t sleep on the food, either. Duck fat fries, anyone?


Got a little more time to plan? Check out regional and national acts at The Senate, Township Auditorium and Colonial Life Arena.