Catching a concert with all your favorite humans is one of the best ways to spend an evening, don’t you think? 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 find yourself in Columbia SC on a whim and want to catch a live show, 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. Now, let’s dance!

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 in the real Southern hotspot. 


A post shared by Art Bar (@artbarsc) on


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. 



Speaking of Jazz—we think it pairs well with pizza + vino, yeah? Hit Za’s on Devine on Thursdays for Jazz night… and don’t forget to order a slice of the French Silk Pie. Keep an eye on their social media for other live music popups throughout the week. 


Tapp's Arts Center

Department store-turned-Artistic laboratory, Tapp's Arts Center is a Main Street hub for live music (as well as exhibitions, cultural events, workshops, classes and art studios). Check their website for a list of upcoming shows and be prepared to strike up a conversation, as this place is packed with locals. 


The White Mule

Columbia’s newest live music venue, The White Mule is the perfect low-key spot for grabbing drinks and enjoying some live music. Make plans to catch local + regional acts throughout the week—and maaaybe even an open-mic night. We dare you. 


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 Columbia’s newest brewery, 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?

View this post on Instagram

Saturday’s were meant for this...🍻

A post shared by Steel Hands Brewing (@steelhandsbrewing) on



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