When most Houstonians think of live music venues, big names come to mind, like the House of Blues, White Oak Music Hall and the Toyota Center. But these big venues don’t offer the same down-home feel as these five lesser-known, intimate venues.
Situated on 2425 Norfolk, the iconic Mucky Duck serves up live entertainment and classic Irish pub fare. The intimate venue hosts popular local acts, like Peter Case, Ordinary Elephant, Mindy Smith and more.
Along with live music, the pub also hosts open mic nights on Mondays and Irish board game nights.
All shows are 21 years of age or older, but children can attend if they are accompanied by a parent. The Mucky Duck hosts children’s programming throughout the year, especially around the holidays, so this is a venue the entire family can enjoy.
McGonigel’s Mucky Duck is easily accessible from the medical district, and there’s plenty of parking on the street. It’s not uncommon for this pub to be jam-packed even in the middle of the week.
2. Anderson Fair
Anderson Fair has been hosting original singer-songwriters since 1969. Check out some of the best acts from Texas and all over the world, including American Dreamer, Bob Livingston, John Egan and more.
Anderson Fair is located on 2007 Grant Street. Bring cash. The venue doesn’t accept credit or debit cards at their brick and mortar location, but they will accept credit cards for online ticket orders.
Doors open at 7:30. Music starts around 8:45 on weekends and 8:00 on Songwriter Thursdays.
3. Rudyard’s British Pub
Known as the “living room of Montrose,” Rudyard’s British Pub has been hosting live music for more than 40 years.
Enjoy a pint, play some darts and take in some live music.
Located off Waugh in the Montrose, Rudyard’s has one of the most interesting live-music stages in Houston. Rock, punk, indie, metal, roots and pop bands have graced the stage, including: Concrete Elite, Killer Hearts, Gone Rogue and Bayou Vimana.
Monday is open mic night, and on Thursdays, they host dart tournaments. Stop in for punk rock karaoke or one of the many unique shows Rudyard’s hosts each week.
4. Last Concert
Eat, drink and be merry at Last Concert. The restaurant and live-music venue has been entertaining Houstonians since the 1940s. Listen to local musicians and artists from the courtyard, covered patio or in the Margarita Garden and Soundstage.
Last Concert hosts a variety of acts, like Tennessee Jet (rock/country), Pigeons Playing Ping (funk/jam/rock) Pong, Sammy Johnson (Pacific reggae) and Cycles w/Electric Van (rock/fusion). Watch local residents get their jam on at Drum Circle Wednesdays and Jam Circle Brunch on Sundays.
Last Concert hosts live music every week, Wednesday through Saturday until 2 am.
5. Avant Garden
Avant Garden is a social patio, bar and lounge that hosts live music acts. They welcome a variety of musicians, from blues to house and six-string.
Located in lower Westheimer, the unique venue is a converted three-story house with three performance areas: upstairs, downstairs and outdoors. Virtually every band that graces the stage is a local act.
Along with live music, guests enjoy acoustic open mic nights, stand-up comedy and poetry slams.
All of these lesser-known music venues offer great music, great food and great beer. Remember to drink responsibly and call an Uber. Don’t be one of the 1,099 accident fatalities caused by drunk driving. And don’t forget that some venues require you to buy tickets in advance.