Looking for live music in San Diego? Whether you’re looking for a grungy bar with a ’90s rocker feel, a speakeasy with a secret entrance, or maybe you’d like to enjoy a live Irish band while enjoying a pint of Guinness, San Diego has tons of live music opportunities all throughout the nightlife scene.
If you’re ready to dive into the scene, here are our top 10 picks for bars with live music in San Diego.
428 F Street San Diego, CA 92101
Opened during the Prohibition in 1933, this pub has been in Downtown San Diego since the inception of the Gaslamp Quarter, and was the only place in the downtown area that had live music. Known as “the premier Blues and Live Music Club,” the venue features music every night of the week starting at 9pm. With a casual vibe, reasonably-priced drinks, and great on-stage talent nightly, it’s an excellent place to visit with a group of friends. There is no dress code, so you can enjoy the best of San Diego talent without getting dressed up.
2. The Casbah
2501 Kettner Blvd, San Diego Ca 92102
With a reputation as one of the best concert venues in town, the Casbah is actually not a very large concert venue. In fact, it is a fairly small and relatively divey one. Hosting nationally recognized bands and little-known local bands, the Casbah runs the gambit. For the music lover looking for a night out, the Casbah is one of the top bars with live music in San Diego, boasting decent prices and a small setting. With standing room only, you can practically reach out and touch the performers. This venue is all ages for some shows, and 21+ for others, with prices ranging from free to top dollar for national acts. Check the concert calendar for upcoming shows, prices, and age restrictions.
548 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
If you’re looking to get dressed up and step back to a time of moonshiners and bathtub distilleries, then Prohibition is the place for you. Open Thursday through Saturday, they have a dress code and house rules for you to review before visiting. They offer live jazz, blues, or soul music depending on the night you visit, starting at 9:30pm; you can check their music calendar to see who is performing each night. If you are looking to impress your friends or date, take them to this hidden speakeasy bar. Located behind a law office door, visitors need to push the buzzer to be let in, then descend a set of red-light-lit stairs into the bar. Tip: show up early to avoid the line!
Ready for a raucous night out at one of our favorite San Diego bars with live music? If you’ve never seen dueling pianos before, the Shout House is quite an experience. This place is all about the music. The audience can place requests for the performers, who sit at face-to-face grand pianos and perform classic rock all night long. Open Tuesday through Sunday, the doors open at different times depending on the night of the week, with performers starting about an hour after doors open. There is no cover Sunday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. There are varying covers the other nights of the week, ranging from $5-$10 depending on your time of arrival and the night of the week.
5. Trisler’s Wine Bar
8555 Station Village Ln, San Diego CA 92108
Joining our list of San Diego bars with live music is this wine bar near Escala San Diego – Mission Valley. Trisler’s has musicians most nights starting at 7pm, with a list of performers available on their website. The bar has an intimate vibe, enhanced by rich dark woods and candles set out on tables, making this is a great place for a romantic date. With great happy hour prices around $5 per pour and a rotating selection of wines on the menu, this is an excellent spot for the music and wine lover.
6. The Field
544 5th Ave, San Diego CA. 92101
San Diego has a vibrant Irish bar scene, with bars hosting live music most nights and frequently accompanied by Irish dancers. Located in the Gaslamp Quarter, the Field hosts live music by Eamon Carroll on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday starting at 8:30pm. On Fridays, they host different bands (usually leaning toward the Irish-punk rock variety) that typically start at 9pm. They have no cover charge, maintain music levels that allow you to converse with your companion, and have great live performances.
7. Seven Grand
3054 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104
Seven Grand sets the bar high for upscale whiskey bars. Boasting an eclectic array of musicians on various nights, we recommend checking out their events calendar to see what musicians will be playing when you’re planning to visit.
8. Bar Pink
3829 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104
If you are looking for a bar with cheap drinks, good music, and a laid-back atmosphere, Bar Pink fits the bill. With live music every night at 9pm except Sundays, and no cover, this is a great spot to catch some of San Diego’s best local bands. While a bit of a glammed-up dive, this bar has excellent cocktails, great music, and a casual vibe.
9. Soda Bar
3615 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego CA 92104
With a small stage and a small venue, you can often lose sound quality – but at Soda Bar the sound maintains its quality. With local bands opening for touring bands, this venue offers a great opportunity for new acts to get heard. This 21+ venue hosts live music every night of the week, so be sure to leave the kiddies at home. With cover charges ranging from free to $20, this is a great small venue to check out a local band or a touring band.
Photo by peyri