Best Places to watch Live Music in Jacksonville


Jacksonville's local music scene has developed nicely in the past few years thanks to some forward thinking indie music types with an eye for downtown revival. Much of the local music scene is centered around the Elbow District in downtown Jax, but before going there it's only fair to give a shout-out to Jack Rabbits.

Jack Rabbits was located on Hendricks Avenue long before it became trendy. That said, the building looks is decidedly not. Inside has been spiffed up but this is not an "impress your date" place unless he or she is in it for live music which Jack Rabbits has in spades. Local bands play throughout the year with national acts making appearances regularly. Much of the music is indie rock; although you've gotta love the self-description of Orlando's Bath Salt Zombies as a "grunge grass, carnival folk rock and hippie pirate music". Check out their calendar to see who's playing next. Jack Rabbits is open to music lovers under 18 and serves beer and wine. There's also a small courtyard out back to get some fresh air in between acts.

Mavericks, located in downtown's riverfront Jacksonville Landing, bills itself as a country nightclub and music hall but really they bring in acts of all musical genres. Most of the live bands are ticketed events and recently ran the gamut from a GrungeFest to Chase Bryant to YG so the music is not necessarily local but it's also not music you'd find at the big venues in Jacksonville. Most nights Mavericks hosts country line dancing with DJ's.

The Elbow District is a five-minute walk from the Landing. Comprised of restaurants and bars (with more to open), these smaller venues feature local bands as well as national up and coming acts. Thursday through Sunday are the nights to Uber here and walk the Elbow to visit the 1904 Music Hall, the Underbelly, Burro Bar, Myth Nightclub and the Hourglass Pub and Coffee Shop. Of course, you might extend your evening in the Elbow after seeing a show at the Florida Theatre, Jacksonville's beautiful and historic concert venue.

Out at the beach, you'll find live music every night at Lynch's Irish Pub. On weekdays (including Sunday), the music is from 10 p.m. - 2 a.m. but bands play pretty much from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m on Friday and Saturday. Lynch's has been a beach staple for many years because of the friendly vibe, good beer selection and great food.

MoJo's Kitchen, BBQ and Blues Bar is near the ocean on Beach Boulevard. Part of the popular local chain, this location has a steady stream of live music with, as the name says, a focus on the blues. Check the event schedule to visit when songstress, Toots Lorraine, is in the house. She's got it going on.

So many places, so little time. If you are looking to catch local music on a Saturday, visit the Riverside Arts Market under the Fuller Warren Bridge. The St. Johns River is the stage backdrop and the shelter of the bridge makes this a sweet spot. Plus you can grab lunch and enjoy it with your free entertainment.

Shelley also recommends you check out Fernandina Beach and St. Augustine's historic districts for more small bars and restaurants with live local entertainment.

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