Before any debates begin regarding this list, we would like to point out that this list only features small venues that primarily operate as a bar or restaurant. Therefore, you will not find any traditional music venues on this list. With that being said, we visited a ton of live music bars/restaurants playing different genres of music. After careful consideration our top 5 list was created. We feel these venues embody the diversity and flavor that Philly offers. Some are easy listening date spots while others are for the hard core music fiends. Which ever you choose to visit, it’s sure to be a great time. Enjoy.
1315 Sansom St. | (215) 985-4800 | Sun.- Sat. 5 pm – 2 am
There are many notable big names on the live Jazz scene. However, Time seems to fuse live music with artisan drinks and great food the best. The restaurant and bar alone is worth the trip to Center City. Add the smooth tuns of live Jazz and you have a recipe for a great time. Since there isn’t an official stage, jazz players play along side tables creating an atmosphere that is both cozy and intimate. This is a great date spot or a place to relax with friends over a cocktail.
20 S 2nd St. | (215) 928-0978 | Tues.-Sat. 12 pm – 10 pm, Sun. & Mon. Closed
Staying with the cozy and intimate setting, no other venue gets more intimate than Tin Angel. In its 22nd year of operation this place has quietly been winning over locals with every performance. Located above Serrano Restaurant in Old City, this venue is the quintessential date venue you see in romantic comedies. With candles glowing on every table and acoustic music playing just feet away, it’s hard not to love this place. Servers are always on hand to provide select wines, beers, and cocktails.
North Star Bar
2639 Poplar St || Sun.-Sat. 5 pm – 2 am
Switching gears from warm and cozy to electric and vibrant, North Star Bar situated in the heart of the Fairmount section of town has played host to some of the best bands in the country. Primarily focusing on rock & punk music, bands such as the White Stripes, Fun, and, Dick Dale have all blessed the stage here. This bar is unassumingly large. The outward appearance is that of any neighborhood bar you come across but that perception changes once inside. So for those looking to feel the pulse of Philly’s rock scene, this is the place to be.
1201 Frankford Ave. || Sun.-Sat. 11 am – 2 am
Johnny Brenda’s is a Philly landmark and no live music list is complete without it. This place is as Philly as a cheesesteak. Johnny Brenda’s prides itself in serving draft beer from local breweries as well as ingredients from local farmers. Self described as “… an elegant, iconic historical social hall with design elements reminiscent of a turn of the century burlesque club or theater,” it’s an unique atmosphere you just can’t get anywhere else. The venue serves as a platform for mostly rock and indie bands so don’t expect anything intimate, just a fun and loud rocking place.
Kung Fu Necktie
1248 N. Front St. || Mon.-Sat. 5 pm – 2 am
If you have no qualms about traveling off the beaten path, in Olde Kensington there is a cool bar that showcases cool tunes. Mostly frequented by locals, this place has a personality all its own. Above its downstairs dive bar atmosphere their upstairs stage showcases indie bands from all over the country every day. It’s hard to pass up cheap beers and great music. So if you’re looking great rock music and no frills, look no further.