When checking out the music scene of Gainesville, FL, visiting these venues is key. Enjoying live music while lounging with a nice beverage is a great way to mingle with the local community and enjoy a lovely day or night out.
The Atlantic Nightspot
This place is a Gainesville landmark, rich in history and culture. Inside, you can feel the cool, vintage vibes in an intimate setting with ambient lighting and great acoustics. You can expect to see all kinds of people from around town, both students and locals. If you’re a fan of indie and alternative music, this place is for you. It’s usually pretty crowded since it’s so popular, and it offers a blend of a bar, club, and music venue, making it the perfect place to dance the night away. Make sure to check out The Atlantic's upcoming events here.
Location: 15 N Main St
Arcade Bar on University Ave has a funky, 80’s style atmosphere with a huge spacing offering different environments. Aside from the bar, this spot also has a nightclub space, and 3 floors packed with all kinds of old arcade games. It’s an awesome place to party and they also offer awesome prices on drinks. Sometimes it can get pretty hot in there, with so many people packed in, but you can take a breather in the outdoor sitting area. For a seriously fun and unique experience, the Arcade Bar is the place to be. To learn about upcoming events and DJs, check out their Facebook page.
Location: 6 E University Ave
The Backyard at Boca Fiesta and Palomino’s
If you want to listen to some good music and dance in an intimate, inviting environment, head on over to The Backyard. Nicknamed the “in-between space” this intimate outdoor bar provides a convenient fusion of drinks, Mexican food, and pool. You can move through all of these places freely, but many don’t even stray from The Backyard, where everyone dances, drinks, and enjoys themselves. There are all kinds of special events being held every week and touring DJs always ensure a fresh rotation of music.
Location: 232 SE First St
Ballyhoo Grill is a lively, vibrant spot with cute, quirky island decor serves up classic surf n’ turf and sushi since 1998. The front of this restaurant may be deceiving -- it looks like any old sports bar -- but on the inside, the vibe changes completely and you are transported to a tropical, beachy setting. If you sit outside on the patio, you can enjoy the warm Gainesville weather and listen to live music any day of the week. Find out who's playing tonight on Ballyhoo's Facebook page.
Lcocation: 3700 W University Ave
Bo Diddley Plaza
One of Gainesville’s greatest assets is Bo Diddley Plaza. Located in the heart of Downtown, this place is a hub for community and culture. There is always some kind of community function being hosted here, so make sure to check out the plaza's calendar for upcoming events. Free concerts are held every Friday from 8-10pm. with awesome bands playing all kinds of music, from classic rock to reggae, from jazz to pop, from indie to blues -- Bo Diddley has it all.
Location: 111 E University Ave
Crafty Bastards is a strip mall sports grill offering craft beer and bar food in a quaint, casual atmosphere. Great bands are always playing here, usually rock and indie musicians, and there’s always a lively crowd. Besides live music, the place also has karaoke and open mic nights. Check out their calendar of events here.
Location: 4860 NW 39th Ave, Suite A
Durty Nelly’s is an old-school pub offering cheap beer and cocktails in a cozy setting. The live Irish folk music adds to the bar’s overall vibe, and you really feel like you’ve been transported to a little hole-in-the-wall in Ireland. Durty Nelly’s is truly iconic; it’s been around for over two decades, and it has that friendly feel that makes nights most memorable (...or not!) You can also enjoy other kinds of events like trivia and bingo nights; learn more on Durty Nelly's Facebook page.
Location: 208 W University Ave
Heartwood Soundstage is an amazing place to listen to music. The acoustics are phenomenal and there are always high-class bands performing there. Only state-of-the-art technology is used, so you can ensure all events are handled very professionally. It is definitely a creative, artistic space that helps build community and keep the music scene thriving. This is a unique gem of Gainesville run by passionate people, so attending at least one show here is essential. For information on upcoming events and getting tickets, visitthis page.
Location: 619 S Main St
High Dive is a cool, hip venue dedicated to the music scene of Gainesville. It hosts a nice blend of local and traveling bands in a chill environment, with indoor and outdoor bars. It’s a decent size, offering nice views of the stage and great acoustics. The place is small, so it can get pretty cramped and hot sometimes. However, it’s an important landmark for Gainesville’s cultural identity and, of course, nightlife. Check out the High Dive’s event list and calendar upcoming events and ticket prices.
Location: 210 SW Second Ave
One Love Cafe
Located next to Crafty Bastards is the equally quaint and casual One Love Cafe. Here, customers can enjoy locally sourced American eats (with lots of vegan and vegetarian options) and enjoy a relaxing atmosphere with a patio, fire pit & bocce court. The live music here adds to the lush, laid-back vibe of this backyard-style space -- you can view each month's lineup on this page.
Location: 4989 NW 40th Place