Date Night. Girls Night Out. Bros Night Out. Call it what you want, but we ALL need to get out and blow off some steam now again! Fortunately, we live in an area that has many venues for LIVE MUSIC, which elevates any good night into a GREAT one. Here’s a list of local watering holes and restaurants that offer live music regularly. Where do YOU like to go to hear some tunes?
56 North Ave. E., Cranford
Yes, this bar is not huge, but they often have great bands playing! Get there early so you can snag a seat at the bar or one of the few tables. January 9th will feature the return of BBQ Bob and the Spareribs. I mean, seriously, I’d go see that band for the name alone.
215 Centennial Ave, Cranford
Head over to 100 Steps on Tuesdays for Taco Night, when your palate will be entertained by the chef’s unique take on tacos and at 7 pm your ears will be treated to live music performed by rotating local acts.
78 North Ave., Garwood
Crossroads is one of the best venues for live music in all of Union County. Bigger-name bands play here along with newbies, and even wannabes on open mic nights! There’s a live act almost every night of the week at Crossroads. Creole-style cuisine is what’s on the menu, and the bartenders know how to make a good drink! Note: There is often a cover charge.
16 Prospect Wine Bar & Bistro
16 Prospect St., Westfield
Every time I go to 16 Prospect, there always seems to be a crazy-talented musician tickling the ivories on their elevated stage. Here you’ll find live music 5 nights a week with an emphasis on jazz and piano.
10th Street Live
104 N. 10th St., Kenilworth
The name of this place is your clue that you’re in for some live music! Fridays and Saturdays offer live bands (and sometimes comedy shows, check their schedule). Saturdays sometimes feature heavy metal, if that’s your thing!
Blackthorn Restaurant & Pub
651 N. Michigan Ave., Kenilworth
This place has one of the largest outdoor patios around, complete with a Tiki bar theme, so it’s perfect for nights out in warm weather (and lately it’s been unseasonably warm!). Inside is spacious with a large bar area and dining rooms. Head to Blackthorn Sunday evenings for live entertainment, and on other nights as listed on their website and facebook page. On December 19th Blackthorn will host its “Chrismix” Spectacular with a live performance by Chris Porter (“The Water Dance”), champagne, giveaways, and much more. For tickets visit www.newjerseyvseverybody.com.
154 Bonnie Burn Road, Watchung
People come from FAR and WIDE to experience the Colorado Cafe. It’s cavernous inside, with multiple rooms and bars, and of course the infamous MECHANICAL BULL. Cover bands play in one room while country line dancing and DJ’s take over the other. Even if you don’t like live music, the Cafe is a worth a trip for the people-watching alone! Note: There is often a cover charge.
Oh’Brian’s on the Green
1300 Raritan Road, Clark
Acoustic music ushers in happy hour every Friday, followed by live bands the rest of the night. Saturdays often feature a DUELING PIANOS show!
No cover charge for Friday shows; dueling pianos shows require tickets (buy through their website) or pay at the door.
1085 Central Ave., Clark
This is the quintessential Irish pub in Union County, with a large, boisterous bar area where the bands play, and a quieter back dining room that’s great for families or date nights. There’s live music most Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Recently a band called Beer Goggles played a gig there. Enough said. Note: sometimes there’s a cover charge.
366 Park Ave., Scotch Plains
You know I love old architecture, and there is character galore in the Stagehouse Tavern! That’s because it was built in 1737, and it’s part of the National Register of Historic Places. But enough about the building itself–you should know that a wide variety of great bands play at the Tavern on Fridays and Saturdays at 10 pm. Treat yourself to a post-Christmas drink (or two) and the sweet sounds of The Buzz on December 26.