Where to Hear Live Music in Essex County

This area is full of great music options, from rock, to blues, funk, jazz and everything in between.  

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Big music venues are great, but sometimes you want to feel like a local, in an intimate setting where you can eat, drink, and listen to great bands who aren't necessarily on a tour.  Here are our favorite neighborhood places where you can feel like everybody knows your name, and the music is always fabulous.

Hat City
459 Valley Street, Orange         862-704-6248

Photo courtesy NJMonthly

Photo courtesy NJMonthly

Listen | Eat | Lounge is the philosophy of this recently relaunched eatery.  The new incarnation of the established anchor of the Valley Arts District which spans Orange and West Orange around the NJ Transit Highland Avenue Train Station, Hat City features Southern comfort-food as well as an eclectic mix of music styles.


Photo courtesy Erik Rank, NJ Monthly

Photo courtesy Erik Rank, NJ Monthly

Ruthies BBQ
64 1/2 Chestnut St, Montclair     973-509-1134

Courtesy Ruthies BBQ

Courtesy Ruthies BBQ

This is a neighborhood spot that never disappoints.  live music; blues, bluegrass, funk, R&B – and slow smoked BBQ and thin crust pizza with a quality selection of tasty sides.  When the weather is warm the live music moves outside to a bustling patio. 


Photo courtesy Tierneys

Photo courtesy Tierneys

Tierneys tavern
136 Valley Road montclair          973-675-3336

No one will accuse Tierney's of being fancy, but it's always rocking.


Photo courtesy Great Notch Inn

Photo courtesy Great Notch Inn

Great Notch inn
400US Highway 46, Little falls    973-756-7742

This place is an institution.  Not fancy for sure, but since 1988, the Great Notch Inn has found it's niche as a live music venue, hosting many rock and blues bands from the tri-state area. Most of the year, the Great Notch features live entertainment, 7 nights a week!  The Notch also offers limited food, and takeout beer and wine from open till close.


courtesy SuzyQues

courtesy SuzyQues

SuzyQues BBQ and Bar
34 S. Valley Road. West Orange   973-736-7899

This  BBQ restaurant and bar features live entertainment most nights, and special activities throughout the week, including Big Band, blues, jazz and a monthly comedy night.