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Has the DJ killed live music? Not if you live in Madison he or she hasn’t.

Whether you’re looking for jazz, a loud and unique Irish band at a local pub, dueling pianos or a club atmosphere, Madison’s bars and restaurants have you covered. Here is a look at where you should go around Madison for live music.

The Frequency

What we love most about The Frequency is that it isn’t a huge venue; it seats only 125 live-music-loving customers. Second highest on our list is that they offer shows seven nights a week and features lots of local artists as well as national and even international acts. Add the selection of made-in-Wisconsin beers to the “keeping it local” vibe and The Frequency is a very Madison venue. Stop in for pizza and a beer and, naturally, the amazing live music. The staff is friendly and the sound system top notch. Check out the schedule of artist appearances online. The Frequency is located at 121 W Main St. in Madison.

The Knuckle Down Saloon

If it’s blues you crave, get to the Knuckle Down Saloon on Madison’s east side (2513 Seiferth Rd.). You aren’t alone in your love of the blues; on weekends it’s standing room only and although the dance floor is quite roomy, almost everybody there uses it. If you get hungry, order up the Black ‘n Blue burger with bleu cheese and pepper jack cheese. Every Tuesday night Knuckle Down features Karaoke and on Thursday nights it’s the popular Tate’s Blues Jam. Sundays during the season you can hang out and watch the Packers. Knuckle Down is open Monday to Friday from 11 a.m., Saturday from 2 p.m. and on Sunday at noon. See who is appearing by checking out the schedule online.

Orpheum Theater

A classic theater, the Orpheum dates back to 1926 (it opened its doors about a year later) and was constructed in the Art Deco style. It is Madison’s first building to feature air conditioning. In 2013, under new ownership, the Orpheum, which had fallen into disrepair, was restored to its former glory. Today, you can enjoy a range of entertainment here, including live concerts. You’ll find the lineup online here. The Orpheum Theater is located at 216 State St. in Madison.

Ivory Room Piano Bar

So, where does the older adult go for a cocktail and conversation without feeling like he or she is sitting on top of a boom box? The Ivory Room Piano Bar is the answer to that one. It’s also an ideal place to hit “before or after the Overture Center,” Jack Sosnowski, joint-owner of the Ivory Room tells Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Kristine Hansen. If you’re a jazz fan you’ll especially enjoy time spent here. While they feature live piano every night, Thursdays you can catch John Chimes with New Orleans blues and jazz. It does get crowded here, so get there (116 W Mifflin St. in Madison) early if you want a good table. Check out the artist schedule online, by clicking here.

High Noon Saloon

Sure it’s a bit loud, but we defy you to find a more intimate setting in town for live music. Plus, in the summer, High Noon presents their Patio Series – every Thursday you’re invited to bask in the sunshine and listen to free live music on the patio from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. High Noon is located at 701 E Washington Ave. in Madison and you can find them online at

While this list of live music venues in Madison is in no way complete, we believe it’s enough to get you started on your next evening of fun.



Posted by Jolenta Averill on
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