Bayou City

Houston's 10 Best Restaurants For Live Music

Going out to eat now and then is nice, as is going out to see live music performed, so why not combine the two? Many music venues in our area also serve bar food and snacks these days; the places on this list can stand on their own as eating establishments even without the music, though we are grateful they provide it as it makes for a fun night out. Get up and dance after your dessert, if you please. Here are some restaurants in Houston that can relieve your hunger for food as well as for tunes. (Note: This list is in alphabetical order.)

Batanga has one of the best large patios in downtown Houston (3,600 sq. ft.), and the live Latin music performed inside Wednesdays through Saturdays is piped outside as well, so you never have to miss any of it no matter where you are sitting. The lunched and dinners served here consist of tapas dishes (small plates) that originate in Peru, Brazil, Spain, Colombia, Mexico, Cuba, Argentina and Portugal. There are a lot of interesting items on the menu here, like Grilled Avocado, Steamed Mussels and Duck Confit Arepas, as well as more familiar items like tacos and burgers. Batanga is a place where you can listen to a variety of Latin musical styles while dining and drinking, including Salsa, Merengue, Cha Cha and more. (908 Congress,

CAFE 4212
Café 4212 serves up a variety of affordable meals from their “small bites” menu, including New Orleans Shrimp and Grits, Boudain Balls, Fried Catfish and Fries, and more. The Straight-No-Chaser Jazz Ensemble plays the weekly Monday Nite Jazz Jam, hosted by T.R. Reed; besides the band, rare jazz films and videos are shown. Speakeasy Tuesday features live hip-hop and R&B; Wednesday is the night for Salsa and Timba music from DJ Franky; and Friday means old-school and underground hip-hop from DJ Burb and DJ Nimbus. Every first Saturday there is live Zydeco music and a brunch; every Sunday there is live reggae music from the Galaxy Band.  (4212 Almeda,

Capone’s is probably best known for its gourmet pizzas that are prepared before their customer’s eyes in their famous brick oven; appetizers, salads, and lunch and dinner entrees are also available and served until 1:45 a.m. for all of you night owls. The bar here is well-stocked with wine, bourbons, single-malt scotches and more for all of your adult-beverage needs. Capone’s has a speakeasy-style lounge, called The Hide Out, where live music is performed seven days a week, with DJs spinning popular hits late into the night on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays following the bands. The live music usually consists of musicians playing covers, rock, pop and blues. (2303 Richmond,
One of the best singer-songwriter stages in our area, Dosey Doe is also a restaurant serving up popular dishes like the Ginormous Chicken Fried Steak and South Texas Antelope Burger. Many of the shows at the “Big Barn” require a dinner purchase; on some nights dinner is an option, but the food is so tasty why wouldn't you want some? Dosey Doe also serves up breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. with live music as well. Be sure and arrive early enough to eat your dinner before a concert; each meal includes a salad, entrée choice, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage. Dosey Doe's Music Café arguably has even better sound than the Big Barn and more affordable admission prices, including free every now and then. The Music Café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all week long. (25911 I-45 N. (The Woodlands) & 463 F.M. 1488 (Conroe),

In addition to the Tex-Mex lunch and dinner available at Last Concert Café, the loyal patrons show up for the rock artists and jam bands who perform here in the backyard patio and main stage. If you are a person who is a little free-spirited, good-natured and maybe a bit hippie and bohemian you will fit right in here nicely. As long as you are not too uptight, you should have a good time here no matter what your background is, even if you don’t join in with the regulars dancing in the beach sand in front of the stage. Last Concert hosts periodic all-day festivals featuring a variety of different kinds of music throughout the year; stop by on Sundays for brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for live music as well. (1403 Nance,

Natachee’s Supper ‘n Punch actually opens up early for breakfast and lunch in addition to the supper alluded to in the name; the food choices are Southern home-style dishes like chicken-fried steak, pork chops and “not too sweet” meatloaf. They also have a solid selection of burgers, sandwiches, appetizers, soups, salads and plenty of side items. The live music here is usually of the singer-songwriter variety, with performers hitting the stage around 9 p.m. There is often a cover charge; check Natachee’s Web site for a complete schedule. Don’t forget to try their signature cocktails, or “punches,” like the Triple Dog Dare Punch or Nat King Fizz. (3622 Main,

The Red Cat Jazz Café downtown hosts live soul, R&B and blues music in addition to the jazz they are famous for; they even have a "Jazz and Jokes" night with live music and performances from local comedians on Thursdays. Some of the favorite food items served here include blackened tilapia, grilled chicken breast, tender ribeye steak, fresh vegetables, garlic mashed potatoes, Cajun rice, organic salads and vegetarian pasta dishes. On Sundays brunch is served starting at 11 a.m. with eclectic music from local performer/singer-songwriter Jawad.  (711 Franklin,

Open since 1976, Rudi Lechner’s is a German-Texan Restaurant in Southwest Houston that specializes in serving up sausages, Wiener Schnitzel, and German beer and wine to wash it down; the popular Heritage Sampler Plate includes pork loin, pork wiener schnitzel, sausage sauerbraten, roast chicken, Austrian potatoes, red cabbage, sauerkraut and dumplings and is a nice selection for first-timers. Or try the German potato soup, pretzel with Bavarian mustard on the side, Pork shank, or Hungarian goulash; for vegetarians, vegetable lasagna and eggplant parmigiana are available. Enthusiastic German bands perform live Wednesday through Saturday evenings and the dance floor does get crowded; Oktberfest at Rudi’s starts in mid-September and lasts until the end of October. (2503 S. Gessner,

This downtown upscale New American restaurant located beneath the Rice Lofts serves up dishes like small pizzas, salads, pastas, seafood, grilled meats and vegetarian meals; wines, craft cocktails, martinis, margaritas, mojitos and more are available for your drinking needs. Live music is performed nightly; standards, swing, bossa nova, pop, rock, R&B, contemporary, Latin, and jazz are just some of the many varieties on offer. Downtown Houston has been on the upswing in recent years, so why not have dinner and see a show at Sambuca to start off (or finish) one of your nights soon?  (909 Texas,

Not to be confused with the 1989 buddy-cop/action film Tango & Cash starring Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell, Tango & Malbec is a Galleria-area Argentine steakhouse and wine bar that derives its name from the Tango dance and the grape variety used in the making of Argentina’s famous Malbec wine. Tango & Malbec uses pecan and mesquite wood in the traditional South American grilling style to prepare various cuts of meat like the Akaushi Rib Eye and Costilla de Cordero; there are a few vegetarian items on the menu as well, including Spinach Ravioli and breaded, deep fried Eggplant Milanesa. Live Latin music, including Tango, is performed here on select dates; on many other nights live Tango dancers perform for your viewing pleasure. (2800 Sage,

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David Rozycki
Contact: David Rozycki