Where to Find Free Live Music in Dallas

They say the best things in life are free. To that end, we hope this list inspires you to get out there and see more live music—without having to worry about a cover.

When it comes to concert experiences, atmosphere is everything and live performances can be priceless. These live music venues attract a diverse audience of music enthusiasts searching for a beat without having to 'beat up' the bank account. These local hangouts allow patrons to discover a vast range of talented musicians seven days a week. 

Adair's Saloon

It's not just another hole-in-the-wall honky tonk: It's the oldest-standing saloon in Dallas, known for its live music and Texas-sized burgers. Catch live bands and singer/songwriter solo acts seven nights a week on the stage at Adair's Saloon. These days, you can enjoy up and coming North Texas artists such as Vincent Neil Emerson as they make their own mark on this right-of-passage stage. You can make your own mark too, as the walls are covered with signatures of musicians, texans, and tourists. You shouldn’t expect anything less than authentic at this Deep Ellum saloon.

Armoury Deep Ellum

Armoury  D.E.

This Deep Ellum hot spot has a brand new stage surrounded by stadium seating outside. This remodeled patio offers an intimate yet auditorium-like atmosphere that feels like it's in your backyard. One exterior wall also got a makeover from one of Dallas' favorite street artists, Dan Colcer, who recently put the final touches on a mural entitled “Deep Ellum Janus - Roman God of New Beginnings.” Find the artwork on the side of the building, and look out for more to come in the future. Visit the Armoury on Thursdays for free live music and new artists hitting the stage all week.

Foundation Room Dallas

The Foundation Room

Formerly a members-only lounge, the House of Blues' acclaimed Foundation Room is now open to the public. The recently renovated space's new lighting, furniture and ambiance—paired with an impressive new food and cocktail menu—forces patrons to question whether they'll ever want to leave. The Foundation Room is pulling out all the stops when it comes to booking talent; its “Local Vocals” theme night on Thursdays will showcase a diverse range of DFW's top musical talent. A portion of the bar revenue proceeds  go to the House of Blues Music Forward Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps inner-city kids pay for music programs.

The Free Man Cajun Café & Lounge

Owned by musician John Jay (frontman of jazz/blues band The Free Loaders, who perform often at Jay's establishment), The Free Man is a piece of New Orleans set in Dallas' artsiest, music-oriented neighborhood: Deep Ellum. Enjoy their tasty Creole cuisine along with the best local jazz, swing, and dixieland bands every night starting at 7 pm. Make sure to catch rising star Charley Crockett, who's catchy style is also a melting pot of Louisiana and Texan influences.

Opening Bell Coffee

This coffee shop gem in the Southside on Lamar building offers free live music every night in an intimate, 'storyteller' atmosphere where you can jam, take advantage of an open mic, sip organic coffee or wine and snack on delicious, locally grown bites and pastries.

Pecan Lodge

If you ask a local about Pecan Lodge, you're likely to be told a folklorish tales regarding the line of salivating patrons that almost always wraps around the outside of the building during business hours. Fortunately though, this husband and wife ownership team have a deep love for Texas music. Every Friday and Saturday live bands such as The Paychecks and The Hazardous Dukes entertain those eating and those waiting in line to eat. If you get lucky, you might catch one of their secret shows, such as last year's unannounced acoustic performance by The Toadies. Of course, Pecan Lodge has a reputation built upon world-famous barbecue—but the food isn’t all you should be impressed with at this Deep Ellum icon.

The Rustic Dallas

The Rustic

This chic, outdoor venue and restaurant in Uptown is easily the largest on our list, with the ability to hold 2,500 music and beer enthusiasts. The lineup includes major names like country music star Pat Green—who is also a part owner of the venue—to popular local acts such as Rise & Shine and Kirk Thurmond, you can count on being entertained by the talent seven days a week. Enjoy local brews, wines and spirits served by a friendly staff, all while listening to top-notch talent perform on a fully loaded stage; you'll feel like you're at a fancy concert without having to pay the price.

Leon Bridges Truck Yard

Truck Yard

Dallas' Truck Yard on Lowest Greenville Avenue is one of the city's most unique bars (and one of the only ones with a tree house!). Truck Yard hosts bands with a distinguishably Texan sound every Saturday and Sunday from 2 pm to 5 pm. This unique outdoor stage consists of an old, rusted truckbed decorated with more than a dozen hanging guitars above. 

Twilite Lounge

All shows are free in this venue's narrow, shotgun-like gem of a space, outfitted with dark paneling and a subtle, shimmering glow of chandeliers. A comfy escape from the hustle of downtown life, this  “beer-and-a-shot" type of joint is described by owner Danny Balis as "a dive bar you could take a date to." Also a musician himself as well as a local sports radio personality, Balis has built Twilite's reputation on a lineup of talented performers that will draw you in if you happen to pass by. 

Where to Find Free, Live Music in Dallas

Jehan Lazar
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