Bentley’s Pub is a pub with both a great beer selection and an eclectic makeup of music that’s sure to provide a fun evening. Wednesday nights from 7 to 10 p.m, Bentley’s offers live Irish music at no cost. On the weekends, Bentley’s hosts a wide range of artists, with a cover of $3-5. The intimate setting of the pub combined with the great acoustics, enhanced by the pub’s beautiful tin ceiling, make for a great evening of music and brews.
Besides serving mouth-watering gyros and other Greek favorites, Zorba’s offers live jazz music every Thursday from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., and in some special cases, on Friday evenings as well. There is a $3 cover for local artists and a $5 cover for out of town bands. On these nights, Zorba’s has a special on Killian’s Irish Red beer, only $5 a pitcher.
“I make it a point to get my stuff done on Thursdays,” said Mallory Weber, a freshman in the College of Engineering. “I really enjoy their music those nights. Plus, the gyros rock.”
Radmakers Rock ‘N Roll Tavern is a musically-oriented bar and restaurant in Tolono, Ill. that regularly features national and local artists. Radmakers typically features live bands on Fridays and Saturdays, trying to book local, regional and national acts. Upcoming events include Scaphe, Soul Defenders and Habit of Force on March 20 ($5 cover) and Jackson Taylor and the Sinners on March 27.
Aroma Café has an inviting and comfortable atmosphere, which makes it a perfect place to spend an evening with some Latin-inspired food and original live music. They feature mostly acoustic solo artists, but there is no set type of music they play. “I’ve only gone twice, but I look forward to going again,“ said Jade Jennings, a freshman in Accounting. “The artists are so passionate about their music.” And (hopefully) soon, you’ll be able to enjoy both music and food on their patio, which opens once the weather turns pleasant. The best part? There’s never any cover.
Memphis on Main
Memphis on Main offers a variety of live musical events. The majority of the music at Memphis on Main is blues, rock and country, and Monday nights the bar provides a free show by a local band. Thursday is karaoke night, and Friday and Saturday nights the bar offers live bands and typically charges a $5 cover. Other days of the week, the musical events are generally free, but depending on the event the cover will be at most $3.
The Blind Pig
The Blind Pig is as close to a traditional English pub as you are going to get this side of the pond. Primarily known for its vast array of beers both on tap and bottled, The Blind Pig also features Irish music on Sunday nights by Emerald Rum. Starting at 5 p.m. and lasting until 8 or 9 p.m., Celtic music sets the background to chill night of drinking and chatting. Enjoy with a Guinness, or one of the hundreds of other beers available.
Rose Bowl Tavern
The Rose Bowl Tavern offers live music and karaoke. Country music is the Rose Bowl’s typical genre, however, on Tuesday nights the Rose Bowl features bluegrass music, and Thursdays are always karaoke night. These nights, as well as Wednesday and Sundays, are free although they sometimes charge on Friday and Saturday — on weekend nights the tavern offers live bands, and the cover charge depends on the band.
This cozy café has much more to offer than just delicious tea and coffee drinks to the students and inhabitants of Urbana. The coffeeshop hosts live music on Friday and Saturday nights with a range of genres sure to please everyone. “We put on all sorts of music, from jazz, to folk, to even rock,” said Liam Reed, the Arts and Entertainment Director at the cafe. There is never a cover charge; you can enjoy the variety of music styles all for free. While enjoying the show, make sure to check out their Intelligentsia direct trade coffee; it’s something special.
It’ll Do 2
It’ll Do 2 is a bar frequently featuring DJs and live music. By the Country Street Shopping Mall, It’ll Do 2 and its sister restaurant, It’ll Do, offer a biker-friendly atmosphere that can be enjoyed by all people. It usually hosts rock musicians. Upcoming events include local band JAB on Friday, March 19, and Triple Play on Saturday, March 20.
Fat City Bar and Grill
Fat City frequently hosts musical guests on the weekends. Upcoming events include AD/HD, an AC/DC tribute band, on Friday, April 10, and Too White Crew on Friday, April 24. The pool tables, big screen TVs and laid back atmosphere lend themselves to a bar and grill that can serve as a great place to hang out in addition to a fun music venue. In addition to music and divertissements, Fat City features different drinks every night and a limited but delicious selection of burgers, sandwiches and snack food.
While tapas and Sangria make for a pleasant night in Urbana as it is, V. Picasso decided to add music to its meals for extra enjoyment: every night from 6 to 8 p.m., performers entertain diners with piano, guitar, and singing. “It presents a wonderful atmosphere for dinner,” manager Wendy Wolter said. After dinner, the entertainment continues Wednesday through Saturday. Some highlights: Latin dance music on Fridays and a DJ on Saturdays, starting at 9 p.m. Don’t worry about leaving afterward — it’s open until 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
In addition classy atmosphere and gourmet meals, Jim Gould believes in music diversity at his establishment. He and his wife Tanya hire a jazz ensemble to accompany dinner on Friday and Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m. and Sunday brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. A harpist entertains attendees of their monthly afternoon teas. And for Valentine’s Day, when the restaurant was too crowded for multiple performers, a strolling violinist walked from table to table, serenading couples. “We utilize quite a variety of musicians,” Gould said. “More and more people go out to eat not just for the music, but for the experience.”
The beloved sandwich shop started out in 1977 in Chicago as an antique store that sold sandwiches and desserts to attract customers, and music soon became an integral part of its image. While antiques are no longer sold, the food and music haven’t left the Potbelly’s scene. “This year, our music budget has skyrocketed,” Deidre Wagster, general manager of the Green St. store, said. The campus location has live music four times a week: Tuesday evenings and lunchtime (noon to 2 p.m.) on Thursday through Saturday. All musicians play and sing, so customers can sing along while munching on sandwiches. Wagster might start open mic nights soon as well. “It goes back to our culture,” she said. “It’s part of our history as a sandwich shop.”