From bars and clubs to free concert series and festivals, and from solo locals to some of the world’s biggest musical acts, Pensacola rocks! Check out some of the area’s hottest spots for live music.
Live music is part of the lifeblood of Pensacola. No matter where you go, you’re bound to hear danceable beats and cheering crowds adding to the overall atmosphere of the area. From local acts giving it their all in bars and clubs to international superstars visiting Pensacola, here are some of the places you can groove to the beat in Pensacola.
Seville Quarter in Downtown Pensacola features live music every day. Monday nights, join the Blues Society of Northwest Florida for its weekly Blues Jam sessions. Tuesday nights feature Seville Soul, a funky smooth jazz experience. There’s also live music nightly in the End o’ the Alley, and the ever-popular Rosie O’Grady’s Dueling Piano Show Wednesday through Saturday nights, as well as a plethora of bands on the weekends.
At the Florida/Alabama state line sits the legendary Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, 17401 Perdido Key Drive. This iconic roadhouse has been a fixture since 1964, immortalized in song and video by the likes of Kenny Chesney and Jimmy Buffett — both of whom have been known to turn up on occasion. The beachside vibe is paired up with live country, singer/songwriter, rock and beach music daily from local, regional and national
On Pensacola Beach, the Sandshaker Lounge features live music Wednesday through Sunday. Check out Peg Leg Pete’s too for live local music every night during the summer and many nights during the winter. And Bamboo Willie’s, on the Quietwater Beach Boardwalk, is another nightly live music favorite.
Recently revived and looking better than ever, The Handlebar on Tarragona Street in downtown has been a Pensacola live music Mecca since 1983. The list of acts who’ve played within its walls over the years is legendary. The community mourned its loss in 2018, but new owners re-opened the club in August of 2022 with a fantastic facelift including a gorgeous new bar and a covered courtyard. One thing hasn’t changed, though: It’s still a live music hotspot featuring a wide variety of musical acts.
Seated at the heart of downtown Pensacola, Vinyl Music Hall, 2 Palafox Place, has become one of the Southeast’s most loved music venues, hosting hundreds of national and international acts. This upscale venue accommodates 850 for standing-room shows with a large floor and overlooking mezzanine, and outstanding sound. It’s a great place to catch all styles of music, from classic rock icons to indie and electronic acts.
The legendary Saenger Theatre, 118 Palafox Place, is a beautiful historic movie palace that serves as the centerpiece of Pensacola’s cultural landscape. It is the home for most concerts by the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra and major productions from the Pensacola Opera, and hosts a wide variety of national and international music acts for concerts and musical theater productions throughout the year.
The area’s largest concert stage is the Pensacola Bay Center. When this 10,000-seat arena isn’t hosting the local Pensacola Ice Flyers hockey team, the Sun Belt Basketball Conference Championships and large-scale events like Pensacon, Monster Jam and Disney on Ice, it’s home to some of the biggest scale concerts in the region, with national and international superstars frequently making appearances.
Tuesday nights from April through October, the Santa Rosa Island Authority presents free concerts on the Gulfside Pavilion, right on beautiful Pensacola Beach. The Bands on the Beach series presents a wide variety of regional artists, with music starting at 7 p.m. Spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets.
Downtown Pensacola has its own free waterfront concert series each year from May through August. The Blues on the Bay concert series is presented at the Hunter Amphitheater at the Community Maritime Park, and contrary to its name, features a wide variety of genres from local and regional performers.
Jazz fans, head to downtown Pensacola’s historic Olde Seville Square in early April for Jazz Pensacola’s JazzFest, a free, two-day jazz showcase featuring local, regional and international performers. Jazz Pensacola also presents live jazz throughout the area at a variety of venues throughout the year.
And live music is always a staple of downtown Pensacola’s monthly street party, Gallery Night. There are always bands playing right on the street during the event, which is typically on the third Friday of the month.
The Pensacola area is home to two renowned festivals showcasing the work of songwriters.
In early October, the Pensacola Beach Songwriter’s Festival showcases the stories behind the songs at restaurants and bars across Pensacola Beach.
And each November, the Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival, which celebrates 40 years of showcasing the world’s most renowned songwriters in 2023, takes over multiple venues in Pensacola and Perdido Key.
It just goes to show, whether your tastes lean toward classical, jazz, rock, funk, pop, country or singer/songwriter fare, Pensacola has something for you just about any day of the year.