DJs are fun, karaoke is hilarious and Quizzo is always a good time, but nothing beats a live band. There’s just something about watching live musicians groove together with amazing vocalists to create awesome music, whether it’s jazz, rock, pop … nothing beats true talent.
And while there are a plethora of places that offer live music during the summer, only a few can be counted on for that band experience year round in Atlantic City. Here are five places where you will always find live music year round.
The Cajun-themed eatery in the Orange Loop certainly offers the most eclectic lineup of live music, not just in the city, but in the entire South Jersey bar scene. Most of that can be credited to Norstep Productions, an Atlantic City-based outfit headed by Stephen Weiss and Noranne Thompson that books everything from cover bands to DJs to original music to special events on both Bourre’s indoor and outdoor stages. And while we love watching bands inside at Bourre while chomping down on some gator sausage, the outdoor venue is really something special. Upcoming acts include: Drag me to Bourre, “A Very Harry Drag Show,” 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15; an original band showcase with Honey I’m Homeless, Bassett and Dreadstar 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21; the Easycore Revival Tour with a sweet night of pop/punk and easycore guilty pleasures with Hollow Pledge, Lyndhurst, Dinosaurs in Paris and Peach Creek 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27; Getz and Resonators with special guests The Moment Dies and Red Bullett 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28; and a special concert with California-based singer/songwriter Kyle Smith and special guests Ill Rendition and LNJ Sessions 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29 presented by WMGM 103.7-FM. Most events are ticketed. Bourre is located at 201 S. New York Ave., Atlantic City. Go to BourreAtlanticCity.com.
Anchor Rock Club
The newest club to the Atlantic City original music scene is right next door to Bourre, giving South Jersey an original one-two rock music punch that it hasn’t seen in decades. Just off the Boardwalk, Anchor Rock Club specializes in bringing buzzworthy acts that normally play small venues in cities like Philadelphia, New York and Boston. The very cool room features a balcony and vintage artwork along with a full bar featuring great craft beers, and its owners hope to eventually host as many as 150 original rock shows a year once the pandemic eases. This week, Kurt Vile, best known as the former guitarist for The War on Drugs, will bring his band The Violators to Anchor with special guests Pissed Jeans and Bill Nace 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15. Other upcoming shows include an emo party with Sad & Boujee on May 26, Rev. Horton Heat on Monday, May 30, and Sun Ra Arkestra on Saturday, June 25. All events are ticketed. Anchor Rock Club is located at 247. S. New York Ave., Atlantic City. Go to AnchorRockClub.com.
Completing the Orange Loop circle, Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall was the one that started the music revolution on the Orange Loop, mostly offering great cover bands along with occasional original acts, including regular appearances by Eliot Lewis, the guitarist and keyboardist for Hall & Oates. With a small stage backed by a quirky piece of original artwork inside along with an awesome outdoor space that entertains hundreds at a time when the weather permits, the Beer Hall features live music every week of the year. In the offseason you can expect solo artists on Fridays and duos, trios and bands on Saturdays, but in season, the Beer Hall features music as many as five times a week. Upcoming entertainment includes local guitar god Danny Eyer on Friday, Jan. 14, Christian Glomb on Saturday, Jan. 15, Steve DiFalco from Suburban Sensei on Friday, Jan. 21, Cranked Up country/classic rock entertainer Glenn Roberts on Saturday, Jan. 22, Emmit Herron Friday, Jan. 28, and the Dead Reckoning Duo performing Grateful Dead hits on Saturday, Jan. 29. Look out for a special Fat Tuesday celebration with Tom Angello and The Budesa Brothers, who will offer Dixieland Jazz plus great New Orleans drinks and food specials. All shows in the offseason are at 8 p.m., and there is never a cover. Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall is located at 133 S. Tennessee Ave., Atlantic City. Go to TennesseeAvenueBeerHall.com.
If you like the occasional live music that Water Dog Smoke House holds outside of its small Ventnor restaurant, you are really going to love the regular entertainment schedule at its sister Water Dog restaurant at Bally’s Atlantic City. The new restaurant, which features a gorgeous bar that lines the entire front of the space, is being very serious about its live music. For the offseason, expect music on weekends, but that schedule will expand to more days in the summer. Upcoming acts include The Indelible Groove 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14, Chris Yoder 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, Cosmic Charlie offering classic rock hits Friday, Jan. 21, and the Brandon Ireland Band on Saturday, Jan. 22, singer/songwriter Megan Knight on Friday, Jan. 28, and The Zone on Saturday, Jan 29. Water Dog is located inside Bally’s Atlantic City. Go to WaterDogAtlanticCity.com.
NOLA’s Bar & Lounge
There are some other great places that have live music regularly – Gypsy Bar at Borgata, the Golden Nugget’s Flashback Series and the Hard Rock Lobby Bar are musts – but let’s finalize this with the absolute newest live music venue in Atlantic City: NOLA at Ocean Casino Resort. Located right off the casino floor, NOLA brings a true Las Vegas-style lounge to Atlantic City. The 2,800-square-foot live entertainment venue features brass details, rich wooden walls and emerald accents, plus a glamorous, 35-foot bar welcomes guests into the lounge flanked by a main floor and elevated premium seating in view of the stage and custom-built DJ booth. This week’s acts include DJ Nick Spinelli 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 13, DJ Mike Lowery 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, Split Decision 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14, The Loop 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, DJ Dnial 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, and Stealing Savanah 11 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15.Other noteworthy upcomers include The Benjamins on Jan. 21, Turning the Tide on Jan. 22, Goodman Fiske on Jan. 28, and The Rockets and Kristen and the Noise on Jan. 29. NOLA is located inside Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City. Go to TheOceanAC.com.