Home Food + DrinkBars A Guide to Live Music Spots in Montclair + Essex County

A Guide to Live Music Spots in Montclair + Essex County

by Erica Commisso
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There’s nothing better than listening to music in its purest form: cranked out on stage by performers wielding microphones, guitars, trumpets, and more. The Montclair area has a bustling live music scene, with a ton of different venues — each with its own unique vibe — of various sizes, capacities, and more. Read on for The Montclair Girl’s roundup of the best spots for live music in Montclair and the surrounding Essex County area.

live music venues montclair essex county new jersey

Cedar Bean’s Coffee Joint | 575 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove


The Ivy at Chatham
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In addition to really, really good coffee, Cedar Bean’s — which was established in Cedar Grove in 2018 — has a jam-packed calendar of artsy events. There are art openings and special occasion activities as well as tons of performances from local musicians. On the third Monday of every month, Guitarist Bob Messano puts on a family-friendly guitar show.

Clement’s Place | 15 Washington Street, Newark

Located inside Ruth Bader Ginsberg Hall at Rutgers University, Clement’s Place is a cabaret that hosts authentic jazz events in a space dedicated to historian Clement Price. There are both frequent performers and special invitees, and each brings a special flair to their concert.

Read More: Open Mic Nights to Check Out in Northern New Jersey

Egan + Sons | 118 Walnut Street, Montclair


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What’s an Irish pub without live music? So, true to form, this traditional gastropub — co-founded by a native of Dublin — showcases European football matches and a ton of live Irish music. It’s been voted the best bar scene for years on end for good reason.

Just Jake’s | 30 Park Street, Montclair

just jakes

This family-run restaurant and bar boasts a true neighborhood vibe. It’s been a Montclair staple for nearly 30 years, and the extensive live music calendar only adds to the fun. Sometimes there are even two shows in a night.

Montclair Brewery | 101 Walnut Street, Montclair

montclair brewery

This microbrewery serves up locally inspired and culturally interesting creations. The brewery also hosts musicians to play inside the space and even encourages local talent to apply to perform through a form on its website. The husband-and-wife duo who run the brewery are often inspired by music in the brews, resulting in fun creations like a special 2024 brew called the Whitney Hefeweizen in honor of fellow Essex County native Whitney Houston.

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) | 1 Center Street, Newark


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The New Jersey Performing Arts Center is one of the largest of its kind in the United States. It’s a nonprofit organization that aims to offer performances and programming that educate people and foster a sense of community through the arts. Musical performances of all kinds are known to frequent NJPAC’s stages.

Outpost in the Burbs | 40 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair

Outpost in the Burbs is another nonprofit arts organization in North Jersey. It was established in 1987 and hosts events both in-house and at other local businesses, some of which benefit various charities and programs. It also hosts a New Voices series in addition to bringing in established musicians.

Pineapple Express Barbecue | 1 Lackawanna Plaza, Montclair

Pineapple Express Barbecue

This barbecue spot has a historic beer garden and a funky live music calendar. In addition to bingo nights, trivia, and open mic opportunities, Pineapple Express hosts performers from 8PM to 11PM several times a week.



Prudential Center | 25 Lafayette Street, Newark


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The former home of the Grammys and current home of the New Jersey Devils draws some of the most notable musicians in the world, from local superstars the Jonas Brothers to Drake and everyone in between. It’s the biggest concert venue in the area.

Ringside Pub | 379 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell

The home of all-day happy hour is the site of a structure that was originally built around 1913. It’s been a bar and restaurant since 1978 but now focuses solely on the bar side of things. It boasts guest DJs every Thursday, live music on Fridays and Saturdays, and hosts an open mic night every Sunday.

Shillelagh Pub | 648 Prospect Avenue, West Orange


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This pub is an extension of an Irish-American cultural and social organization with the same name that works to preserve Irish traditions and heritage in the United States. Local and regional acts take the stage every Friday and Saturday night — with no cover charge.

South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) | One SOPAC Way, South Orange


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The South Orange Performing Arts Center is a performance venue that has a range of live entertainment. Its 439-seat mainstage theater has acoustics that amplify the live entertainment experience. Upcoming April performances include the Willie Williams Quartet and the Faculty Jazz Ensemble.

The Meatlocker | 8 Park Street, Montclair


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This venue has become synonymous with punk, rock, hardcore, and grunge shows in the area. It’s hosted big-name groups like My Chemical Romance and offers a no-frills, hole-in-the-wall experience that won’t be easy to forget.

The Porchistas Home Studios | 148 Forest Street, Montclair

This venue makes the possibility of going to a house party and seeing a cool band play on the porch or in the backyard a reality. The stages around the property all have dedicated sound systems that are perfect for block parties and concerts. And it all started because of a group of friends singing songs outside on warm summer nights.

The Wellmont Theater | 5 Seymour Street, Montclair


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Live music fans celebrated when this event venue reopened in 2015. Dance parties, cover bands, and renowned musicians alike have all taken to The Wellmont Theater’s stage, which has been hosting entertainment since March 1921.

Tierney’s Tavern | 138 Valley Road, Montclair

Two floors of greatness are on offer at Tierney’s Inn. There are darts, a jukebox, darts, burgers, and beers, and there’s a stage for both comedy and live music. Acts perform sets of various genres, from blues to indie to rock to jazz, every Friday and Saturday night.

See More: A Comprehensive Guide to Hoboken + Jersey City Live Music Spots

These next two venues are not in Montclair or Essex County, but if you’re willing to make a little drive, our team over at The Hoboken Girl loves these two spots.

Finnegan’s Pub | 734 Willow Avenue

finnegans pub

Finnegan’s pub hosts live music night events each week. Head over there to hear live music from 7PM-9PM on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays — there’s also an open mic night every Sunday.

White Eagle Hall | 337 Newark Avenue


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White Eagle Hall is Jersey City’s concert and performing arts venue housed in a restored and renovated historic theater. From Gimme Gimme Disco and musicians from all genres to kid’s shows like Rock + Roll Playhouse, there’s something for everyone here. 

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