Where to See Live Music in the South End (for Free)

Put your dollars toward drinks instead of door fees 🥂

A crowd of people watching a performance at Rumba Notes Lounge

Going out post-pandemic is tricky. Drinks that used to be $10 are $15. A cheeseburger can cost $20. So how do you eat, drink, and rock out on a budget? To help ya out, we’ve organized this quick list of spots in the South End where you can listen to live music with no door cover. Put that cover fee toward a drink or two.

Flight Path

1832 S 120th St, Burien

Thursdays @ 8:30 pm

Flight Path is a neighborhood bar in Boulevard Park, and its house band hosts an Open Mic Jam Night every Thursday at 8:30 pm. Go to witness Arzelia “Z” Jones, the emcee and singer of Omega Band, because there’s nothing more beautiful than a badass Black woman in a headwrap AND high heels.  From Aretha to Prince, Chaka Khan to Queen, this house band caters to all genres, and the night features sit-ins ranging from amateur musicians to audience members to local music legends. They will even go karaoke-style if you want to do your thang. Can’t miss: Z doing Aretha’s “Rock Steady.” Dare you not to dance along! And: $7 MARGARITA.

Skylark Cafe & Club

3803 Delridge Way SW, Seattle

Wednesdays @ 8:30 pm

Tucked on the corner of Delridge and SW Charleston St., The Skylark boasts that it hosts the best open mic in Seattle, and it just might. With a dog-friendly patio, house-made pastrami, free parking, and under 21s welcome (especially when they’re partnering with Mode Music Studios), what’s not to love about this joint? Happening every Wednesday, the music starts at 8:30 pm. The show varies depending on who shows up but is known to include solo acts, acoustic, full bands, and even comedy. Tip: Head to Ounces Taproom & Beer Garden around the corner first to sample their rotating selection of taps and food trucks.

Locöl Barley and Vine 

7902 35th Ave SW, Seattle

1st and 4th Wednesdays @ 6:30 pm • Every Wednesday starting this Fall

Want a beer bar? Want a wine bar? Want great food and free live music? If you want it all, Locöl‘s got it. This tiny Junction bar has been a watering hole for the area since 2011. Every Wednesday of the month, they host live performances from local musicians Norman Baker (1st Wednesdays) and Arthur James (4th Wednesdays). Baker performs a bit of everything—Americana, blues, alt-country, roots. And rumor has it Arthur James’ crooning makes everyone’s shorts wet. The bar also serves as a free local art gallery with a rotating selection. Currently on display is Small Ego Art. Don’t miss Norman Baker’s cover of Mariah’s “We Belong Together.” Also: Tacos. Either their pulled pork or veg Mediterranean tacos. Eat all the tacos.

Expanding: Starting this Fall, every Wednesday night will feature live music. Same time, same place.

Logan Brewing Burien 

510 SW 151st St, Burien

Every other Thursday @ 5:30 pm

The live music at Logan Brewing is like sitting around Guy Clark’s kitchen listening to songwriters in the round. Think midwestern folk music mixed along with some Texas outlaw country. Mandolin Lennon Hopper (yes, that’s his given name) hosts the showcase every other Thursday at 5:30 pm. This place has everything to socialize or work while having a beer, if that’s your thing. (Outlets at the bar for the win.) Grab: A Pint of Daylight German Pilsner. Also Grab: While they don’t serve food, you can order in Burien Pizzeria from around the corner. Remember: Cover-free music means to tip the hell out of the performers. Maybe even buy merch if you can.

Rumba Notes Lounge

5041 Rainier Ave S, Seattle

Wednesdays @ 9 pm

An African Restaurant meets a dive bar in Rumba Notes Lounge. Drinks here are stiff. Plus, the Columbia City strip mall that houses the lounge includes so much stuff. Start with a drink and pinball at the neighboring Hummingbird Saloon. Then move on to the live jazz night held every Wednesday at 9 pm at Rumba. Heads-up: Wednesday is Wing Night. And: If you want dessert first, you can grab a cone at Full Tilt. Lastly: Rumba is a spot worth checking out on the weekend for some of the best Afrobeats performances in the city. Worth the cover.


Patheresa Wells

Patheresa Wells is a Black/Persian, Pansexual, Polyamorous Poet (so many Ps) and writer living in Seatac. An aspiring comic, you can catch her cracking jokes at open mics around the area. In her free time, she likes to imagine what she’d do with free time and feed her backyard crows cuz they’re silly. Follow her on Twitter @PatheresaWells.

City Guides

More City Guides