Above: Michael Davis and The Bullets at The Oddity. Photo by Butch Comegys

Compiled by Matt Kaukeinen, Matt Morrissette and Jim Miller

May not be as big or as loud as it used to be, but the area music scene is starting to make noise again. 

The pandemic may have canceled shows, shuttered a few venues and caused musicians mayhem and anxiety, but it could not stop the music. 

When we endeavored to compile this list, we wanted to focus on places that regularly feature full bands (that means drums, too) — that’s what we did. It was encouraging that the list ending up longer than we first imagined. 

That’s a good sign. 

Yes, we probably missed a few places on the outskirts of our reach. And there are plenty of places that regularly host acoustic acts. Alas, we only have so much space.

That said, if you are looking to “lively up yourself,” this list will come in handy.

May you enjoy listening.

Arden Gild Hall

In the quiet, artsy hamlet of Arden, this Tudor-styled concert hall has long stood as a community hub for both local and world culture. On Friday, Oct. 7, Butch Zito and Sin City team up for “A Musical Celebration of John Prine,” followed the next night by the lively Ukrainian folk band DakhaBrakha.

Address: 2126 The Highway, Arden
Days of Music: Fri & Sat
Musical Styles: Rock, indie, folk, country, bluegrass, world
Typical Starting Time: 8pm
Cover Charge: Varied 

Argilla Brewing Co. at Pietro’s Pizza

The eight-year home of The Sin City Band on Monday nights, this brewery and pizzeria still holds its own. This month also sees The Blues Reincarnation Project (10/1), Down Confidential (10/8) and Lower Case Blues (10/29). 

Address: 2667 Kirkwood Hwy., Newark
Days of Music: Mon & Sat
Musical Styles: Rock, blues, jazz, alternative
Typical Starting Time: 7pm
Cover Charge: No cover 


This North Wilmington spot has earned the reputation as an eclectic oasis for alternative rock, punk, hardcore, and metal. For those who enjoy things edgier, it’s a community favorite, boasting a spacious bar, gothic décor, and darker amusements. Often offers a food truck outside.  

Address: 1706 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington
Days of Music: Thurs-Sat,
Musical Styles: Rock, metal, goth, darkwave, industrial
Typical Starting Time: 8/9pm
Cover Charge: $7-15

Bellefonte Café

Owned by Donna and David Farrar since 2014, this North Wilmington destination is a beloved neighborhood bar and a restaurant known for its eclectic and bohemian food, atmosphere, and musical acts. The Sunday brunch with live music is always a winner.  

Address: 804 Brandywine Blvd., Wilmington
Days of Music: Wed-Sun
Musical Styles: Original and cover bands, rock, folk,
jazz, bluegrass
Typical Starting Time: Wed-Sat (7pm), Sun (12:30pm)
Cover Charge: No cover

Constitution Yards Beer Garden 

Open seasonally during the spring through fall, this Wilmington Riverfront venue boasts 30,000 square feet of outdoor space, a rotating craft beer selection, and beautiful river views. The musical entertainment takes place on the weekends with a focus on cover bands and local bands of various styles. 

Address: 308 Justison St.
Days of Music: Fri & Sat
Musical Styles: cover and original, rock, blues,
funk, alternative
Typical Starting Time: 6/7pm
Cover Charge: No cover

Deer Park Tavern  

Where George Thorogood and the Destroyers earned their reputation as one of the rowdiest blues-rock bands on the bar circuit. A recent local legend, Jefe, plays every Tuesday night and longtime Sunday-Funday stalwarts Chorduroy return October 30, for the venue’s rotating schedule of live bands the last Sunday of every month. 

Address: 108 W. Main St., Newark
Days of Music: Tues & Sun
Musical Styles: Acoustic, rock & pop cover bands
Typical Starting Time: 7pm
Cover Charge: No cover

Dew Point Brewing Co. 

Located in the historic Garrett Snuff Mill in scenic Yorklyn, this family-run brewery features some of the best Belgian-style craft beer in the state, a relaxed family atmosphere, and eclectic live, local music. 

Address: 2878 Creek Rd, Yorklyn
Days of Music: Sat
Musical Styles: original and cover, folk, rock, blues, Americana, bluegrass, jazz, alternative
Typical Starting Time: 2pm (outdoors); 7pm (indoors)
Cover Charge: None


On a bend that offers an often-stunning panoramic view of the Christina River, this lively indoor-outdoor venue offers music all 12 months. Hear live bands and acoustic acts on their vast outdoor patio in the warmer months and inside on their stage. 

Address: 110 West St., Wilmington
Days of Music: Tues-Sat
Musical Styles: Acoustic, soul, rock & pop cover bands
Typical Starting Time: 5pm (outside), 8pm (inside)
Cover Charge: No cover

Halftime Sports Bar 

Monster metal and hard-rock shows in a sprawling pool hall. A serious treat for any fan of ‘70s/’80s/’90s heavy rock. The stage is seriously stacked with speakers, so don’t forget your earplugs. 

Address: 500 Plaza Dr., Newark
Days of Music: Fri & Sat
Musical Styles: Rock, metal, tribute acts
Typical Starting Time: 7pm
Cover Charge: $7-15

Hummingbird to Mars 

Located above Catherine Rooney’s, Hummingbird to Mars offers live jazz in an intimate setting, where you can enjoy expertly mixed cocktails and a delectable menu while you enjoy the music. Look out for the Sunday jazz brunch happening this fall. 

Address: 1616 Delaware Ave. (entrance located on W 16thSt)
Days of Music: Thurs-Sat
Musical Styles: Jazz, blues
Typical Starting Time: 9pm; Thurs (6pm)
Cover Charge: No cover

Gallucio’s Italian Restaurant

On Tuesday nights, the cozy barroom out front is the setting for one of the longest running open mic nights in the area, hosted by guitarist E. Shaun “Q” Qaissaunee. Friday nights sees acoustic duo Side Piece. And the small (but enduring) stage also sees full bands during special events throughout the year.  

Address: 1709 Lovering Ave., Wilmington 
Days of Music: Tues & Fri
Musical Styles: Rock & pop covers, jazz
Typical Starting Time: 7pm
Cover Charge: No cover

The Grand

Delighting local audiences over a span of more than 140 years, The Grand has opened its stage to musicians from all over the globe. Last month, Austin-rocker Gary Clark, Jr. crushed Copeland Hall, and this month New Mexico’s Ottmar Liebert and Hawaii’s Jake Shimabukuro bring their more intimate acts to the baby grand next door. The Grand has seen local-music success more recently with The Rock Orchestra. 

Address: 818 N. Market, Wilmington
Days of Music: Varies
Musical Styles: Rock, pop, symphonic, Latin, jazz, country, world, folk, tribute
Typical Starting Time: 8pm
Cover Charge: Varies

Jackson Inn 

The “JI” has taken the lead in bringing new indie rock artists from all over the country to Wilmington, as well as supporting a fantastic stable of local artists. Join in on Wednesdays for their Open Mic event and catch rockabilly veterans The Bullets on stage every Thursday.

Address: 101 N. Dupont Rd., Wilmington
Days of Music: Wed-Sat
Musical Styles: Acoustic, alt rock, indie,
rockabilly, new wave
Typical Starting Time: 8pm
Cover Charge: $10

Kelly’s Logan House 

Plenty of great music outside and on both floors with acoustic acts downstairs on Thursday nights, then bigger bands rocking upstairs on weekends. Legendary for its crowded party atmosphere, Logan House has been a live-music destination in Trolley Square for decades.

Address: 1701 Delaware Ave., Wilmington
Days of Music: Thurs-Sat
Musical Styles: Acoustic, rock & pop cover bands
Typical Starting Time: 10pm for live bands upstairs
Cover Charge: No cover

Makers Alley

Located a block off Market Street, this downtown venue offers a unique entertainment option for the area with a spacious outdoor courtyard that features a kitchen in an Airstream trailer, firepits, games, and monthly live shows booked by Newark’s Rainbow Records. 

Address: 804 N. Shipley St., Wilmington
Days of Music: Friday and Saturday
Musical Styles: Covers and originals, rock, alternative, indie, Americana, blues, metal, hip-hop
Typical Starting Time: 6pm
Cover Charge: No cover

The Nomad Bar

Excluding its closure during the pandemic, this popular bar has offered jazz on Friday nights for more than 12 years. But it’s more than a jazz club — on Thursdays and Saturdays, you’re likely to hear anything from blues to bluegrass.

Address: 905 N. Orange St., Wilmington
Days of Music: Thurs-Sat
Musical Styles: Jazz, blues, soul, funk, rock,
island, Americana
Typical Starting Time: 9:30; Thurs (9pm)
Cover Charge: No cover

Oddity Bar

After a tough struggle during the pandemic (when it was sold by its original owners), Oddity Bar is back with new owners Manny and Napoleon Hernandez. The bar still features the funky feel and off-kilter appeal of the original, but with some new twists. Thankfully, Oddity continues its heavy focus on live music.

Address: 500 Greenhill Ave., Wilmington
Days of Music: Tues, Thurs-Sat
Musical Styles: covers and originals, funk, rock, blues,
jazz, hip-hop, metal
Typical Starting Time: 8pm
Cover Charge: $5-$10  

Pizza By Elizabeths

The bands pack the bar at this popular Greenville restaurant famous for its gourmet pizza. Ben LeRoy and The Snap make regular unplugged appearances, and this month features the Jonathan Whitney Trio (10/2), Hunter Van Valkenburg (10/8) and Stone Shakers (10/21).

Address: 3801 Kennett Pike, Greenville
Days of Music: Varies Fri-Sun
Musical Styles: Rock & pop covers, jazz, piano
Typical Starting Time: 7pm, Sun brunch (noon)
Cover Charge: No cover

The Queen

In both its expansive main hall for larger acts and The Crown upstairs for more intimate shows, The Queen is making a noticeable push to get back to its pre-pandemic status as a place to see shows. Last month saw Tom Petty’s former right-hand man, Mike Campbell, rock out with his band, The Dirty Knobs, while this month sees rapper Benny the Butcher and ‘90s stalwarts Better Than Ezra take the stage. 

Address: 500 Market St., Wilmington
Days of Music: Thurs-Sun
Musical Styles: Rock, pop, hip-hop/rap, Latin, blues,
country, metal, jazz, tribute
Typical Starting Time: 7/8pm
Cover Charge: Varies by show

Rockford Tavern

With an abundance of televisions, this neighborhood sports bar on the outskirts of Forty Acres also features a spacious outdoor patio and live entertainment several nights a week

Address: 1705 Lovering Ave., Wilmington
Days of Music: Thurs-Sun
Musical Styles: covers and originals, rock, blues, alternative
Typical Starting Time: 8pm, Sun (4pm)
Cover Charge: $5


When its Juniper event space opened next door two summers ago, this downtown eatery nearly tripled its overall capacity, which opened the doors to bigger bands. While Juniper’s been busy with weddings this summer, look for bands to come back this winter. In the meantime, the bar hosts popular acoustic acts on the weekends. 

Address: 111 W. 11th St., Wilmington
Days of Music: Fri & Sat
Musical Styles: Rock, dance & pop covers
Typical Starting Time: 8pm, Sun (4pm)
Cover Charge: No cover in bar; $10 in Juniper