Live Music

Alta Coffee Co.

506 31st St., Newport Beach, CA 92663

Alta Coffee Co. is one of the few sit-down coffee shops in Newport Beach with both indoor hang-out space and a generously sized outdoor patio. For years, Alta has retained its status as Newport’s premier café (and fantastic Sunday brunch option) because the coffee is hot in the winter, cool in the summer and the food is tasty and surprisingly varied; Alta offers everything from homemade English currant scones to buckwheat pancakes to chicken curry pita sandwiches. But first, coffee. At Alta, coffees are roasted every morning in small batches to ensure freshness and always made from certified organic beans. Adding to Alta’s caffeinated charm? Live music, which is served several times each month; the schedule of events is adorably written on a chalkboard by the front counter. Dare we say it as proponents of the West Coast lifestyle but sitting at Alta sipping on a bold Americano while listening to a folksy guitar player do her thing gives this unique coffee joint a distinctly Downtown Brooklyn-esque edge … and we don’t mind one bit.


The Blue Beet

107 21st St. Pl., Newport Beach, CA 92663

Dark, narrow and vaguely reminiscent of a 1920s-style saloon, The Blue Beet is unlike any other establishment in Newport. Why? Because beyond its long, arc-shaped bar, you’ll find a stage, and on that stage you’ll find impressively talented bands that perform almost every single night of the week, every month of every year. The bar’s saloon-ish ambience is owed in part to a man named Henry Stark who in 1912 traveled to Cripple Creek, CO to purchase a back bar from a gold rush-style saloon and had the whole thing installed right onto the end of his very own Newport Beach place, once called “Stark’s” now called “The Blue Beet.” Today, eclectic musicality reigns all year ‘round at The Blue Beet, where you can expect to hear anything from an entire three-hour set of 80s rock ’n’ roll covers on a packed Saturday night in summer to a singer from France warbling her way through jazz standards during the winter with nothing but an upright bass and her whispery, romantic accent to keep you warm.


Bayside Restaurant

900 Bayside Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660

The food is fine, the vibes unbeatable. Stop in on a Friday night around 10:30 p.m. and you’ll find a local jam session open for all. Seriously. Join in if you’re so musically inclined. When the open mic is hot, regulars dance at Bayside along to a sometimes-twelve-piece jazz band as community singers croon everything from Frank Sinatra to Amy Winehouse. Other than the jazzy free-for-all, Bayside features the Ron Kobayashi trio (contemporary jazz), the Larry Fresch trio (traditional standards), country singer Elizabeth Walters during Sunday brunch and pianist Mike McKenna. Arrive early on weekend nights to nab a spot at the bar or the back counter and prepare yourself with a glass of Pinot to watch Balboa’s finest get into the groove.


Billy’s At The Beach

2751 West Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, CA 92663

Tropical Tiki bar meets upscale Newport Beach seafood restaurant at Billy’s At The Beach, a neighborhood favorite with bluesy music to listen to and craft cocktails to sip on (pro tip: be adventurous and ask the bartender to make you his favorite concoction) while sitting right beside Newport Bay. Literally. With panoramic water views, eating at Billy’s feels like you’re enjoying libations on a moored boat near a faraway tropical isle, exotic tunes playing in the background as slow waves outside your window churn. Newport Beach jazz and reggae bands like Tropical Blue, Rabbi Blue, The Reef Brothers and Chris & Autumn entertain crowds on all days of the week. (But specifically, Monday 7 p.m. – 10 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 6 p.m. to 9 p.m, Thursday 7 – 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. and Sunday 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.)


The Harp Inn Irish Pub

30 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627

An inviting spot with regular live music, a lively crowd and a full bar. The acts are eclectic — from an all-female rock band to a 90s cover group — and always awesome. Live acts usually begin at 9:30 p.m. almost every day of the week.


Muldoon’s Irish Pub

202 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660

Muldoon’s Irish Pub comes in four parts: two pub spaces, an outdoor patio and an Irish-inspired dining room encircled by finely crafted oak walls and adorned with hand-painted Irish proverbs on the ceiling. As luck of the Irish would have it, these spaces all face one another so when the live music plays, you can hear it from whichever dining/drinking spot you choose. Can you say cèad mìle fàilte? That’s Irish Gaelic for “a hundred thousand welcomes,” which is exactly how you’ll feel in this cozy Newport Beach pub. Channel the true spirit of the Irish with lively music every Thursday starting at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 9 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. (Another band taking the stage on Sunday at 6 p.m.)


Mutt Lynch’s

2300 W Oceanfront, Newport Beach, CA 92663

OK, so this is a different kind of live music, namely the kind made by you. Every Friday from 8 – midnight, Mutt Lunch’s, (affectionately known as Mutt’s) serves up karaoke along with its famed beer schooners. Bring your crew, bring your knowledge of epic Journey sing-along songs and have yourself a time.


The Village Inn

127 Marine Ave., Newport Beach, CA 92662

Spacious, bed-and-breakfast-y (it’s a word) and with decor that’s inviting and approachable, The Village Inn allows diners the opportunity to feast on food crafted by Executive Chef Victor Sandoval while tapping their toes to live music six days of the week. (Sorry, no performances on Monday.) Musical acts range from acoustic solo guitarists to three-piece bands to a group called “Monkey Fingers,” so there’s that.