Little Rock has some great nightlife. The capital of Arkansas is home to plenty of bars that cater to drinkers of all types of libations, and you'll find no shortage of live music. Anywhere on the River Market is a good bet for enjoying a night out, whether you want just a casual drink along the water or a wild night dancing and partying until the sun comes up.
Most bars in Little Rock are located downtown in the popular River Market district. The drink menus and options are what you would expect to find in a major metropolitan area, but with all of the charm that only a southern city can provide.
- 109 & Co.: This hip cocktail lounge is where you go when looking for a premium drink, something prepared by a mixologist instead of a bartender. The interior has an intimate, speakeasy ambiance that is perfect for a romantic evening or catching up with friends.
- Lost Forty Brewing: One of the biggest names in Little Rock's burgeoning brewery scene, Lost Forty is the place to meet for craft beers and elevated bar snacks (brisket and eggs, gumbo, pimiento cheese, and more).
- Midtown Billiards: This dive bar is open until 5 a.m. so it attracts the really late owls. It is a private club (member fee) with live music on some nights. It's said to have one of the best burgers in town so if you're out late and looking for good food, this is the place to go!
- Willy D's: This dueling piano bar downtown is open until around 2 a.m. and draws big crowds most Saturday nights.
As a major hub not just in Arkansas but the American South, you can expect to find an eclectic mix of clubs in Little Rock.
- Club 27: Feel out your rhythm dancing to Latin beats at Club 27. If you've always wanted to dance salsa but don't know how, show up when they open for a one-hour lesson. If you need to loosen up before dancing, enjoy a margarita, caipirinha, mojito, or other tropical cocktails at the bar. The club is open on Tuesday and Friday evenings.
- Discovery: Once regarded as a gay club, the clientele at Discovery is now much more mixed (although you can still catch a drag show). It caters to younger crowds and is only open on Saturday nights. Move around between areas for hip-hop, top 40, and Latin hits.
- Electric Cowboy: For the more Southern among us, the Electric Cowboy offers country music (some top 40 is mixed in) and line dancing. They also have a mechanical bull, the occasional wet T-shirt contest, pool tables, and big-screen TVs. This is the bar your mother warned you about.
- Sway: One of the biggest gay clubs in the Bible Belt, Sway has been welcoming LGBT customers in Little Rock since 2010. Apart from the drinks and late-night dancing, you can always catch special events happening, such as touring drag queens, leather parties, or special diva nights honoring famous pop stars.
While several of the bars or clubs around Little Rock will include a live music performance on special nights, there are a few places in particular where you can always count on a fun night with live performers. Many venues highlight local or regional artists, so you'll know you're getting a show that is uniquely Little Rock.
- Sticky Fingerz: They call it a "rock'n'roll chicken shack" and that's exactly what it is. Famous for its music performances as well as its chicken fingers, this joint was voted as the best bar for live music in Arkansas. It features mostly rock musicians—both local and national—but does occasionally have some hip-hop, bluegrass, and other genres.
- Vino's: This restaurant is a pizza place, brewery, and a place to hear some great live music. Featured bands are mostly alternative, but the schedule changes regularly.
Little Rock gets creative with its festivals, offering not just the run-of-the-mill state fair but also a cornbread festival and a world cheese dip championship (yes, really). If you're looking for a party, you'll want to hold out for the ones that offer beer gardens.
- Main Street Food Truck Festival: After a few beers, it's common to crave the gooiest mac and cheese, the sloppiest street taco, or the smokiest barbecue. Thanks to Little Rock's annual food truck gathering, you can have your beer and eat your mac and cheese, too.
- Little Rock Pride Fest: This one-day festival, which takes place each October, is the largest LGBTQ event in the state. After watching the parade make its way along President Clinton Avenue, you'll want to spend the rest of the day dancing to live music and enjoying a few beverages in downtown River Market.
- Feast in the Field: This summertime rendezvous, which is held every year to benefit Arkansas farmers, is like an upscale (and alfresco) dinner party with plenty of drinks and dancing involved. The dress code is "summer white," though, so it might be wise to stay away from the red wine.
Tips for Going Out in Little Rock
- Bars generally close at 2 a.m. when they can no longer legally serve alcohol, except for private clubs that can serve later and charge member fees.
- It is illegal to sell alcoholic beverages in stores on Sundays in the state of Arkansas. You are still able to purchase drinks in restaurants and bars, however.
- Many clubs and late-night bars in Little Rock charge a cover to get in, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.