Nightlife in Little Rock: Best Bars, Clubs, and More

Group of friends sharing drinks in restaurant
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Little Rock has some great nightlife. There are 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.

Bars

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 they get the really late owls. It is a private club (member fee) with live music on some nights. They're 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 and Ernie Biggs: These two piano bars in downtown have similar atmospheres and are both open until around 2 a.m. You can find a crowd at either one on any Saturday night.

Clubs

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 some special event happening such as touring drag queens, leather parties, or special diva nights honoring famous pop stars.

Live Music

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 their music performances as well as their chicken fingers, this joint was voted as the best bar for live music in Arkansas. They feature mostly rock musicians—both local and national—but do 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. Check their site for a schedule and to find out more about the bands (they're mostly alternative).

Festivals

As the capital of Arkansas, events in Little Rock attract visitors from across the state and region. Apart from standard events like the state fair and gay pride, don't miss out on other unique Little Rock events—namely the cheese dip festival.

  • Arkansas State Fair: Every October, the State Fair comes to Little Rock for ten days of carnival rides, livestock shows, monster truck performances, funnel cakes, and more. It's fun for all ages and it makes a great way to spend a warm evening with family and friends.
  • Little Rock Pride Fest: The largest LGBT event in the state, this one-day festival takes place in October and includes the parade along President Clinton Avenue in downtown River Market.
  • World Cheese Dip Championship: Surely the name of this festival is reason enough to visit Little Rock for this annual event in October. Thousands of people come out to taste homemade cheese dips, created by both amateurs and professional chefs, and then vote on the best ones. Get your fill of warm quesos, spicy feta dips, pungent blue cheese, and more in this tasty event.

Tips

  • 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.
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