Top Nine Restaurants with Free Live Music in San Francisco

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The San Francisco music scene has had a vivid history of diversity, inspiring many different types of psychedelic rock, folk music, and jazz. Through its cultural influence, it became an epicenter for musical development and community, a status which it retains up to this day.

However, finding live music in San Francisco today is much different than it once was. There are new standards, new genres, and new fads that come in and out of the Bay Area’s cultural influence. An area of concert-going that is usually overlooked is the restaurant business, which can come off as deceivingly small—in fact, the restaurant music scene in San Francisco is quite huge, with there being something good to do almost every day of the week.

There’s also a significant community of restaurants in SF that combine good music with even better food. Because of the variety, we wanted to compile a list of the best restaurants to see live music at in San Francisco to show that there’s more to the San Francisco music scene than just bars.

So, without further ado, here is a list of the top 9 restaurants with live music in San Francisco:

9. Le Colonial

One of the more interesting menus in San Francisco, Le Colonial boasts an impressive mix of French Vietnamese food along with immersive, lush décor. Its interior allows you to look up at the night sky while enjoying your food and the plants surrounding you provide a welcoming atmosphere. On top of this, there is also live jazz playing most nights of the week, featuring local talents and regulars.

8. Zingari

A classic Italian restaurant with a luxurious atmosphere. Though it can seem a touch outrageous, the level of quality compensates for the smooth interior design. Local jazz musicians fill out the restaurant’s ambiance every night around 8 PM, featuring beautiful sounds that echo through the halls and compliment your meal.

7. Revolution Café

One of the best spots in San Francisco for a nice, affordable breakfast, the Revolution Café also sports a robust music lineup, frequently having groups play on weekdays or weekends. You’ll find a variety of music here, so be sure to check out their music calendar for an updated list of events to hear!

6. Pier 23 Café

Located right alongside the bay, Pier 23 is a wonderful place to kick back on a breezy, summer afternoon and enjoy some quality food and music. Many bands spread across many different genres make at least one stop here, so if you’re looking for something more band-oriented, stop by sometime and enjoy beachside food and uplifting tunes.

5. Biscuits & Blues

There’s nothing quite like some Southern cooking! This unique restaurant brings some flavor to its cuisine with some good options for the whole family, including Creole recipes and some delicious sides. The musical atmosphere is equally favorable, with the restaurant leading a double life as a successful blues venue. Stop by for some brisket, biscuits, and blues!

4. Mr. Tipple’s Recording Studio

The menu here isn’t extensive, but that doesn’t mean the food served isn’t high quality and delicious! The Chicken & Waffles, in particular, are scrumptious, featuring some distinct bourbon-maple syrup. The music here centers mainly around jazz tunes and bands, with a level of artistic excellence that will surely keep you coming back for more.

3. Burritt Room Tavern

A tavern within a hotel seems like an unlikely candidate for a top 10 list, but you’d be surprised at just how engaging the Burritt Room Tavern can be. The atmosphere harkens back to the early 20th century with a menu to go along with it, and visitors are allowed to enjoy flavorful food while listening to classic jazz tunes played by local bands.

2. Bix

A list of restaurants in San Francisco that feature music wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Bix. Located in the historic district of Jackson Square, its incredibly intricate look reminds one of an antiquated time. Complimented by the modern American food that adorns its menu and coupled with the live jazz frequently bursting through the air, Bix is a local staple for a reason, one of the best places to find live jazz music and good food in SF.

1. Bazaar Café

For those looking for something more in the vein of singer-songwriters, Bazaar Café has some of the most interesting acts passing through on a regular basis. There is always a songwriter-in-residence on Tuesdays, an open mic on Thursday, and on Saturdays a singer-songwriter show. There is also a very affordable and interesting menu with café specialties and some delicious curry! This is our top pick due to its notoriety as a place that can fit many different agendas, whether you just want to pop in for a drink, just hear the music, or sit down for a full meal in one of San Francisco’s most welcoming eateries.

An avid drummer whose discography includes albums on Digital Nations (a Steve Vai imprint), music critic Louis Raphael has always kept a pulse on the San Francisco music scene. After many years as the San Francisco Music Examiner for Examiner.com and AXS.com, he decided to start Music in SF® as a way to showcase what the San Francisco music scene really has to offer.