Nightlife and Entertainment
Whether you want to experience local theater, see a Broadway show, enjoy a concert or go bar hopping, you'll find a wide variety of nightlife in Lexington. The following is only a sampling of what Lexington has to offer.
In the mood for a lively concert? Rupp Arena seats 23,000 and hosts top country, pop and rock acts throughout the year. For smaller concerts, Bar Lexington downtown has an energetic atmosphere and features a variety of entertainers every week: local, regional and national. The new Buster's in the distillery district is a popular concert venue with a capacity of about 1,000 people.
Get the scoop on the live music scene in Lexington by reading the Live Music blog on tadoo.com. The Lexington-Herald Leader publishes an excellent Live Music Guide in the Friday newspaper. You can access that information here as well:
Kentucky.com's Live Music Guide.
Jazz, Blues and Folk
Local atmosphere, historic charm and good food make Cheapside Bar & Grill a Lexington downtown favorite, but it's the live rhythm and blues that keeps Cheapside packed on the weekends. The Jazz Arts Foundation offers free monthly concerts at the Central Library. In the summer, listen to live jazz outdoors at Ecton Park. Natasha's Bistro & Bar downtown on Esplanade is becoming a hot spot for Jazz as well as other kinds of live music, and theatre as well!
Spring through early fall, you'll find live music every Thursday evening in the small park beside the old Courthouse on Main Street, weather permitting. Call the Downtown Lexington Corporation for details: (859) 425-2590.
If you are here on a Monday night, try to catch WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour. The show is taped weekly in Lexington at the Lyric Theater in front of a live audience and features some of the best folk and acoustic music in the country. It's broadcast on over 400 radio stations in 32 countries.
Country & Western Top
Grab your hat and boots and head out to Austin City Saloon in Woodhill, Lexington's original country bar and home of John Michael Montgomery. Long time southern rocker and country crooner Larry Redmon has his own place (Redmon's) at the corner of Main and Cheapside. New on the scene: the Silver Cue for a foot-stompin' good time.Horseshoes Kentucky Grill & Saloon has live music seven nights a week! Kenny Whalen and the Travelers play regularly at Music Land in Lexington....smoke and alcohol free.
Where better to listen to Bluegrass music than in the Bluegrass Region? The Festival of the Bluegrass, held annually at the Kentucky Horse Park Campgrounds, is the largest of its kind in the world, and will soon get even bigger as part of Best of Bluegrass. Each June, top Bluegrass performers come home to Kentucky to perform for an international audience. Other favorite festivals include: Danville's Great American Brass Band Festival, Berea Crafts Festivals, Shakespeare in the Park, Ballet Under the Stars, Mayfest, Picnic with the Pops, Woodland Arts Fair and the Woodland Jubilee.
The distinctive American music form popularized by Kentuckian Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys in the 1940's is now known as "Bluegrass" across the globe. In Lexington, Red Barn Radio tapes shows live at ArtsPlace fall through spring. In summer, you can hear live Bluegrass music next door to Collins Bowling Alley at the Southland Jamboree. Cosmic Charlie's and Al's Bar both book Bluegrass bands, but both offer a very wide variety of other music as well. At Willie's Locally Known you can get great Barbecue and listen to live Bluegrass music Tuesday through Sunday.
You'll find Two Keys, a perennial favorite with Transylvania and University of Kentucky students, along with many other pubs, restaurants and shops near South Limestone at the edge of the UK campus. Pazzo's Pizza Pub is a great place to grab a beer and watch sports events on one of the many TVs. Check out the funky Tolly Ho's if it's 4 a.m. and you need something to eat. The Tin Roof at South Limestone and Maxwell has live music nearly every night of the week. The dance floor at The Moon heats up to 50s be-bop, 60s shag, 70s disco, and 80s hip-hop. The Moon gives new meaning to the idea of "sweatin' to the oldies" and is popular with the college students as well as the middle-aged. Paulie's Toasted Barrel caters to the college crowd with live music, a sports bar and a Bourbon bar for budding bourbon afficionados.
Lexington offers an extensive and varied arts calendar. The city's many groups include a professional orchestra, the Lexington Philharmonic, and numerous theater groups. The Actors Guild of Lexington has a long history of providing compelling contemporary theatre. Studio Players, the area's oldest community theatre, stages their productions in a converted carriage house behind the Bell House. Both Lexington Ballet and Kentucky Ballet Theatre offer full seasons of dance. Lexington Children's Theatre, Kentucky's official state children's theatre, has been staging productions since 1938. Touring groups present Broadway dramas and musicals at the beautifully restored Lexington Opera House. The Lexington Singers is one of the oldest choral groups in the United States and has about 180 members.
Each June, UK Opera Theatre presents the wildly popular "It's a Grand Night for Singing" at the Singletary Center for the Arts. Ballet Under the Stars is presented every August outdoors at Woodland Park. Call (859) 288-2925. The Kentucky Conservatory Theatre offers SummerFest each year.
For more information on the performing arts, contact LexArts, Lexington's arts and cultural council, at (859) 255-2951 or the University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts at (859) 257-1707.
A restored 1920s movie showplace, the Kentucky Theatre is where Lexingtonians go to see off-beat, foreign and classic films, as well as first run flicks. The theater also provides an intimate concert setting, and has hosted such performers as Arlo Guthrie, Leon Redbone, Roseanne Cash and Warren Zevon. For the latest flicks, look up Movies 10 in Woodhill or Regal Cinemas at Hamburg Pavilion. Surround sound and plush reclining chairs make these movie theaters local favorites. Or visit Lexington Green Movies 8 Cinemas, Lexington Movie Tavern, Carmike, AmStar14 at Brannon Crossing or the movies at Fayette Mall.
Ranked the #1 comedy club in the region by the Professional Comedian's Association, Comedy Off Broadway at The Mall at Lexington Green is a guaranteed good time. No kidding! Comedy Off Broadway turns into a jazz club the last Monday of every month.
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