If you enjoy live music out in the open air, with Lake Champlain as a backdrop, then visit Breakwaters Cafe and Grill. Every weekend, weather permitting, this unpretentious waterfront eatery hosts live rock and pop bands.
Dress Code: Casual.
I didn't try the food here, but the music is pretty good. This is a rock'n roll club, with live bands every weekend. They're mainly local acts, but an occasional big-name band performs here (like Phish).
The building goes back to the old days, while the club has been here since 1975. It's been written up in Rolling Stone and National Geographic Traveler.
Dress Code: Casual.
Traveling with a music lover, there was no way we could miss Nectar's, the Burlington live music venue where many local (and not so local) bands, including Phish, got started.
We were a little on the early side, but that worked out well because we were able to get a beer (they actually had an impressive selection of craft brews) and sit down for a while before the music started. The band of the night started out interesting, but quickly devolved into a style that did not appeal to us. Unfortunately, we were only in Burlington one night, so there was no opportunity to check back on a later night.
But, no matter, we were still able to complete our musical pilgrimage and have a nice brew. We just hope that the next time, we'll have better luck with the band.
Nectar's is legendary in these parts! And upstairs is another great "lounge" and music venue - Club Metronome. A quote: "Throughout the years Club Metronome has been the stepping stone for such acts as G-Love, the Black Crowes, Ben Harper, Martin Sexton and many more."
Nectar's still rocks - a quote: "A long-standing landmark on Main Street in Burlington, Nectar’s restaurant and bar has been the headquarters for thousands of local (and not-so local) music acts. From Phish to Led Loco, from reggae to rock, Nectar’s Bar and Lounge is THE place to see live music in downtown Burlington."
Age makes no difference - whatever music you're into you'll be among friendly music afficianados.
Dress Code: Casual - really casual!
Every Thursday night at Halvorson's Bar there is live jazz from around 8-11 P.M. There's a house band but they usually change up some of the musicians every so often. It's located near the top of Church Street. They serve excellent pub style food and in the summertime they set up their music stage in a very quaint and cozy outdoor brick/ivy patio. Excellent beer and wine selection.
Dress Code: no requirements
Gay bar/club on Pearl St. Small-ish dance floor downstairs, large bar area and pool room upstairs. Very mixed crowd (recommended this place by staff in the hotel as one of the best places to go, gay or straight) - just avoid the karaoke at weekends (you can hear 135 Pearl before you see it - although it tends to sound like cats on heat more than anything else! (which, come to think of it, is probably a very good description of the club anyway LOL)
Dress Code: Age more important than dresscode.
A big, open, welcoming wine bar. Decor is eclectic and doesn't totally gel, but its the wine that you come for, and the list is extensive (by the glass or bottle). Not sure what wine to have? Try the one ounce samplers.
Live DJ at weekends, but emphasis on ambient dance more than hard sounds.
Dress Code: None
Big Irish pub (literally - the interior was built in Ireland, dismantled, shipped over and rebuilt in Vermont) - so plenty of scrubbed wooden floors, dark furniture, smoked glass. ood is classic Irish/British pub food (pies, fish & chips,bangers & mash) and some great local beers along with the Irish national drink - Guinness. Live music from Wednesday-Saturday
A big, modern British-style pub, the VP&B offers its own locally brewed variations of British beer/ale and stout along with variations on a theme of European-style beers. (I recommend Dog-Bite). There are 4 regular beers (including Dog Bite) and a number of seasonals. Food is served - wraps, sandwiches, burgers etc (not bad) and live music on Fridays and Saturdays. tere is also a (completely) separate smoking room.
The Nickelodeon on College St has 4 screens and is located in the centre of town - shows all the latest blockbusters. A slighty artier cinema complex - the Nathan Allen Cinema (showing US independent movies and occasional foreign language movie - 3 screens) is to be found a mile or so from the centre along North Avenue.
Students from Universty of Vermont ensure that there are lots of events in Burlington - a surprising amount considering its relatively small size. Bars and clubs feature live bands (remember you have to be over 21) and the main auditorium in Burlington (to my shame I have forgotten the name) feature some big acts from around the world in music, dance and comedy (I was amazed at having the opportunity of seeing Salif Keita from Mali).
Dress Code: Age is more important than attire!
I have a tie with several places.
My favorite place in Burlington is Rasputin'. I love this place. It has been around for quite some time. It has a great atmosphere for hanging out, playing pool (2), fooseball, several bars, a dance floor.
My second place is Club Millenium. It is located directly above Rasputins. The crowd here is unpredictable.
Red Square is great to sit down and listen to live music.
Millenium has someting going on almost every night of the week. It caters to high school kids, old teenagers, collegians, and adults.
Dress Code: Casual usually. Don't overdress. Be sure to wear something white (you want to get noticed when all there is a strobelight!