Music for Your Soul: A Traveller’s Guide to the Best Blues and Soul Music Venues in the USA


By Busabout
08 Aug 2019

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The US has given the world a lot of great things and in our opinion, blues and soul music comes high on the list of the best US ‘inventions’.

While you’re making your way across the US of A, you should make time to visit our pick of the top blues and soul venues.

The Funky Pirate Blues Club, New Orleans

New Orleans is widely considered to be the home of blues, jazz, funk and soul. Head to Bourbon Street, and you’ll see why. Of all the blues and soul venues on Bourbon Street, the Funky Pirate Blues Club is our favourite. Big Al Carson is somewhat of a local celebrity, and he’s the lead act at this lively dive bar. The drinks are very reasonably priced for the area, so if you fancy a cheap night out while listening to some of the best blues in town, don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit The Funky Pirate Blues Club.

B.B. King's Blues Club, Memphis

Named after the ‘King of the Blues,’ B.B King’s Blues Club is our favourite venue for live blues and soul music in Memphis. The bar is located on Beale Street, which is home to bars that play music from just about every genre. We should warn you that this is a loud bar – perhaps not the best choice for a first date. However, if you want to boogie on the dance floor to some of the best local acts on the blues scene, B.B. King's Blues Club is well worth a visit.

Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar, Nashville

Nashville is nicknamed the ‘Music City’ of the United States, making it no surprise that some of the best blues and soul venues in the nation can be found here. If you only have time to hit up one blues bar during your stay, we recommend heading to Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar, which you’ll find in the historic Printers Valley district. You can dance the night away to your favourite blues tracks until 3am at this lively bar. You can also fill up on affordable drinks and New Orleans-inspired dishes.

Terra Blues, New York

New York is one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities. There are hundreds if not thousands of live music venues in NY, but we think the best blues bar is Terra Blues (you might be familiar with this place if you watched The Blues series on PBS). Terra Blues hosts both local acts and some of the biggest names on the circuit. The cover charge is reasonable, though drinks can be a tad pricey. However, this venue boasts one of the most extensive collections of Scotch and Bourbon in the Big Apple.

The Skylark Lounge, Austin

The Skylark Lounge is one of the longest-established blues, funk and soul bars in East Austin. It’s been at the centre of the city’s blues scene for over 35 years. If you need some fuel to get your feet moving, try one of the homemade, Brooklyn-style pizzas. Head over for happy hour (6pm to 8pm) to fill up on cheap drinks and listen to the smooth sounds of local legend Margaret Wright.

These fantastic cities are key destinations on our North America Adventures. Get inspired with our amazing trips to the USA and Canada.