Band at Twisted Fork

Backstage at the Twisted Fork: City of Angelz’ Haydee Pomar, Don Bonzi and Marc Lanciaux during a recent fundraiser for Octagon Wildlide Sanctuary.

You can listen to recorded music on the radio, television, iPod or even a vinyl record, but the very best way to enjoy it is during a live performance.

Southwest Florida is a great place to experience a variety of music and meet local and national performers at restaurants, bars, and other venues featuring outdoor live entertainment. Here are some check out.

PORT CHARLOTTE 

Enjoy some “down-home Florida cuisine with ‘a Twist’”, and a variety of music for all ages at the Twisted Fork. They feature some country music on weekends and some classic rock, heavier rock, or jazz and blues 7-10 p.m. weeknights. When the weather is cooler, musicians jam in the 24,000 sq. ft. outdoor covered pavilion. 2208 El Jobean Rd, Port Charlotte. https://twistedfork.net/

You can have some “Good Fun and Great Food” at All-Star Sports Grill! This is one place “Where you’re the All-Star”! because you can participate in their karaoke nights. But if you prefer to let someone else show their talents, General Manager Steve Bakogiannis said his favorite musical entertainment, “classic rock”, lights up the stage in their outdoor tiki bar 5-9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday< You can hear music inside and outside from 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. 2360 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte. www.allstarsportsgrill.com

Wine & Jazz Festival

Mindi Abair rocks the audience as she plays her sax at a recent Wine & Jazz Festival in Punta Gorda.

Want to be on the Waterfront? A popular location north of Port Charlotte, on the Peace River, is the Nav-A-Gator Bar & Grill. Enjoy some “gator bites”, seafood specialties, surf and turf, sandwiches or salads, and lots of different styles of family-friendly live entertainment at their casual outdoor stage most Thursdays through Saturdays. 9700 S.W. Riverview Circle, Arcadia. www.nav-a-gator.com/

PUNTA GORDA 

Harbor Social hosts musicians of all genres including island, country and rock in their all-outdoor downtown venue Thursday through Saturday. Heather Paquepte, one of the owners, said they mostly have solo and duo performers to allow diners to socialize while they enjoy their meals. "We want to be different, with a nice atmosphere conducive for talking.” 212 W Marion Ave, Punta Gorda. https://harborsocialpg.com/

Dean’s South of the Border website declares,“There’s always a party goin’ on.”  Musicians will wow you with Southern rock and country tunes every evening starting between 6 and 7 p.m. while you enjoy the chef’s Tex-Mex and hearty American favorites. 130 Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda, https://deanssouthoftheborder.com/

Celtic Ray patio

Celtic Ray's patio where bands provide live music in Punta Gorda.

Take a “trip” to Ireland at Punta Gorda’s Celtic Ray Public House which has an outdoor patio. Guests enjoy a mix of music such as traditional Irish folk tunes, as well as bluegrass, blues, rock and roll, reggae and rockabilly.  145 E Marion Ave, Punta Gorda. https://celticray.net/

A popular waterfront venue is TT’s Tiki Bar where many people gathering to socialize and enjoy spectacular sunsets.The host a variety of musicians who perform rock, tropical, and tribute music. Concert times vary, depending on the day. 33 Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda, at the Four Points by Sheraton. www.ttstikibarwaterfrontharborside.com/

You can also have some fun and listen to music at The Blue Turtle, FM Don’s, Downtown Gatorz Bar and Grill, Perch 360, Nino’s Bakery and Restaurant, and waterfront settings like Hurricane Charley’s, Fisherman’s Village, and The Riviera Bar and Grill.

ENGLEWOOD AND STUMP PASS

There are numerous special, waterfront locations to enjoy in these charming communities.

One of them is the Sandbar Tiki & Grille on Manasota Key, directly across from Englewood Beach. Dig into some smoked barbecue, seafood or meat specialties while you enjoy a cool island-style drink and some great music, like acoustic, rock, and country 6-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday,  6-10 p.m. Friday, 7-11 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. as well as 6-10 p.m. Sunday. 1975 Beach Rd, Englewood.www.sandbartikigrille.com

Try some tropical cuisine, including Caribbean specialties, as well as Southern cooking, at Farlow’s On the Water. While they welcome any types of performers, and host a variety of artists, many times you can hear steel drums and Caribbean style tunes, and modern “pop covers” performed by various bands as well as a pianist. 2080 S McCall Rd, Englewood. www.farlowsonthewater.com/

The Lighthouse Grill at Stump Pass is another tranquil spot with great sunsets, right on the Intracoastal Waterway. Relax in the cool and shaded outdoor waterfront dining area and, during season,  listen nightly to live music like oldies, rock from the 60s to today, R&B, or soul. 260 Maryland Avenue Channel Marker #17A on ICW, Englewood. https://thelighthousegrill.net/

The Bean Depot Café

The Bean Depot Café & Museum in ElJobean hosts bluegrass music on Wednesdays

Tony Hollinger and his wife Merrill, the owners of Englewoods on Dearborn Restaurant in Olde Englewood, describe their business as a  “laid-back bar/eatery”, serving tropical foods, seafood and steak plus live music and dancing in their stunning outdoor courtyard. They are known for hosting popular blues musicians from all over the U.S. and Europe 7-10 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays (a cover charge applies). You also can also hear some classic rock, country, and rockabilly from 7- 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday (no  charge). 362 W Dearborn St., Englewood. www.englewoodsondearborn.com

Other possibilities for outdoor music and great food include the historic Bean Depot Café with bluegrass music. Also try Zeke’s Uptown Bar & Grille, Beach Road Wine Bar & Bistro, The End Zone Sports Grille, and Snook’s Bayside Restaurant and Bar.

VENICE

Dockside Waterfront Grill is one of those special places that offer “a step back into old Florida” at historic Fisherman’s Wharf Marina. Get comfortable under one of their outdoor tiki huts and enjoy their daily happy hour.Take in the sunset and listen to beachy classics like Jimmy Buffet favorites or a wide range of music from the 50s to today. Picture yourself having a night out with Elvis, Justin Bieber, or Johnny Cash! 509 N Tamiami Trail, Venice. https://docksidewaterfrontgrill.com/

Snook Haven

Snook Haven is at 5000 East Venice Avenue in Venice. 

Another fantastic “old Florida” location is Snook Haven on the Myakka River. You’ll feel like you’re out in the country, and you can try gator bites! Tap your toes and stomp your feet to rock and roll, blues, country, bluegrass, jazz, and banjo music. Or jump in and show your talents on open mike nights, the musical mystery tour or kid’s night and family karaoke. 5000 East Venice Avenue, Venice. www.snookhaven.com

Daiquiri Deck on the Isle of Venice, a waterfront spot, hosts karaoke singers as well as local artists. There's classics and pop music 5-10 p.m. Friday and Sunday or rock and roll 5-11 p.m. on Saturday. One of the fan “faves” is the occasional rock and roll performance featuring Tennessee artist TJ. 300 W Venice Ave, Venice. www.daiquirideck.com/

You may also enjoy jammin’ at Café Venice or Sharky’s on the Pier.

JOIN THE CLUB

There are many private clubs in our area that offer outdoor live entertainment, bars and dining, like the Elks, Moose, American Legion, and yacht clubs. You may want to consider joining and enjoying!

Playin’ in the Park

WINE AND JAZZ FESTIVAL

Sometimes famous musicians, or local bands and singers present their talents at local parks, such as Punta Gorda’s Gilchrist Park, Laishley Park, and the Punta Gorda History Park. One of the most popular annual events is the Wine and Jazz Festival, featuring well-known jazz musicians like Mindi Abair, Ron Reinhardt, Eric Darius, and Selina Albright. https://puntagordachamber.com/

CENTENNIAL PARK CONCERT SERIES

Downtown Venice’s Friday Night Music Series

The Friday Night Concert Series at Centennial Park in Downtown Venice attracts a variety of bands.

You can enjoy a free Friday night concert series the second and fourth Friday of each month at the gazebo in Venice’s Centennial Park coordinated by Venice Main Street. Bring your own chairs or blankets and beverages (no alcohol permitted) and listen to live jazz and other music styles. www.visitvenicefl.org/

NORTH PORT CONCERT IN THE PARK

The City of North Port’s Parks and Recreation Department hosts a free Concert in the Park three times a year at the City Center Front Green. This year’s September concert featured a band named Tropical Avenue performing Top 40 Dance, Latin, and Island music, in addition to Motown, Classic Rock, and Standards. The next concert is Nov. 19. Seating opens at 6 p.m. (first come, first served). Music begins at 7 p.m. You can't bring your own alcohol, but the North Port Rotary Club sells beer and wine. Other vendors will be selling non-alcoholic beverages and food. The third concert takes place in May. Parks and Rec worker Laura Ansel  said “It’s a great chance for people to get out and enjoy the fresh air and see the stars in the sky.” https://bit.ly/3thBVbq

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