The 5 Best Live Music Bars in Bologna

Concert in Bologna

The 5 Best Live Music Bars in Bologna

Talking about Bologna without mentioning the fervent musical scene that distinguishes this city, is practically impossible.
Especially since 2006, when it was declared a “Creative City of Music” by UNESCO, a title also recognized in the cities of Seville, Glasgow, Bogota and Gent.

Walking through the streets of the city center, the streets of Bologna makes us understand what music culture represents for this city.

For example, in the heart of the city we find Piazza Verdi, where the imposing Municipal Theater stands, which in the past has repeatedly hosted the premieres of the famous composer. Not far away we will see Largo Respighi, named after one of the greatest Italian composers of symphonic music, born right in this city.

Continuing the walk in the adjacent via Petroni and via Belle Arti, one cannot help but notice some shops displaying handmade violins; this is the actual example of what has been the violinmaking art in Bologna, which has medieval origins, but experiences the peak of the activity in the nineteenth century.

But the musical ferment continued also in the years following the Second World War when Bologna became a favourite destination in Italy for many Jazz stars including Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and BBKing (remember to look under your feet while strolling through the central streets of Via Orefici & Via Capraie, and be ready to discover the special link between Bologna and the Jazz music).

With this important musical heritage, you will wonder which are the best live music bars in Bologna, where you can listen to good music, perhaps while sipping a nice glass of wine or a refreshing cocktail.

Here are our top picks!

1) Macondo


Macondo cocktail bar – located in the heart of Via del Pratello, city ‘s nightlife beating heart – is great for so many things: catching up with friends for a rich aperitivo, seat in the outside tables on a warm summer night and, as luck would have it, watching a gig in a small but intimate room. Almost every night starting from 9,45 pm, you can listen to rock music that stomps hard, sophisticated jazz or relaxing bossanova. Like the staff recently stated, at Macondo you can also bring those type of friends who usually say “I like all type of music” 🙂


2) Cortile Cafè


This place is hidden behind a curtain, along the no-touristic street of Nazario Sauro. But talking about live music bars in Bologna, we can not fail to mention this real institution in town called Cortile Cafè. Spacious, but often packed during tribute band nights (try to be here before the start of the event), it’s a cool place for a night out with friends. You will end up ordering a beer following the music with the rhythm of your foot, then – almost inexplicably – you will find yourself in the front row screaming some pop songs at the top of your lungs.


3) L’ Altro Spazio


Almost next door to Cortile Cafè, L’Altro Spazio is a bar which embodies the ideal place for people with disabilities. The furniture, for example, has been studied in detail to make anyone’s passage fluid and smooth. All the staff are prepared to translate visual information for blind people and to use sign language for deaf people: different systems will be available at the bar to encourage communication.
And every Wednesday, the place hosts an appointment with jazz. Each week you have the chance to discover a new band, thanks to a concert with free admission.


4) Bravo Cafe


Photo Credit: Repubblica.it

This place is a bit classier than the others mentioned on this list. The atmosphere is intimate, even if the place is located in one of the university district’s most lively and loud street. Bravo begins nightly operations as a resto-bar with homemade Bolognese specialities and a broad wine cellar. It then moves into club mode, with an eclectic mix of rock, blues, funk, jazz and more. Throughout Emilia-Romagna, it’s renowned as a live-music reference.


5) Efesto


Credit: Thisell YouTube Channel

An international trend is taking over in the last decade in various cities around the world: house concerts. Also Bologna is recently starting to offer this kind of gigs thanks to Efesto association, which organizes house concerts inside a historic building in the centre of Bologna. Musicians, especially those early in their careers, have fewer and fewer opportunities to play live. Home concerts allow to bring artists (literally) closer to their fans, and sometimes they even help artists rediscover what they enjoy most about playing music – the intimate connection with an audience. A 5 euros annual membership card is required to get in, but you can easily do it before the gig.

Info for Booking >
Write an email to efestohouse@gmail.com or fill in the booking form (the form is in Italian, but it’s pretty straight forward) indicating the name and number of persons attending the concert. The association will reply by giving you address and other info about the concert.