There’s a huge live music scene on the famous Highway 76 Strip in Branson, but not all of it involves ornate show palaces and Broadway-style stage productions.
Several of Branson’s nightclubs offer great live music and the opportunity to unwind with your favorite cocktails in a setting that’s perfect for the after-the-sun-goes-down crowd.
One of Branson’s most-popular nightspots is the Outback Pub, part of a three-property complex that includes the Outback Roadhouse Motel and the Outback Steak and Oyster Bar.
The Pub has a casual setting with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating on multiple levels, TVs for catching your favorite sporting events and, of course, space where you can get down until it’s almost time for the sun to come up.
On a recent night, the Pub’s Party Deck (one of two performance areas; the other is called The Down Under) was rocking to the sounds of Springfield-based band Stormin Monkey, a three-man band that ripped through a set that included 1990s alt-rock tunes such as “Creep” (made popular by the band Radiohead), “Song 2” (Blur) and “Possum Kingdom” (The Toadies).
The Party Deck is an intimate space and the stage is just large enough for a band like Stormin Monkey, while the partially covered space gives you an indoor and outdoor experience at the same time. Check the Outback Pub’s website for a rundown of bands and specials.
About an hour later, and just a minute’s drive down Highway 76, Branson-based Rideshy cranked up the volume at The Rowdy Beaver Restaurant and Tavern, another must-visit, after-hours spot in Branson.
The bar has a dozen brews on tap (including Missouri-made Schlafly and Boulevard choices), lots of mixed-drink options and a menu that includes late-night favorites, such as hot wings. They’ve also got good happy hour specials, such as $2 domestics from 2 p.m.-7 p.m.
There’s something happening nearly every night of the week at The Rowdy Beaver, whether it’s karaoke or live acts, which run Thursdays-Saturdays. When the weather permits, bands perform outdoors.
Rideshy’s repertoire covers a lot of territory, with plenty of solid country tunes in the mix. The lead singer’s voice belies his young-looking face as he belts out “The Ride,” which was popularized by David Allan Coe in the early 1980s.
A great place to end your night is Ernie Biggs Dueling Piano Bar, located on the Branson Landing in Historic Downtown Branson.
Ernie Biggs is open seven days a week; the dueling pianists are featured Monday through Saturday, while a DJ keeps the crowd in step on Sundays.
Ernie Biggs has several brews on tap, an impressive lineup of cocktails (prices range from $6.50-$9), two levels of seating and outdoor patio seats, too. The atmosphere at Ernie Biggs is laid back and the rotating lineup of pianists enjoys interacting with the crowd, including good-natured ribbing and alternative lyrics to songs like “Imagine.”
It’s pretty impressive to see musicians who can take such a diverse range of requests and perform and sing them so well, whether it’s “Georgia on My Mind,” (Ray Charles) or “Forever and Ever, Amen” (Randy Travis). On a recent Thursday night, a musician named David totally owned “The Road,” a classic from Bob Seger.
These are just a few of the places to unwind with music and a drink after hours in Branson, a city that knows a thing or two about live performances. Find restaurants and bars in Branson on the Dining page.