Bilbao may not have quite the nightlife scene of Madrid or Barcelona, but if you’re looking for atmospheric clubs or bars with live music, then you’ll find it has more than its fair share. Whether you’re into rock, indie, blues or even traditional folk music, you’ll find somewhere in the city to suit your taste. Here’s our roundup of the best nightlife venues with live music in Bilbao.
One of the most popular bars and live music venues in Bilbao, Azkena caters to an alternative crowd with sounds from indie, rock, country and folk. Music fans should look out for the guitars lining the walls, signed by music moguls from around the world. This is the ideal spot for partying on the weekends, particularly if you like to stay out until the wee hours of the morning.
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This small, yet charming bar has oodles of character and a bit of a Celtic theme about it. It specialises in beers and whiskey, as well as an innovative range of gin & tonics. Turn up on Wednesdays for the live music sessions, including Irish folk sessions, swing, classic rock and blues.
A classy club and live music venue, Cotton Club has a touch of Hollywood about it, with glittering walls, decorated with framed, signed records. Decked in black and red, it’s both cosy and inviting. Nightly DJs play hits from the 80s and 90s, as well as music from popular indie bands, and there is often live music at weekends.
Located in the Casco Viejo or Old Town, Luz Gas is part-bar, part-art-gallery, with work by various local artists decorating its minimalist interior. On weekdays, stop here to listen to smooth jazz, while enjoying a drink, and on weekends it’s 80s all the way. If you want to see something different, come on a Friday, when there’s open-mic and a showcase stage for emerging artists.
Location: 4-6 Calle de la pelota, Bilbao, Spain
By day, Ambigú place is a cosy restaurant, serving up delicious innovative creations, and by night it turns into a Bohemian-style bar, where beer is the order of the day. Exhibits by local artists decorate the walls and on weekends there are live bands and DJs.
Location: 5 Done Bikendi Kalea, Bilbao, Spain
The Antigua Cigarrería, or Old Cigar Shop, is a classic Bilbao nightlife institution and one of the most popular meeting places in the city. Enjoy a range of elegant cocktails, vermouth or wine while seated in the romantic dimly lit corridors, or head to the back of the bar where live bands and DJs perform and the floor is open for dancing.
Marketing itself as a Basque cultural centre, Kafe Antzokia is one of the premiere night spots in the city. Comprising a restaurant, several bars, a stage for concerts and a space for cultural events, this place has a bit of everything. Housed in a former cinema, Kafe Antozkia still resembles an old theatre – albeit one that’s been all glammed up. Often hosting international artists, this is the place to be and be seen in Bilbao.