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Sep 24, 2006 05:15 PM

Good food and live music - NoVa

Just moved here and, unless we make a trip to DC, we cannot find any decent restaurants that feature (good) live music. We enjoy rock, cover bands or originals if they are good. Went to Champions in Leesburg The band was a very good 80's cover band (The Reagan Years) but the food was pathetic.

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  1. Iota in Arlington, hands down. Original acts ranging from alt-country to rock to jazz - they book great shows. And the food is really good at the cafe, from which you can hear the music. The Birchmere gets great acts too, but their food is lacking - if you go there, just stick to the basics.

    Both have admission prices to the music events, and websites too. Good luck!

    2 Replies
    1. re: beachgirl54

      I second Iota. It's a convenient location, gets a great variety of shows, and has the best seasoned french fries (also has good more upscale food)

      1. re: julialimei

        I third Iota. A broad range of bands and decent, well prepared food. Galaxy Hut across the street has some great bands as well, the food not so great.

    2. Have you tried Bangkok Blues in Falls Church? They don't just have blues these days, but it's all pretty good, and the food is decent - it's better Thai food than the Birchmere has bar food, and cover charge is usually pretty cheap.

      1. I'm a fan of the Kelly Bell Band (, and they often play at Whitlows, including 10/19. I like the burgers at Whitlows. I think they are playing at Champions 9/29 as well (but I haven't been there and you have).

        Iota...but you can't eat and see the bands at the same time.

        There will probably be good bands and food at the Clarendon Day festivities....which I think is 10/21.

        Liquid A is a good cover band ( and they play at Clarendon Grill...but I haven't had the food. 11/10 they play there again.

        1. I would add Jimmy's in Herndon, but more for the food than the music most of the time. Wed's are open mic, they have bands from time to time, but I'm not sure of that schedule.

          1. I should have answered this differently, so I'll try again.

            Asking where to hear good live music is like asking where to get good food. What are you after? An evening of music to listen to and where the food is good enough to enjoy? Good food with background music while you're eating and talking? A place to dance? A bar or roadhouse? A concert venue with food? And what kind of music or dance?

            2 Replies
            1. re: MikeR

              I would like a place that has great live bands and something more than bar food. We have tried several pubs and sports bars who had cover bands 80s 90s music, but when we ordered something to eat, it wasn't edible. The music is loud and I have fun dancing especially to "Jesse's Girl", but I would like to order something good to eat also. Cover bands usually go to places where you can get a pitcher of beer and hot wings or hamburgers, maybe even some fish and chips I would just like the food to actually be hot and edible.

              1. re: aaronswoman

                I'd stay away from places with cover bands, and I think in your case I'd still go with my recommendation of Bangkok Blues, or the suggestions for Iota, given that the food there has some positive reviews. But check their schedules, check links to the bands' web site if available, and choose music that you think you'll enjoy.

                I find that restaurants that book "roots" music (as opposed to top 40 or the various punk variations) tend to have decent food. There used to be a good trad jazz brunch at the Tyson's Corner Holiday Inn (typical brunch buffet food) but I don't know if that's still going on.