Your New Night Out
A roundup of New Canaan and Darien's live music scene
The phrase “live music” might conjure up some unfortunate images. Bad Journey cover bands. Smarmy college kids spilling beer on each other as they sway along with a guitarist that knows three chords. That’s not the case in Fairfield County, where live music is refreshing and varied—and not just for hipsters. Forget dinner and a movie. These local live music venues offer an escape from the boring night out blues.
Backstreet, smack in the center of downtown Darien, occasionally offers live music on Saturday evenings. A laid-back outing here is a great alternative for people looking for live music, without having to elbow their way through a crowd of sloppy weekend warriors. In the warmer months, look forward to relaxing on the dining terrace with a cool drink while listening to some tunes.
22 Center Street, Darien
Call Backstreet for music schedule: (203) 655-9944.
This lively Darien American bistro and bar is host to live music every week. Every Thursday, PJ Pacifico plays acoustic covers and folk-tinged pop originals. Visit on Fridays to catch Third Rail play pulse-pounding, danceable rock and roll favorites, from the Who to the Foo Fighters. The Saturday lineup changes, but if you’re lucky, you’ll spend the night listening to Kelly Mittleman’s smoky voice sailing through jazz, soul, and R&B numbers.
972 Boston Post Road, Darien
Music schedule on website
Pine Social, a New Canaan restaurant, bar, and lounge, regularly hosts live music on Thursdays and Fridays. Handsome and inviting, the eatery is decked out more like someone’s living room (though, you are discouraged from putting your feet up on the furniture) than a snooty restaurant.
Friday’s music offerings change, while local musician, Doug Allen, plays on Thursdays. You won’t be sliding your food around your plate, wincing as an amateur strains for high notes. Allen’s voice is smooth and you’ll instantly recognize the songs that float through the air. Looking deeply into your date’s eyes while he plays a subdued version of Elvis’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” will absolutely earn you brownie points. For those worrying that Allen plays songs that only their parents would recognize, he glides just as easily into tunes by contemporaries like Coldplay and Jason Mraz. If you don’t at least tap your foot to his version of Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida,” you don’t have a pulse.
Allen’s favorite part about playing at Pine Social? “The setting is great,” he says. “The couches, the candles, and the low lighting all make for a cozy vibe. The people there are wonderful, too.” When it comes to the Fairfield County music scene, he also sums things up nicely. “I’ve always felt that there are some really great players and singers up here in CT, and that folks should be aware of that and support them.”
36 Pine St, New Canaan
Music schedule posted regularly on Pine Social’s Facebook Page.
For those of us not wanting to screech over loud music to hold a decent conversation, Rory’s in Darien offers a quieter alternative to a thrashing live rock show. This cozy restaurant and bar hosts acoustic live music every Wednesday, starting at 9:30. PJ Pacifico is a favorite here, too. Local singer-songwriting duo, the Bards, play one Friday a month.
416 Post Road, Darien.
Music information on website
Sails American Grill
Rowayton’s own Sails American Grill hosts live music every Saturday, starting at 10pm. Though Sails feels like a private yacht club by day, you might be surprised by the rocking edge of its weekend musical acts. Think high-energy Grateful Dead covers from the likes of country rock band, Barnstorm.
148 Rowayton Ave, Rowayton
Music schedule on website
Tuscan Osteria and Mercato
You might not think that out-of-this-world risotto and live music go hand and hand, but at New Canaan’s The Tuscan, they do. The Tuscan hosts a changing line-up of acts every Friday and Saturday. From Pimpinella’s funky disco tunes, to By Default’s classic rock mainstays, the music here is eclectic and fun.
136 Main Street, New Canaan
Call the Tuscan for music schedule: (203) 594-9026.