Little Rock has a great music scene with both local bands and national tours coming through on all scales. From the little guys playing at Vino's (some not so little too), to the big bands at Alltel, Little Rock has music to please all levels of audiophiles.
West End is probably the best bar in West Little Rock. It gets compliments on it's food, they serve until 2am 7 days a week, the massive televisions and great pool tables, but this article is about live music. Friday and Saturday nights most weeks, West End has live music. It's mostly what I would call dance bands. Fun music. It's always crowded on band nights.
Twenty one and over only, not smoke free.
215 N Shackleford Rd
Juanita's has been the place for local, regional and national acts for a long time. They have live music nearly every night of the week and the best way to describe the kind of crowd they draw is variety. They have blues, punk and lots in between. Check out the calender to see what is playing.
The Mexican Restaurant is just ok, above average for bar food, and the bar is smoke free. It can get quite crowded and loud in the small venue (capacity is about 300).
614 President Clinton Ave
Cajun's has live music on most nights of the week. Thursday nights are the biggest, advertised as deck parties. They normally have several live bands and dance music. That being said, there are multiple levels in Cajun's and you can probably find a nice, sort of quiet spot if you look hard enough. It has a great, high energy atmosphere.
The seafood was once known as the best in the city, but in recent years Cajun is known more for it's fun atmosphere than food. It does have a view that can't be beat. The location, by the Arkansas River, is a little off the beaten path, but worth the trip.
2400 Cantrell Rd
Vino's has a great independent rocker type atmosphere topped off with fresh pizza (some say the calzones are the best in Arkansas) and freshly brewed beer. They sometimes have live music on other nights, but almost always have music Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It gets loud and crowded in Vino's but that's part of what makes it great (capacity is about 300). They mostly cater to the rock crowd here. All ages are allowed in Vino's so it's a non-smoking facility.
923 W 7th St
Sticky Fingerz says it has gourmet chicken fingers, but in reality I think the food is just ok (again, better than most bar food). They do have the right location. They're in the middle of the River Market and the River Market is the center of Little Rock bar life. As for the music, they have bands on Tuesday through Saturday night. All types of band have been known to play there "from hip-hop to bluegrass."
107 Commerce Street
Connected to one of my favorite restaurants, Rumba, the Revroom (or "Revolution") is a little bigger than Vino's or Juanita's (capacity is about 550). They have music on the weekends and some weeknights. Check their schedule. They also have a great River Market location.
300 President Clinton Ave
This place was founded by Larry "Goose" Garrison. Now, it has that college crowd kind of feel to it. It's great place to relax, hang out and listen to some music. You'll find a variety of music there.
2500 W 7th St
The Village is a former movie theater turned into an all ages venue. The venue has featured a wide range of music, but most often it features bands that would make the Alice 107.7 or Edge crowd happy.
3915 S. University
Their tagline is, "Little Rock's true home of the underground." Mostly open on Friday and Saturday nights. Full bar.
215 W. Capitol (corner of Capitol and Louisiana)
If you like jazz and New Orleans style music, this is the place to be. The Afterthought offers live music Monday through Saturday. They offer a mixture of jazz, blues and rock and roll, and also a mixture of regional and national bands. Most of the national names are jazz musicians. It's the best place in the city to hear that type of music.
The rest of this list has been, for the most art, accessible to all types of musicians. The arena is where the big boys play. This where you'll find the bestselling superstar acts from all over the country. Little Rock gets some major headliners. Generally, most national tours either stop here or in Memphis, which is just about 2 hours away. Both venues are great, but large and very impersonal.