The atmosphere is lively, even raucous, over at Ruby's Roadhouse, a live music venue of long standing in Mandeville. It is a little more genteel over at Pontchartrain Vineyards, where an annual concert series, Jazz'n the Vines, brings families out to picnic under the stars.
Whatever the setting, live music is a part of the cultural scene on the Northshore where everything from wine-sipping to parade-watching to hot dates comes with a soundtrack. Here are a few venues you might want to check out.
Abita Springs Opry Acoustic Louisiana roots music is highlighted at the
Opry, held six Saturday nights a year in the Abita Springs Town Hall. Hear country, bluegrass, southern gospel and Cajun music presented by regional performers. The place is always packed for performances, and lines form early. Luckily, there is entertainment on the front porch before the main show, and gumbo is served at the concession stand. The Opry recently was chosen to host the Smithsonian Institute's exhibit, New Harmonies, Roots Music in America.
Pontchartrain Vineyards This winery, in Bush, about 20 minutes outside downtown Covington, hosts an outdoor concert series twice monthly in May, June, September, October and November. Regional acts perform on the small outdoor stage for concert-goers enjoying picnics on the grass against a backdrop of grapevines.
Bayou Jam This free concert series held alternate Sundays in March and April and again in September and October fills Heritage Park in Slidell with music acts and entertainment for the whole family.
Sunset at the Landing Held monthly March-October, the free Landing concerts are held Fridays down at the Bogue Falaya River in downtown Covington.
Mandeville Live! In Autumn and Spring, the City of Mandeville hosts free concert series at the Trailhead. Fall concerts are on Saturdays in September-October and spring concerts are on Fridays in March-April.
Rockin' the Rails: Every Thursday in April and October, the City of Covington presents the Rockin' the Rails concert series at the Trailhead featuring popular acts from across the region.
Ruby's Roadhouse Party hard at this great little Mandeville roadhouse, featuring potent drinks and full-tilt Louisiana boogie mode. Northshore and New Orleans acts rock this one-time juke joint and its bouncy wood floor, long bar and friendly regulars. Rockin Dopsie plays here, so do the Iguanas, Tab Benoit and Four Unplugged. Even tough dude/movie actor Steven Seagal played here. Work up a sweat on the dance floor, then head outside for a drink and fresh air on the patio out back. 985-892-2225
Whartons Craft Cocktails Get your mojo working at this cool, dark space in downtown Covington. Low cover charges, reasonably priced drinks and room to dance to the sounds of regional acts. Rock, reggae, metal, acoustic jams and beyond flame the fans into the night.
Columbia Street Tap Room & Grill This local favorite serves up 30 beers on tap (and good sandwiches and salads), along with live music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Regional rock acts include Bag of Donuts and Rick Samson and Friends. Room to dance and a great patio, smack in the middle of historic downtown Covington.