Music News & Reviews

From burgers to blues, Harlow’s has what you need

Harlow's Restaurant & Nightclub on the 2700 block of J Street.
Harlow's Restaurant & Nightclub on the 2700 block of J Street. Fresno Custom Publications Photo

The summer nights might be nearly over, but the show goes on at Harlow’s Restaurant and Nightclub.

Harlow’s, founded in 1982, is a midtown Sacramento venue known for its prominent musicians and casual art deco setting. With a standing room capacity of 419, the club has an intimate setting in which patrons can see the stage from anywhere in the room while having access to a spacious dance floor. The venue also includes options for VIP bottle service, dinner shows and space for private events.

Since owner James Cornett bought Harlow’s five years ago, the sound system was improved and the number of concerts increased to as many as six per week.


Both touring artists and local artists perform – “The music business is not an easy scene to manage – you have to do a lot of shows to stay afloat,” Cornett said. The calendar is filled with bands on tour, cover bands and local bands trying to be discovered. The club also hosts all-age events, usually 6:30 p.m. dinner shows that end at 9:30 p.m. And while Harlow’s hosts musical performances, Cornett calls it a “live entertainment venue,” so there are comedy shows and other events, too.

Whatever your taste, there’s a show for you – Harlow’s host a wide range of musicians. Cornett said his favorites shows this year have been by Chicano Batman (a soul-tropical-psychedelic four-piece band), Ghostface Killer (a rapper and prominent member of the Wu-Tang Clan) and Reverend Horton Heat (the name of lead singer Jim Heath and his “psychobilly” trio). Upcoming performances include bluegrass rap, flamenco and a Hawaiian slack-key guitar.

Private parties are welcome, but book early – Though Harlow’s often books its show far in advance, the venue can accommodate private events. But Cornett suggests having a large group: “If you’re only bringing 75 people to the event, it doesn’t fill the room, it just doesn’t feel right, it’s a big room.” Private events can have music, too, but “we don’t let you sell tickets to outside events,” Cornett said, “but if it’s just going to be a party, that’s not a problem.”

It’s a trendy club, and the food is fresh, too – According to Cornett, everything at Harlow’s is made fresh. Under its previous owners, Harlow’s had a larger menu, but Cornett whittled it down so the staff could make every order fresh. Though Cornett said there isn’t a best-selling item on the menu, he suggests pizza and burgers.

You don’t need to stay inside all night – Harlow’s also has a patio it shares with the Momo Nightclub upstairs, featuring multiple fire pits, plenty of seating and a bar. The patio also can be reserved for private events.

Karen Marks: 916-321-1136, @karenmarks_

Harlow’s at a glance

  • Seating capacity: 530
  • Address: 2708 J St., Sacramento, Ca., 95816; 916-441-4693
  • More information:


  • Marshall Crenshaw Y Los Straitjackets, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 8 p.m.
  • Zepparella, Friday, Oct. 6, 8 p.m.
  • Goapele, Thursday, Nov. 30, 9 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 1, 10 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 2, 10 p.m.