The Essential Guide to Best Jazz Clubs in NYC


Photo by Lawrence Sumulong

News | May, 15th 2019

We might be biased, but we proudly assert that New York City is the jazz capital of the world. The breadth of unique venues in NYC includes legendary landmarks, contemporary lounges, and no-frills joints that offer a diverse variety of live jazz throughout the boroughs. Our Jazz at Lincoln Center team has curated a list of top jazz clubs by neighborhood, so you can find exactly the type of live jazz experience you want for your night out in NYC!

HARLEM

Bill's Place

Bill's Place is an intimate, heavenly (and BYOB!) brownstone run by Bill Saxton & the Harlem All-Stars. Known historically as Harlem's only authentic speakeasy during the Prohibition era, this venue continues to embody the vintage aura of the Roaring '20s. Every Friday and Saturday, this small basement venue jumps with live sets at 8pm and 10pm in a small, first-come, first-served performance space (reservations highly recommended).
148 West 133rd Street 
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Minton's Playhouse
Minton's Playhouse is one of the most important shrines in jazz history. Founded in 1938 by the saxophonist Henry Minton, this small jazz club and bar (located on the first floor of the Cecil Hotel) is a registered landmark in New York City. Commonly known as the birthplace of bebop, Minton's Playhouse revolutionized jazz and hosted the greatest performers in their heyday, including Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Charlie Christian, and Kenny Clarke.
206 W 118th Street
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Showmans Jazz Club

With 74 years under its belt, Showmans is one of Harlem's longest-running jazz clubs. This soulful haunt on the famed 125th Street strip has been home to greats like Sarah Vaughan, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, and Pearl Bailey since 1942, having moved to its current location in August 1998.
375 W 125th Street
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Ginny's Supper Club
Beneath the renowned Red Rooster, home to celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, is Ginny's Supper Club. The scene at Ginny's has been on the rise, featuring some of the hottest and most talented young musicians. This classic Harlem speakeasy lends itself perfectly to creating memorable days and nights celebrating the legendary music of Harlem alongside Samuelsson’s world-renowned cuisine.
310 Lenox Avenue
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UPPER WEST SIDE

Smoke Jazz & Supper Club

This cozy and popular venue presents a large variety of acts, both local and established. Smoke's menu features seasonal American cuisine from Chef Patricia Williams and offers a weekend jazz brunch. Candlelit tables, antique chandeliers, and velvet banquettes create an ideal setting to escape from the city bustle and experience live jazz uptown.
2751 Broadway
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Dizzy's Club

Of course, we're partial to our own club at Jazz at Lincoln Center, but we'll try to let it speak for itself. Dizzy's Club offers an elevated, one-of-a-kind view of Central Park, acoustically impeccable sound, Southern-inspired farm-to-table food, and a massive variety of world-class musicians performing nightly sets at 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm. Founded by Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center, Dizzy's Club has been hailed as "the best jazz room in the city" by none other than jazz icon Tony Bennett. Rising stars are also featured during Late Night Sessions at 11:15 pm on Tuesday through Saturday every week.
60th & Broadway
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MIDTOWN

Birdland Jazz Club

"See the girl with the red dress on, she can do the Birdland all night long!" – Ray Charles

Birdland's namesake, Charlie "Bird" Parker, once called this historic venue "the Jazz Corner of the World." Birdland is a veteran Theater District club with a large bar and Cajun-inspired menu. Throughout its 70-year history, this club has hosted nightly shows with legends like Oscar Peterson, Pat Metheny, and Diana Krall, as well as the big bands of Chico O'Farrill and Maria Schneider.
315 W 44th Street
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The Iridium
This intimate jazz club has long been associated with Les Paul, the "godfather of the electric guitar." For 20 years and counting, this Hell's Kitchen landmark has been a premier venue to experience virtuosic, guitar-driven jazz performances. On top of its tasty menu and appetizer offerings, the Iridium's world-class sound system and acoustic design provide a true audiophile experience for live jazz, blues, and rock.
1650 Broadway
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Swing 46 Jazz and Supper Club

Looking for a swanky dance floor to lindy-hop, jitterbug, or waltz? How about a menu with all homemade sauces, dressings, and freshly baked bread? At Swing 46, get ready to dance to a live swing band or participate in a free swing lesson, offered nightly, alongside a full-service restaurant. Plus, bring your tap shoes and dance on Sundays with Dr. Buster Brown. Located on Restaurant Row in the Theater District, Swing 46 puts a spotlight on Swing Era music and dance.
349 W 46th Street
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Jazz at Kitano
This midtown spot (located in the famous Kitano Hotel) boasts an eclectic yet elegant Sunday brunch. Jazz at Kitano's menu features contemporary American cuisine, and its bar is well known for its rare malt whiskeys, classic cocktails, and fine wines. Just steps away from the Empire State Building and Times Square, Jazz at Kitano frequently welcomes seasoned musicians and rising star artists, fusing traditional and modern jazz in a laid-back setting.
66 Park Ave
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FLATIRON

The Jazz Gallery 
The New York City jazz community wouldn't be the same without this one-of-a-kind jazz club. The Jazz Gallery is an international, non-profit cultural center and venue space that preserves the spirit and traditions of jazz while offering music lessons to help foster the artistic growth of the city's young musicians. The Jazz Gallery is open three nights per week and presents major, established jazz figures alongside a younger generation of artists.
1160 Broadway, 5th Fl
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Jazz Standard

BBQ + bebop = America. The Jazz Standard features new and well-established musicians and offers a BBQ menu from famed restaurateur Danny Meyer. There's a sign in the 86th street Q station that says "E Pluribus Unum." We think it should be moved to this basement club beneath the Blue Smoke restaurant. The New York City Jazz Record also named Jazz Standard the "Venue of the Year" in 2017.
116 E 27th Street
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GREENWICH VILLAGE

Arthur's Tavern

This west village jazz club has been bustling since it first opened in the 1930s. Arthur's Tavern is a go-to spot for bebop, rhythm & blues, and hot jazz. Called the "Home of the Bird," this historic tavern is the last remaining venue in business to have regularly hosted Charlie Parker.
57 Grove Street
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Blue Note

On any given nightly set, don't be surprised to see a walk-on appearance from a legendary guest musician in attendance. This intimate live music venue features genre-crossing jazz musicians and classic American food, and it ranks high on any list of NYC cultural institutions. The club also hosts new jazz voices during its Late Night Groove series on Fridays and Saturdays.
131 W 3rd Street
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Mezzrow Jazz Club
We love Mezzrow's bare-bones focus on the live jazz experience of an underground piano bar. Named after clarinetist Milton "Mezz" Mezzrow, this is a relaxed lounge that features live jazz pianists, a full bar, and a simple snack menu.
163 W 10th Street
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The Ear Inn
The Ear Inn is a traditional jazz paradise housed in a landmarked building that has been serving drinks since 1817. In this tiny restaurant and bar, you'll sit right up close to the music and be glad you're there.
326 Spring Street
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Smalls

A favorite hang among jazz musicians and fans alike, Small's brings nightly audiences directly into the jazz zeitgeist. Smalls feels like a classic speakeasy, delivering hard bop bands in addition to a range of jam sessions throughout the year.
183 W 10th Street
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Fat Cat
Fat Cat is an underground billiards, ping-pong, board game, and art exhibit oasis that happens to host some of the city's most diverse live jazz sets. Who says a jazz venue can't just be good, old-fashioned fun?
75 Christopher Street
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The Stone
While not strictly a "jazz club," The Stone features many of the most creative composers and improvisers in contemporary music. Founded and curated by legendary musician John Zorn, The Stone offers eclecticism and quality. Stop by and allow yourself to be taken on a musical journey.
55 W 13th Street
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Village Vanguard

Opened in 1935, this iconic venue has always featured a who's-who of jazz icons, and it continues to host both legendary and up-and-coming musicians. Famous for its great, recognizable sound (often credited to the room's triangular shape), this music mecca is a must-visit for every jazz fan.
178 7th Ave South
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Zinc
Residing in the same location as the famed '40s era Club Cinderella, Zinc is an underground club known especially for its African, Latin, and Brazilian rhythms.
82 W 3rd Street
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The 55 Bar
The 55 Bar offers a modest cover charge and major talents that make this homey downstairs music club a local stalwart. This is a solid Prohibition-era dive bar with nightly jazz, funk, and blues performances right in Greenwich Village.
55 Christopher Street
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EAST VILLAGE

Mona's Bar NYC
Mona's is a brick-walled bar with a pool table and frequent jam sessions. We suggest stopping by the late-night jam sessions for some '20s and '30s hot jazz every Tuesday from 11pm until the wee hours of the morning.
224 Avenue B
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SOHO

The Django

Descend into this Paris-inspired jazz joint and you'll feel like you've entered another world. Django is a subterranean club with vaulted ceilings and exposed brick walls under the Roxy Hotel. This is a go-to hang for nightly jazz in the heart of SoHo.
2 6th Ave
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TRIBECA

The 75 Club
Unique and spacious, the 75 Club is a hidden gem in an elegant stone-walled cellar.
75 Murray Street
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BED-STUY

LunÀtico

This hidden gem in the heart of Bed-Stuy features free live music alongside a respectable happy hour menu. We appreciate the neighborhood charm of this musician-owned bar.
486 Halsey Street
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Sista's Place
If you want an old-school, down-home, no-frills jazz experience, then Sista's Place is for you. They even have their own recorded theme song that plays before and after each set. This Brooklyn spot has an abundance of soul.
456 Nostrand Avenue
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WILLIAMSBURG

St. Mazie

Located in Brooklyn, St. Mazie is a funky bar with live jazz and good cocktails.
345 Grand Street
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PARK SLOPE

Barbès
This Paris-inspired hang attracts a unique array of local jazz musicians to its bustling bar with a variety of jazz sets and a large selection of beers and spirits.
376 9th Street
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