If you’re a music lover, spending a balmy summer evening tucked away at your own table, drink in hand and listening to the blues, is a treat for all the senses. We’ve covered six different cities in hopes of finding you the perfect venue and have stamped the below jazz clubs with a GLR seal of approval.
D.C. – Blues Alley
Literally tucked into an alley, just blocks from the hustle and bustle of Georgetown, Blues Alley attracts some of the nation’s top jazz acts – Wynton Marsalis, Tony Bennett and Ahmad Jamal – along with a steady stream of local stars who pack the house each night. The intimate club, built in a 18th century red brick carriage house, was designed after the supper clubs of the 1920s and 30s, with tables surrounding the stage and a full creole-focused menu available after 6 p.m.
1073 Northwest Wisconsin Ave.
Washington, DC 20007
Detroit – Baker’s Keyboard Lounge
Baker’s Keyboard Lounge claims to be the world’s oldest operating jazz club, music flowing from its stage since 1934. While the economic downturn has been tough on the club and the Detroit area, the current owners are vowing to keep the club open, and with that a brilliant history, which includes performances from Ella Fitzgerald and John Coltrane, is relived on a nightly basis. While the music is top notch, the southern inspired menu – think collard greens and fried chicken – also draws the crowds.
20510 Livernois Ave.
Detroit, MI 48221
New York – Village Vanguard
In a city where clubs and restaurants can open and close all within the same evening, the fact that the Village Vanguard jazz club has been hosting live jazz since 1935 seems almost impossible. This Greenwich Village basement club has hosted some of the greatest names in jazz and still attracts them each week – mixed in with up-and-coming stars who see gracing the stage here as a rite of passage. Drinks flow freely during the show, but if you are looking for a bite to eat then you better make reservations elsewhere, as the Vanguard is focused on the music and no food is served.
178 Seventh Avenue South
New York, NY 10014
Chicago – Jazz Showcase
Indie and pop fans flock to Lincoln Hall and the Aragon Ballroom for live acts, but locals know that if your musical tastes are more of the jazz variety, then your best bet is to grab a cab or the ‘L’ over to the Jazz Showcase in historic Dearborn Station Building. Touring acts share the stage with local stars at this venue where it’s best to show up early, as the no-reservations policy still stands and each night is first-come, first-serve.
806 South Plymouth Court
Chicago, IL 60605
New Orleans – Snug Harbor
Being a standout musical venue in New Orleans truly means something, as any indoor club that can pull folks from the streets of the French Quarter (and away from the roaming musicans that play on them) definitely deserves some recognition. Located just a short distance from the lights and smells of the ‘Quarter’ in Faubourg Mariginy, Snug Harbor has been pulling people in for more than 30 years, offering clap-inducing live jazz and some tasty regional cuisine. Made up of three rooms, the music flows from the aptly-named “two-level” music room. If you aren’t lucky enough to score a seat there, you can always find one in the bar room where the show is broadcast live on several TVs.
626 Frenchmen Street
New Orleans, LA 70116
Seattle – Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley
Seattle may be known as the home of grunge and indie-rock, but all types of jazz have billowed out of Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley for over 30 years, causing the area’s devoted jazz fans to flock to this two-level club in downtown Seattle. With a cutting-edge sound system and a full-service kitchen, this place can really get packed. Luckily, national touring acts typically book several nights of showings, offering everyone in the Pacific Northwest a chance to reserve a seat.
2033 Sixth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121