Where to Catch New York City’s Best Jazz Shows

From Manhattan institutions to Brooklyn nightclubs (and brownstones), here are the venues worth repeat visits

April 16, 2024 7:08 am
woman in a giant glass wearing a tutu throwing confetti, men playing instruments in suits
The Red Pavilion is one of the most unique jazz clubs in the city.
The Red Pavilion

New York City has long been hailed as the epicenter of jazz music. From the smoky underground haunts of Harlem to the hole-in-the-wall lounges of Greenwich Village, many of the city’s most iconic jazz bars have decades of stories to tell. A genre defined by both spontaneity and collaboration, jazz emerged in the early 20th century as a fusion of African rhythms, European harmonies and American improvisation, finding its way from its birthplace of New Orleans to the vibrant melting pot of New York through iconic figures like Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker. 

There was a time when you could hear the often-erratic melodies of jazz busting from the windows of every party in the city — in the Jazz Age of the 1920s and 30s. But even today, New York boasts an incredible variety of jazz clubs, from industrial subterranean venues and classic velvet-clad haunts to modern glitzy clubs and even a historic Brooklyn brownstone. 

Our suggestion? Try them all, and experience the true range that jazz has to offer. Another tip? Arrive to the venues early. Whether you’re bringing a date or a group of friends, you’ll lose the ability to chat as soon as the saxophone comes out of the case. Not only does coming early ensure you the best seats in the house, it also gives you the opportunity to get your bearings (read: cocktails) and catch up before the main act starts.

So, read on to learn about some of the best jazz venues in New York City. Before long, you’ll be snapping your fingers, donning a striped suit and calling yourself Val

Editor’s note: Amanda Gabriele contributed to these selections.


Zinc Bar

Greenwich Village

Storied venues abound in Greenwich Village, but there are few music rooms with the kind of history enjoyed by Zinc Bar — an underrated spot for a wide variety of jazz acts, especially African and Latin. The space was once home to the Cinderella Club, whose house pianist was Thelonious Monk and whose shows were enjoyed by figures such as Frank Sinatra and Mae West. After living several lives as LGBTQ+ bars and comedy clubs, it made a full circle back into the jazz bar it is today. The transportive space is full of red velvet and moody lighting, with art nouveau details on the bar. A great spot for date night, there are also side banquets and larger seating areas that would make for a quality night of jazz with a group of friends. Tickets can be purchased in advance, but are also offered at the door, and will run you about $30. Like the host announces before a set begins, “You can either come to the Zinc, or you can make a mistake.”

82 W 3rd St.

brick wall painted red with a yellow sign, drums, chairs, mic stand
The Django
The Django

The Django


Below the Roxy Hotel, you’ll find a subterranean jazz venue called The Django in a one-of-a-kind space inspired by the boîtes of Paris. Vaulted ceilings, arched doorways and an intentionally distressed paint job create a unique atmosphere, and red-leather seating makes for comfortable environs for listening to live jazz any day of the week. The Django is a great place to catch some of the more experimental acts, and the acoustics are great, so you won’t have an issue hearing every strum and hum no matter where you’re seated. Note that there is a cover charge for shows and a two-drink minimum, which isn’t very challenging to hit thanks to a well-curated cocktail menu and wine list. The Django also boasts a full dinner menu that includes everything from oysters to a fried chicken sandwich. 

2 6th Ave.

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Midtown West

Birdland, known as “the Jazz Corner of the World,” is easily one of the most storied clubs in the city, with a rich history dating back to its original location’s opening in 1949. It was named after Charlie “Yardbird” Parker, the legendary saxophonist, and quickly became a thriving musical hub in upper Manhattan. Throughout the decades, Birdland has undergone two moves and, all the while, hosted iconic performances by luminaries such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Count Basie, cementing its status as a landmark in jazz history. Its current location in the Theater District is still one of the best spots to catch a show in Manhattan, with iconic photos on the walls and classic white tablecloths. If you’re ready to be wowed by larger jazz ensembles, Birdland is your place, just make sure to get your ticket ahead of time and be ready for a $20 food or drink minimum per person. 

315 W 44th St.

Canary Club

Lower East Side

This New Orleans-inspired jazz venue encompasses a multi-floor space on Broome Street, separated into a dining floor (at ground level) and a subterranean lounge. Start your evening upstairs in the charming dining space for a taste of refined Cajun and Creole fare before making your way down to the dimly lit lower level, marked by red sofas and a checkerboard floor. The signature cocktails are well-made and also nod at New Orleans, and live jazz acts perform every Wednesday through Sunday. Hot tip: Wednesday performances have no cover charge to attend. 

303 Broome St.


Greenwich Village

This snug, hole-in-the-wall haunt is all about the music. There’s no dinner service, or other frills, and when the tiny club first launched in 1994 they didn’t even have a liquor license — allowing patrons to BYOB. That’s no longer the case, and Smalls has a small menu of classic cocktails as well as wine and beer. Speaking of no frills, another thing to note is the venue’s lack of tables. It’s really that small(s), but still worth a visit, despite even having to hold your drink the entire time. Their nightly jazz sets are also wide-ranging, from classic to contemporary, and every show there has been recorded since 2007 and cataloged online, so you can even take a listen back at your favorite memories there. It’s definitely suggested to purchase your tickets ahead of time (there’s a $20 cover) as they only sell 15 walk-in tickets per show. 

183 W 10th St.

chairs, bar with liquor, dark room, stools



Tucked away on the ground floor of the Arlo SoHo Hotel, Foxtail is a speakeasy-style cocktail bar and jazz venue with a mid-century design vibe. Catch shows every Thursday and Saturday night, with Thursday shows starting at 8 p.m. and Saturday’s beginning at 8:30 p.m. Come early to grab a good seat and order from their tasty, curated menu, which includes raw bar items like oysters, scallops and crudité, as well as more substantial plates like a cheeseburger and pasta pomodoro. The great part is that there’s no cover charge to experience jazz here, which ranges from swing bands and blues to hot club, but table reservations are suggested. 

231 Hudson St.

Blue Note
Ron Carter performing at Blue Note
Dervon Dixon

Blue Note

Greenwich Village

What started as a small club in Greenwich Village in 1981 has become a global phenomenon, as Blue Note has opened clubs all over the world in locations like Tokyo, Rio and Milan. The flagship location on West 3rd Street remains one of New York’s most iconic jazz venues, where you can catch everything from classic ensembles to R&B performances and even the Harlem Gospel Choir. Showtimes range from weekend brunch to late night, so there’s a set for everyone. -Amanda Gabriele

131 W 3rd St.

Village Vanguard

West Village

Village Vanguard was the first jazz club I visited after moving to New York City, so it has a special place in my heart. The club opened in 1935 and is still in its original location nearly 90 years later. The Vanguard is known for its triangular basement and excellent natural acoustics, and many artists — from John Coltrane to Barbra Streisand — have recorded albums there. Each week features a different artist in residence, except for Mondays when you can hear the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. – AG

178 7th Ave S.

The Jazz Club at Aman New York
The Jazz Club at Aman New York
Aman/Robert Rieger

The Jazz Club at Aman New York


To find Aman New York’s Jazz Club, you don’t walk through the front doors of the luxury hotel. Rather, walk around to the back of the building on 56th Street where you’ll find a backdoor entrance (you can’t miss the bouncer and velvet ropes). The industrial stairwell will lead you to the Jazz Club, a sumptuous venue that hosts everything from jazz trios to eight-piece brass bands and even DJs after the on-stage sets are over. The cocktails are creative and beautifully-made, and there’s a small snack menu if you’re feeling peckish during a performance. – AG

9 W 56th St.

bar with stools and tables, stage with lights on, lights on ceiling
The Flatiron NoMad Venue
Heather Willensky

The Flatiron Room


What can’t the Flatiron Room do? Not only is it one of our favorite whisky bars in the world, it’s also one of the best places to go see jazz in New York City. Two locations, the original in NoMad and one in Murray Hill, means multiple stages and plenty of chances to see everything from piano jazz to bossa nova. Unlike many of the clubs on this list, the Flatiron Room does not charge a cover — but if you want to book a table reservation before 10 p.m., plan on eating dinner (luckily the food is great). The bar is first come, first serve if you’re simply feeling a drink to go with the live music. 

37 W 26th St.


woman with short hair and black dress singing into mic, people playing instruments in background
The Red Pavilion

The Red Pavilion


Potentially the most unique jazz offerings in the city happen on the stage of the Red Pavilion, a dynamic, AAPI-focused venue on Bushwick’s Flatbush Avenue. There, sip on a cocktail menu that features Asian-inspired ingredients and Chinese herbalism while you experience Shanghai-style jazz. The space itself is transportive as well — all red lights and misty fog, with a ring of lanterns glowing from the ceiling. Besides their Shanghai jazz on Friday nights, they also offer “Anime Jazz” based on the animated cinematic works by Studio Ghibli, which features aerial performances. Tickets to for shows at the Red Pavilion range between $25-$40 and it’s suggested that you nab your spots well in advance. 

1241 Flushing Ave.



Speaking of unique offerings, we’d be willing to bet that you’ve never experienced a live jazz band performance from the living room of a historic Brooklyn brownstone. That’s exactly what’s on offer from BrownstoneJAZZ, a beloved concept that is quickly gaining wider acclaim. Grab a ticket (fairly far) in advance online, then make your way to the restored 19th-century brownstone in Bedford-Stuyvesant, also home to a bed and breakfast called Sankofa Aban by the same owner, Debbie McClain. The experience is intimate and inspiring, with classical jazz musicians, and you are allowed to BYOB. 

107 Macon St.

Ornithology Jazz Club 


One of the most affordable options on our list is Ornithology, a bohemian jazz bar on Suydam in Bushwick. Only a $10 cover charge and a one-drink minimum is required to enjoy an evening of jazz here any night of the week, starting with an early-bird show at 6:30 p.m. followed by a 9 p.m. performance. The vibes are eclectic, the seating is haphazard, and shows here are up close personal since the space itself is quite small; but the energy is infectious and the performances are top-notch, especially for the price. Their curated cocktail menu is tasty as well, and those who come hungry can nosh on their selection of vegetarian plates. Note that it can get quite crowded on weekends, with a young crowd, so make sure to arrive early if you want a good seat. 

6 Suydam St.

St. Mazie Bar & Supper Club


Date nights are done right at St. Mazie, a warm and rustic multi-floor venue that is lightly inspired by New Orleans. On the basement level find the “supper club” portion, which features a hearty menu that ranges from oysters on the half shell to steamed mussels and truffle gnocchi. Upstairs, a unique wavy wooden ceiling is reminiscent of the hull of a ship, and low lighting illuminates a small stage backed by an art nouveau-inspired mural. Musical performances are scheduled every night from Tuesday through Sunday, and range from New Orleans-style jazz to swing, blues and more. Buying tickets in advance, which range from as low as $7 to $18, land you a table in the music area, but walk-ins for seating in other areas of the venue are also welcome. 

345 Grand St.



As this is a hidden gem in Bed-Stuy, regulars of Bar LunÀtico are probably going to be annoyed that we’ve included this underrated jazz spot on our list. The fairly tiny venue is located on the ground floor of a brownstone on Halsey Street. Founded and run by musicians, you know that the jazz is going to be spot on — and, uniquely, shows are played here every single night of the week. There are also no reservations, so if you want to catch a performance it’s encouraged to arrive at least 45 minutes before the show begins. It helps that there’s a full dinner menu, but no drinks minimum is enforced, and there’s only a $10 recommended cover charge. The food is simple and loosely Mediterranean, with smaller bites like hummus and gigante beans and larger plates like risotto and roasted chicken. Order a cocktail from their expansive list, grab a seat (which might be at a communal table), and get ready for global performances that range from Afro-Cuban jazz to Catalan guitar and singing. 

486 Halsey St.

Bar Bayeux

Prospect Lefferts Gardens

This snug venue on Nostrand Avenue is simple and effective, with a solid cocktail menu, a nice beer selection and no cover charge for any of their performances. Jazz acts come on stage every Tuesday through Saturday, and while tips for the musicians are encouraged, there’s only a one-drink minimum enforced in order to enjoy the show. The environs are also charming, with dark red walls to match a large velvet curtain on stage, and dark wood details that are reminiscent of any good neighborhood Irish bar. For those who need a breather, Bar Bayeux also has its own backyard space — the perfect place to soak up the energy of a warm Brooklyn night out. 

1066 Nostrand Ave.

Jazz Brunch

Red Rooster / Ginny’s Supper Club


Some celebrity chef-owned restaurants can feel gimmicky, but not Red Rooster, a Harlem mainstay by Food Network star Marcus Samuelsson that provides the neighborhood with a soulful spot for jazz performances, gospel brunches and Southern fare. Ginny’s Supper Club is located in the basement of Red Rooster, and feels like a speakeasy of sorts thanks to its hidden location. Red Rooster hosts regular jazz performances of their own, but Sundays are Ginny’s time to shine, with an acclaimed gospel brunch in collaboration with the Mama Foundation for the Arts featuring Sing Harlem. Upstairs, on Sundays, Red Rooster’s resident jazz artist Nate Lucas brings his band for performances throughout the day. While there’s no cover charge for weekday jazz performances at Red Rooster, seats for Sunday shows as well as Ginny’s gospel brunch book up fast and should be reserved online ahead of time.

310 Malcolm X Blvd.

The Bar Room at the Beekman

Financial District 

Walking into the Bar Room at the Beekman Hotel is like an instant stroll back in time to witness the glamor of old New York, with a soaring atrium, cozy seating and a library-like feel thanks to stacked bookcases illuminated by sconces. While the Bar Room is a popular spot for after-work drinks and date nights, the real time to visit is actually on Saturdays and Sundays for their jazz brunch. There, enjoy a Bloody Mary or Mimosa alongside comfort-food classics, with jazz from the Kate Quartet on Saturdays and the Temple Court Quartet on Sundays.

123 Nassau St.



This spacious Midtown cocktail bar and restaurant pays homage to Manhattan’s Golden Age, glowing golden with a soaring arched ceiling and ample backlit bar. While its a great dinner spot, you can’t beat their Sunday jazz brunches — the perfect setting for indulging in some comfort food and cocktails to beat away the impending scaries. Swing band Danny Lipsitz and the Brass Tacks performs at every Sunday from 12 to 3 p.m., with no cover charge.

45 W 45th St.


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