Jazz Clubs You Must Visit
Why You’ll Love These Jazz Clubs
Black Cat \ San Francisco, CA
A classic jazz club feel- fancy, intimate and they always have the best talent. Look up their calendar next time you’re in The Bay Area- if you don’t recognize the name of the artists, buy tickets anyways! You won’t be disappointed.
Just as any big city jazz club, it can feel a little pretentious upon entering. Black Cat charges an entry fee for all shows and they upcharge depending on where you want to sit. But when you get downstairs, you’ll immediately realize its worth it.
They have seating in the front half, a mixture of tables from there back and bar in the middle. The bartenders are professional- they can make whatever you’re drink-of-choice normally is, or check out their current cocktail menu… they use seasonal ingredients, and even infuse mixers with their own herbs.
The sound and lighting set the perfect tone and again, they bring in truly incredible musicians. https://blackcatsf.com/
*Tip: Also visit Yoshi’s in Oakland just north of San Francisco.
Middle C Jazz Club / Charlotte, NC
Brand new, and incredible. The owners of Middle C really did their reserach- this venue feels like its been around since the ’50s (but new and fresh)!
The venue has limited seating and often sells out in advance, but get in while you can. There is mixed seating all around the room and a bar on the side with additional seats and standing room.
Middle C has a growing food menu that is delicious! Just as their cocktails. This is truly a gem of a jazz club in the south, and its officially Charlotte’s first. https://middlecjazz.com/
Dakota / Minneapolis, MN
You’ve probably heard of this music venue and if you haven’t been, add it to your list. This club books up fast because jazz artists are lining up to play here.
Depending on which night you’re in town, you may get to see Stanley Clarke or anything from Folk to Hip-Hop! The artists travel far and wide to play this club and anyone on their roster would be worthy of the ticket price.
Dakota has a great food menu- it may seem small at first glance, but they offer small plates, appetizers and desserts- anything to please depending on what type of evening you’re having.
If you’re planning to visit and you don’t recognize the artist, do your research in advance- you will probably be more than impressed with what you hear and definitely will be impressed with the performance at this iconic jazz club. https://www.dakotacooks.com/
ISIS Music Hall / Asheville, NC
Don’t judge the name. This jazz club opened before ISIS had a bad affiliation. It was originally a movie theatre in the 1930s that was restored into an incredible music venue.
It’s okay to google “isis asheville,” the top items that will come up are all about the club. This venue brings a wide variety of music- from a longtime local genre of Folk Musicians, to singer/songwriters, and of course jazz bands. The venue has a front dining hall before leading back into the club.
Depending on which musical group is performing, the club offers seated shows with full dinner service, standing shows and a mix or seats/standing. There’s limited seating at the bar, and also seating on the upstairs balcony- but you have to arrive early to get a balcony seat, or its highly recommended to reserve a table in advance if its offered that night. https://isisasheville.com/
55 Bar / Manhattan, NY
Its not breaking news that 55 Bar is a must-visit. But its still relevant as a must-visit jazz club and for all different reasons. There’s two performances a night, and you have to wait “on line,” as New Yorker’s say, to get in. If its cold, you wait in the cold. Everyone else is doing it too, you’ll make it. And if you get in, you’ll immediately notice 55 Bar is different from traditional jazz clubs.
There is a drink minimum, no suprise, but this is more of a NY dive bar feel… until the music hits. There is nothing modern, nothing has been updated or renovated- but this jazz club is a Greenwich Village jazz club- with the most talented musicians coming through on any given night. Its just a shotgun style room, bar on the right, a few tables that get taken up immediately, and overcrowded standing space with the performers (no stage) at the end of the room.
Eat before you come and if you like drinking a Negroni- have a few before you arrive. Show up at the 55 Bar ready to drink simple, but listen hard. Musicians love playing here because its so intimate and iconic- check out the photos on the wall of the history of artists that have performed at this jazz club. But don’t sleep on it- this is truly a unique music venue you must visit! http://www.55bar.com/
*Tip: Also visit the legendary Village Vanguard in Lower East Side.
Jazz Clubs are still the perfect date night (even if its just a date with yourself, or a friend). The music business is constantly changing and being effected by streaming services and social media- you can have music at your fingertips anytime of the day for free. But seeing performers in a jazz club is an experience greater than anything you’ll feel from a screen. Treat yourself to a romantic evening of music, cocktails and dining.