Jazz Clubs in New York City

New York City is the "hub" of the Jazz World. All the greats made their names here, and young up-and-comers flock to the city for the chance to prove themselves.

List maintained by Gordon Polatnick: Gordon Polatnick moved back to New York City in 1995 and was immediately bitten by the jazz bug. Soon after, he developed West Miles Disease and has been scratching that itch all over town in search of improvisational healing. Gordon invites the curious jazz novice and the aficionado to share in his thrill seeking adventures from the Village to Harlem, every night of the week.

See Jazz clubs in Brooklyn and Queens


55 Bar 55 Christopher St. (btwn. 7th Ave. So. & Waverly Place) 212-929-9883
Leni and Mike Stern hold court, also Sweet Georgia Brown, Billy Bang and Wayne Krantz. $5-15 cover and 2 drink min. Weeknight shows begin at 7pm and 10pm. Early show Friday and Saturday are at 6pm. Friday and Saturday late shows begin at 10pm (9:30pm on Sunday). Get there early because the club is small and Mike Stern et al packs them in. Expect a $15 cover on Mike Stern nights.

American Museum of Natural History On 81st St. off Central Park West (Hayden Planetarium) (212) 769-5100
Fridays under The Sphere at the Rose Center for Earth and Space. Others will know it as the Hadyn Planetarium. There are two sets weekly (5:45 / 7:15 PM) by highly regarded musicians such as Jimmy Heath, Lou Donaldson, Steve Turre, and David "Fathead" Newman and their quartets. The show admission is included with museum price (suggested donation), and drinks and tapas are available. This is the early Friday show to make, especially if you haven't been to the complex before -- it will surely impress even the most jaded.

Arthur's Tavern 57 Grove St. (N.W. corner of Grove and 7th Ave. South at Sheridan Square) 212-675-6879
Since 1937. Longest continually run jazz club in NYC. No cover charge. Jazz: 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Dixieland jazz: 8 p.m. - 11 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Blues and R&B from 9 p.m. - 3 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 p.m. - 3 a.m. Sunday and Monday. The Creole Cooking Jazz Band, Grove Street Stompers and Sweet Georgia Brown have been playing here weekly forever, and for good reason: they rock the house.

Birdland 315 West 44th Street (btwn. 8th and 9th) 212-581-3080
All show times: 9:00 and 11:00 P.M. (with early 5:30 tribute sets added to the Mon., Tues. and Fri. schedules). Music charge varies, $20-35. There is a $10 food/drink minimum per person at the tables. At the bar, the music charge includes one drink. Sundays belong to Arturo O'Farrill's Afro-Cuban Jazz Big Band, Mondays have been reserved for the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra featuring Lew Tabackin for the later sets, and now every Monday from 5:30 - 7:30pm - The Art Blakey Jazz Messenger's Revue perform. Tuesdays typically go to The Famous Duke Ellington Orchestra directed by Paul Mercer Ellington with early sets at 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. showcasing David Ostwald's Louis Armstrong Centennial Band. From Wednesday - Saturday expect the best in local and internationally touring artists. Just added: Every Friday from 5:30 - 7:30pm - Lew Anderson's All American Big Band. All will enjoy the excellent sightlines to the stage.

Blue Note 131 W. 3rd St (btwn. 6th Ave. & MacDougal St.) (212) 475-8592
Opened in 1981, the Blue Note is arguably the world's most popular jazz club. World renown talent take the stage for six day runs, with Mondays usually reserved for excellent local talent. Two sets are 9:00 and 11:30. Prices are $35 for table reservations + minimum, or $25 cover at the bar. There is $5.00 cover charge for the Friday and Saturday late night jam sessions. Sunday brunch served Noon - 6 PM. Show times at 1:00 PM and 3:30 PM.

Blue Water Grill 31 Union Square West (Corner West 16th St.) (212) 675-9500
Fine restaurant with live jazz booked for downstairs dining area. Call for reservations. No cover, but meals are high end. Website does not mention who's playing, indicating that the jazz is an afterthought. That is, they don't book musicians who are in a position to complain if the audience noise level starts to peak. Call for performance calendar.

Cafe Creole 99 McDougal St. (btwn. W. 3rd & Bleecker) (212) 475-4132
A new addition to the McDougal Street music scene with Cajun and Caribbean cuisine and jazz served up Tuesday thru Sunday from 6:00-2:00 and Mondays from 9-2. No cover. No website, so call for schedule.

The Cajun 129 Eighth Ave. (btwn. 16th & 17th Streets) 212-691-6174
Dixieland and swing nightly 8 - 11 as backdrop to a New Orleans dining experience. Sunday brunches and Wednesday lunches are also accompanied by live music.

Cleopatra's Needle 2485 Broadway (btwn. 92nd & 93rd) 212-769-6969
Music from 9 pm - 4 am. No cover. $10. min. per set. Eclectic menu, big screen sports and weekly showcases, featuring Eric Lewis Trio on Mondays. And nightly open jams from 2 am - 4 am. Jazz vocalists open mic every Sunday 1 to 5 pm.

C-Note 157 Ave. C (btwn. 9th & 10th St.) (212) 677-8142
A first rate neighborhood club. Daily doses of early evening jazz trios 5pm-7pm, and open jams every Sunday from 3pm-6pm -(moving to Sat. at end of June). Daily schedule also includes all manner of music and you can keep up by asking to get on their email list. Usually no cover. If you are this far East it's worth a stop to see who they have, but call in advance and press "3" for schedule updates. Of note you can often find pianist Gil Coggins who's recorded with both Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins jamming at C-Note.

Decade 1117 First Avenue (at 61st Street) (212) 835-5979
Jazz with dinner weekdays for the Upper East Side. In this "dress appropriately" club/restaurant you can expect a well-heeled audience. Dinner menus are offered for a variety of budgets: prix-fixe meals weighing in at $45, $25, and $10 levels. Dinner hours are 6:00 - 9:00 after which the club reverts to a non-improv dance and night club vibe. Better check their detailed website for hour to hour programming. Closed Sundays.

Detour 349 E. 13th St. (btwn. 1st & 2nd Aves.) 212-533-6212
Sun. - Thurs.: Music starts at 9:00. Fri. - Sat: Music starts at 9:30. No cover but informally enforced 2 drink minimum. Detour is the place to go in the East Village to catch Matt Wilson and John Funkhouser for free on their way up. They are among the talented new breed gigging at this inconspicuous diamond in the rough. Talk loudly or listen closely, all are welcome.

Fat Cat 75 Christopher Street (at 7th Ave. South) (212) 675-6056
This club is "around the corner pocket" from Smalls and features billiards and jazz. $10 admission for 6 hours of music from 10pm-4am Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Fat Cat is the little brother of Smalls and features a similar posture and roster. It has reopened after wrinkles have been ironed out, check it out and tell us what you think.

Fez under Time Cafe 380 Lafayette St. (at Great Jones Street) 212-533-2680
Every Thursday Night: Mingus Big Band. Doors Open at 8:30 & 11 pm with sets at 9:30 & 11:30. Cover: $18. Late show is $10 for students with valid ID. Mingus Big Band features the bad boys of New York's big band players.

The Garage 99 7th Ave. So (Just South of W 4th St.) 212-645-0600
An open and spacious restaurant with a gregarious liquor bar / oyster bar. Aspiring jazz groups nightly, usually fronted by a vocalist. No cover. Plenty of outdoor seating in good weather. Sunday Jazz Brunch begins at noon.

Gishen Cafe 2150 5th Ave. (btwn. 131st & 132nd) (212) 283-7699
Jazz jams several nights a week with Friday and Saturday nights typically non jazz DJ party events. Call ahead for schedule updates.

Guggenheim Museum 1071 Fifth Avenue (at 89th Street) (212) 423-3500
Fridays and Saturdays 5 - 8 PM. Worldbeat jazz program. After viewing the exhibits and collections, relax with a cocktail in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed rotunda and enjoy music that reflects both classic jazz and international musical influences. Museum tickets: Adults $12; Students and Seniors (with valid ID) $8; Children under 12 Free; Members Free.

Internet Cafe 82 E 3rd St. (btwn. 1st & 2nd Aves.) 212-614-0747
Set times: Friday & Saturday night sets are at 10 & 11:30 pm; all other nights sets are at 9:30 & 11 pm. The cover remains $5, with no minimum. The most unpretentious and informal straight ahead jazz cafe perhaps in the world. Call ahead for summer schedule.

Iridium 1650 Broadway (at 51st St) 212-582-2121
Top internationally known artists play six day runs, and Les Paul Trio every Monday. Sets: Mon. - Thurs. 8:30 and 10:30. Fri. & Sat 3rd Set at Midnight. Minimum cover charge: $20.00. $10.00 Drink Min.

Jazz Gallery 290 Hudson St. (Corner of Spring) (212) 242-1063
A second floor jazz art and artist showcase. Call ahead for events. Most nights sets begin at 9:00 and 10:30 for a $10 cover charge. Monday's feature Frank Lacy's 14 Piece "Vibe Tribe." A recent series of concerts features duo performances of four hands on one piano. This and other Jazz Gallery performance series are funded in part by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, Presenting Program. Also featured is a Sunday series of concerts on the river aboard the historic ferry "Yankee" moored at Pier 25 directly at the foot of North Moore Street.

Jazz Standard 116 East 27th St (btwn. Lexington and Park Ave South) (212) 576-2232
Closed for renovations.
A finely appointed basement club with 130 seats featuring straight ahead jazz artists. Sets at 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. weekdays; 8:00, 10:30 and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays; and 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. on Sundays. COVER: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, & Sunday $18 + $10 min. Student discount: half price cover on the second set, if not sold out. Friday and Saturday $25 + $10 min. Student discount: half price cover on the midnight set, if not sold out. A street level lounge and restaurant, 27 Standard, also features jazz at with no cover charge, nightly.

Jules 65 St. Marks Pl. (btwn. 1st & 2nd Aves.) 212-477-5560
A friendly, and casual French bistro with some outdoor seating, great food and abundant wine selection, and a deep love of jazz. Jazz nightly starting at 9:00 on weekdays and 11:00 on weekends. No cover. Jean Michel Pilc and other noteworthy artists perform here. Sunday jazz brunch starts at 12:00 and goes till 3:00.

Kavehaz 123 Mercer St. (btwn. Prince & Spring Sts.) 212-343-0612
A Euro-styled coffee house and art gallery in SoHo that has jazz nightly and starting in the afternoon on weekends. They feature straight ahead artistes as well as Latin jazz and flamenco guitar (Sundays from 4-7). Ray Vega performs weekly on Wednesdays with his Boperation. An open blues jam takes place Mondays 9-12. $8 minimum on food or drink.

Knickerbocker Saloon 33 University Place (at 9th St.) 212-228-8490
Opened in 1978. $5.00 minimum on food or drink -- specializing in gigantic steaks. Jazz music presented Wed. through Sat. Often featuring legends with stars as bright as Sir Roland Hanna, Junior Mance, Mulgrew Miller, Billy Drummond, and Earl May. This is the last hold out in an area that was once a Golden Triangle of informal jazz haunts including the venues: The Village Gate, Bradleys and The Cookery.

Knitting Factory 74 Leonard St. (btwn. Broadway & Church St.) (212) 219-3006
This is the granddaddy long legs of "downtown jazz" venues -- featuring a genre bending blend of envelope pushing and utterly deserving acts on several intimate stages throughout the deceptively vast complex. There are too many shows to mention so just go to their web site calendar or call them directly to attain schedule and ticket information.

The Lenox Lounge 288 Lenox Ave. (btwn. 124th & 125th St.) 212-427-0253
Recently renovated to its original 1930's art deco splendor. The Zebra Room in back with its baby grand piano, tiled floors and leather banqueted booths is one of the finest looking jazz spaces in town. Local jazz booked on weekends with a $15 cover charge and 2 drink minimum. The 3 Sets are 10:00, 11:30 and 1:00. Blues and R & B Thursday sets are free to attend with a 2 drink minimum - music from 8:00-12:00. $5 cover and 2 drink minimum for Monday night jazz jam sessions with Roy Campbell and Taz. Doors open at 10:00 PM for first set and jam follows at 11:30.

Metronome: Jazz Lounge 915 Broadway (Corner of 21st St.) 212-505-7400
Music showcased: Wed. to Sat. 7:00 - 11:00. No cover - Enjoy a swanky downtown setting and menu while you enjoy a good mix of the city's talented performers. Find out what night Danny Mixon is playing before booking your reservations.

Parlor Entertainment 555 Edgecombe Ave, #3F (Corner of 160th St.) 212-781-6595
This is the essence of Harlem jazz -- a rite of passage for all jazz fans and musicians. Get buzzed up to Apt. #3F, Marjorie, Ray, and Rudel welcome you into their home every! Saturday and Sunday afternoon at 4:00 to enjoy two sets of standards and original music provided by a rotating roster of jazz legends and local talent. Marjorie's living room is absolutely the warmest, most spirited 500 square feet in all New York. No cover; tip jar; free cookies and punch.

Red Blazer 32 W 37th St. (btwn. 5th & 6th) 212-947-8940
M-Th four sets starting at 7 pm. Fri-Sat 9 pm - 12:30. Mondays they have trios, and the bands get larger through Saturday. The focus is swing music for your dancing pleasure, and vocalists accompany each night. $16 covers three courses, plus coffee or tea.

Showmans 375 West 125th Street (East of Morningside Ave.) 212-864-8941
Next door to the down-home, soul food mecca: M & G Diner
M - Th Sets: 8:30, 10, 11:30. Friday and Saturday Sets: 10:30, 12:30, 2:30. Two drink minimum per set. Jazz tap dancing on Thursdays. A beautiful blending of the genteel with the earthy soul histories of Harlem can be found in this well appointed local showcase, which has been home to the greats (e.g. Sara Vaughan, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Eartha Kitt) since 1942. (In its current location since August of 1998). A Hammond B-3 organ graces the stage, and is put to good use by Danny Mixon -- check the schedule. Soul food appetizers are always available for the asking

Smalls 183 West 10th Street (at 7th Avenue) 212-929-7565
Open: 10 pm - 8 am. Smalls has at least 3 bands nightly. 10 hrs. of jazz on weekdays, 12 hrs of jazz on friday, saturday and sunday. Cover just $10. Stay as long as you like. Self serve free non-alcoholic beverages at the bar or bring your own. Early bird free show on Saturdays at 7:30. Keep an eye out for regular sax phenom, Myron Walden.

Smoke 2751 Broadway (at 106th St) 212-864-6662
Picking up where Augie's (its forerunner) left off, Smoke has developed into a hip and casually swank jazz joint with the chops and personalities to recommend it to serious fans of NY jazz. Sets at 9, 11, 12:30. Bar closes at 4:00. $10 drink tickets serve as the cover charge. Big name acts could cost quite a bit more, and reservations are a must on those special occasions. Monday and Thursday night jam sessions encourages vocalists and players to step up. 10:00pm Monday Jam Session hosted by John Farnsworth & special guests. Late Night Thursday Jam Session hosted by Joel Frahm - >From 1:30 am until 4 am.

Sofia's 221 W. 46th St. (btwn. 8th Ave. & Broadway) (212) 719-5799
This is the Italian restaurant at the 1931 Edison Hotel which features jazz music in its bar Tuesdays - Saturdays 7:00 P.M. to 12:00. Call ahead for schedule. No Cover.

St. Nick's Pub 773 St. Nicholas Blvd. (Corner of 149th St.) 212-283-9728
Best Monday night jam session in the city. The scene gets kicking at midnight. There is a tourist scene prior to the Monday jam with Patience Higgins and the Sugar Hill Jazz Quartet driving the festivities beginning at 9:30. For the last half dozen years, Friday nights have belonged to the Bill Saxton Trio...highly recommended! Thursday features the club's charming singing bartender, Arlene Talley. Guest artists frequently stop by to sit in. Among them: James Carter, Olu Dara, Savion Glover, Reggie Workman, Wynton Marsalis, Laurel Watson, Etta Jones, even Stevie and Aisha Wonder.

Sweet Basil 88 Seventh Ave. (btwn. Bleecker and Grove) 212-242-1785
Closed April 30, 2001
Since 1975. Keep a look out for their replacement: Sweet Rhythms: opening to be announced.

Swing 46 349 W. 46th Street (btwn. 8th & 9th Aves.) 212-262-9554
Swing dance & supper club. Featuring Live Bands - Swing & Jump Blues 7 Nights a week. Each night there is a dance lesson at 9:15 pm followed by a live swing band. Sunday - Wednesday the ticket price is $7. Thursday - Saturday it's $12. Suggested dress code - no jeans or sneakers and Jackets are not required. Sundays have featured early evening tap classes: Legendary hoofer, Buster Brown's "Crazy Tap Jam," 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

Tonic 107 Norfolk St (btwn. Delancey & Rivington) 212-358-7501
Sets vary beginning either 8:00 or 10:00 for $10. A midnight show might cost $5. Happily, no pretensions past those usually associated with the avant-garde. Down below there can be found a dj spinning in the Subtonic Lounge Thurs.- Sats. Sunday brunch features the klezmer band of the week. This is the one club to visit if you want to mix an earthy community vibe with a good night of esoteric sounds.

Torch 137 Ludlow St. (btwn. Stanton & Rivington Sts.) 212-228-5151
Come for dinner or drinks. No cover. Stylish dress is encouraged by this trendy hideaway with a penchant for charismatic vocalists who hope to put you in mind of a time long ago and far away. Open Sun - Thurs. from 6:00 P.M. - 2:00 A.M.; and on the weekend till 4:00 A.M. Chet Bakerish, Todd Londigan will impress you with his tap shoes, when he's not on tour with The Flying Neutrinos.

Village Vanguard 178 Seventh Ave. (near 11th St.) 212-255-4037
Sets: Sunday - Thursday 9:30 and 11:30, Friday and Saturday 9:30, 11:30, and 1:30. Monday nights, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, established by Thad Jones and Mel Lewis over 33 years ago continues their big band tradition. Sunday - Thursday: $25.00 at the door (includes $15.00 admission plus a $10.00 drink minimum). On Friday and Saturday: $30.00 at the door (includes $20.00 admission plus a $10.00 drink minimum). The Vanguard opened its doors in 1935 and is the archetypal Greenwich Village jazz club which has the right vibes and an excellent booking policy. Catch pianist Tommy Flanagan here for a perfect jazz night out.

Zinc Bar 82 West 3rd Street (btw Thompson & Sullivan) 212-477-8337
Open 7 days, 6pm-2:30am on weeknights, and till 3am on weekends. $5 cover and a one drink min. Weekly theme nights dominate the schedule. Monday showcases the guitar trio of Ron Affif at 8:00 and 9:00. Featured bands play 3 sets Mon. -Thurs. at 10:30, 12, and 2:00. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are jazz nights, while Thursdays are Latin, Fridays are African and Saturdays are Brazilian Bossa Nova. Fri. and Sat. the first set starts at 11. Sundays bring poetry readings at 6:30, and Brazilian Samba groups into the night. A lounge exists in back for your smoky comfort.

List maintained by Gordon Polatnick: Gordon Polatnick moved back to New York City in 1995 and was immediately bitten by the jazz bug. Soon after, he developed West Miles Disease and has been scratching that itch all over town in search of improvisational healing. Gordon invites the curious jazz novice and the aficionado to share in his thrill seeking adventures from the Village to Harlem, every night of the week.

Big Apple Jazz Tours