5 Hot Spots for Jazz in NYC

In the mood for some brass and woodwinds? You’re in luck: New York is a jazz mecca, and you can find a spot to listen to great live bands every night. Here are five of the hottest places to hear them.

Birdland

Address: 315 West 44th Street New York, NY 10036

Cover charge: $20-50 plus $10 minimum food and drinks

Charlie Parker (“Bird”) was the original Birdland headliner in 1949, when the club was located on Broadway. It also became home to the Count Basie Orchestra and a host of other jazz legends, and remains a place to see big-name acts today at its home in the Theatre District. There’s a full menu of food and alcohol, with no age restrictions on entry.

Smalls Jazz Club

Address: 183 West 10th Street New York, NY 10014

Cover charge: $10-20

As its name implies, Smalls is… small! It’s an intimate bar setting in Greenwich Village with a focus on the music. Two shows during the week (starting at 7:30), three shows on weekends (starting at 4:30), followed by after-hours jam sessions every night that run until 4am. No food.

The Village Vanguard

Address: 178 7th Avenue South New York, NY 10014

Cover charge: Usually $30 plus a one-drink minimum

If you’re looking for an authentic jazz club experience, don’t miss this one in Greenwich Village. The 16-piece Vanguard Jazz Orchestra plays two sets here every Monday night, and has been doing so for 50 years. Other world-class acts round out the week. Seating is limited and lines can be long; you can make reservations in advance for most shows. Quiet is enforced during performances. No food.

Smoke Jazz & Supper Club

Address: 2751 Broadway New York, NY 10025

Cover charge: $9-45 plus varying minimums for food and drinks (prix fixe menu is $38)

If you’re looking for an American bistro candlelit dinner in an intimate space with great acoustics and terrific musicians every night of the week, Smoke may be your spot. Renovated from the former Augie’s Jazz Bar in 1999, it can get crowded, so reservations are recommended. You’re expected not to talk during performances.

Jazz Standard

Address: 116 East 27th Street New York, NY 10016

Cover charge: $25-35, no food or drink minimum. Discounts for students and military members.

One of the biggest jazz clubs in the city, Jazz Standard offers Southern cuisine and BBQ along with their mix of well-known acts and up-and-comers. No age restrictions for entrance and no dress code. Monday nights are “Mingus Mondays,” celebrating the music of Charles Mingus.

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