As one of the most prominent jazz capitals of the world (we might be biased), New York is brimming with not only some of the world’s finest musicians, but some of the most dynamic venues on the scene as well. We’ve rounded up our absolute favorite destinations with the total package: great vibe, standout food and drink, celeb cameos, and most importantly, the city’s best in live music. Because one's live jazz repertoire should not be limited to the Village.
Our love affair with this Midtown staple is long-standing. We’re not sure if it’s the building’s storied history (built in 1905 as a clubhouse for America’s first professional theater club/thespian society, The Lambs) or Chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s killer modern American fare, but either way, this bi-level spot serves as the perfect setting for live jazz. Entertainment’s late greats have spent many an evening in the “grill room,” (we’re talking the likes of Fred Astaire, John Barrymore, Charlie Chaplin, Spencer Tracy, and more), adding a special allure to the old-school New York feel -- pull up a chair upstairs at The Bar at The Lambs Club on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, or revel in the daytime glory during Sunday’s weekly jazz brunch.
Sprawling iconic murals set the mood at Café Carlyle thanks to French artist Marcel Vertès, best known for his work on the 1952 film Moulin Rouge -- the perfect backdrop for a good live jazz session. Music has been an essential part of The Carlyle since 1955, its crowd known to include a handful of heavy-hitters on the roster of regulars, making this Upper East Side haunt a legend in the world of classic New York. Catch Woody Allen & the Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band on Mondays and Saturdays now through June 14th, 2016 along with several other noteworthy names coming up on the calendar -- check out the full lineup here.
This unassuming space is tucked away on a quiet Chinatown cul-de-sac, concealed by a large 200-year-old wooden door and modeled after the traditional old-school European apothecary. Gold leaf ceilings, glowing sconces, and richly colored furniture pieces transform the former opium den (yes, really), setting the scene for Apotheke’s 250-cocktail offering and a weekly lineup of local jazz groups for a truly off-the-beaten-path live music experience. Look forward to performances on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays, all served with a side of categorical prescription cocktails for any ailment.
CLUB ROOM AT SOHO GRAND/DJANGO AT THE ROXY
In a perfect collision of old and new, SoHo Grand’s Club Room meshes downtown style with the New York sophistication of a bygone era. This was a toss-up between the SoHo Grand’s sister hotel, The Roxy, which recently underwent an identity revamp to reveal not only its new name (formerly the TriBeCa Grand), but also a brand new classic jazz haunt in the cellar featuring two bars, open dining space, and of course, a stage for live performances. Check out SoHo Grand’s performance calendar here, or head to Django at The Roxy Wednesday through Saturday from 8pm onward to catch a show.
Join Little Branch’s suspender barkeeps for a killer Prohibition-era cocktail in the company of live jazz performances every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Though that leaves Fridays and Saturdays without the pleasure of a live band, this also means two extra seats in the intimate space -- at the piano if the staff is feeling lenient. Don’t miss the door on the way in.