jazz bars new york

7 Of The Best Jazz Bars In New York City

The Big Apple has been wowing tourists and locals alike with its incredible jazz since the birth of the ‘Harlem stride’ in the ’20s. Nearly 100 years later, New York City is still one of the best places in the world for jazz. If you’re heading to the bustling city, check out these seven jazz bars in New York…

Best Jazz Bars In New York CityHow do these rankings work?

1. Blue Note

Tucked away in Greenwich Village, Blue Note lays claim to being “the jazz capital of the world”. At Blue Note, you’ll find everything from local artists to more well-known names like Kenny G, Chick Corea and McCoy Tyner. The atmosphere is comfortable and laidback with close-set tables and elegant curtain backdrops on the stage.

2. Cornelia Street Cafe

West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe feels like stepping back in time. Their Parisian bistro patio and quaint couples tables are only part of the charm. Head downstairs to their basement for some of the cities best jazz performances. When they aren’t shaking the house with live jazz, they put on some pretty great cabarets.

3. Birdland

Standing proud on world-famous Times Square, you’ll find Birdland. Originally opening in 1948 on Broadway, it’s had some of the greats such as Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald and Bud Powell. You can’t miss a chance to enjoy a few sets at this historic jazz bar in NYC.

4. Smalls

Head to Smalls if you are looking for a no-frills authentic basement experience. Unlike most of the swanky club environments that jazz is played in, Smalls is a true ‘hole-in-the-wall’ find. Take your pick from their many sets of retro, hardbop and contemporary jazz.

5. Nublu Classic

East Village’s Nublu Classic can be found only by a small, unassuming blue light outside. However, once inside, the entire club is bursting with unique energy and nonstop piano rifts. At this experimental club, you’ll find everything from Puerto Rican boogaloo to old-school jazz.

6. Smoke Jazz & Supper Club

Plush sofas, candlelit tables and luxurious carpets make Smoke Jazz & Supper Club feel like a Gatsby fave. This Upper West Side favourite hosts everything from locally loved musicians to more international names. Best part? They play seven nights a week.

7. Village Vanguard

This West Village staple has been playing small but mighty shows for over 80 years. Vanguard Jazz Orchestra has been a Monday night regular for the past 50 of those years. Great drinks, intimate atmosphere and some of NYC’s best jazz make Village Vanguard a must when in the Big Apple. Kick back with an old fashioned and take in the sounds of the greats.

Melanie Hamilton

Melanie is an avid traveller with a passion for history and global foods. She is currently based in Tbilisi, Georgia where most of her time is occupied with qvevri wine and Soviet history. Having do-si-do'd her way across Europe and Latin America, she's enjoyed some of the world's most exciting places firsthand and can't wait to tell you about them.

View stories