Lifestyle

The 15 Best Places to Hear Live Jazz in NYC

Published On 07/20/2015 Published On 07/20/2015
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1. Cafe Carlyle 35 E 76th St, New York, NY 10021 (Upper East Side)

Housed inside the Carlyle Hotel, this jazz institution has long been known for hosting famous musicians like George Feyer and Bobby Short. While the fare is standard American, the atmosphere is anything but typical, with music murals covering the walls, and tuxedoed waiters catering to all your imbibing needs.

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2. Vodou Bar 95 Halsey St, Brooklyn, NY 11216 (Bed Stuy)

This bar and lounge is sometimes a popular (and crowded) late night DJ spot, but sometimes they switch that out in favor of live jazz. On those nights, it is usually occupied by musicians and locals, which is a pretty good sign of quality.

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3. Village Vanguard 178 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014 (Greenwich Village)

Opened in 1935, this New York jazz institution has played host to the likes of Woody Guthrie and Miles Davis, and continues to be frequented by the best names in folk, blues, and jazz. Though The Vanguard -- as it's locally known -- doesn't serve food, a back bar serves up cocktails to relax you into an evening of soul and saxophone.

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4. The Fifth Estate 506 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (Park Slope)

The laid-back vibe of this Park Slope bar make it a comfortable place to hang out and catch some live music. The reasonable prices extend from the cover charge to the drinks, with shot specials from Monday-Friday.

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5. Smalls Jazz Club 183 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014 (West Village)

Waiting for an hour in line off a busy Greenwich Village corner might not sound ideal, but once inside this intimate jazz club, you'll be glad you were patient. Even if you know nothing about jazz, you'll appreciate the dimly lit, below-ground space, and, depending on the night, you can catch everyone from young, local musicians to established jazz greats like Wynton Marsalis.

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6. Smoke Jazz & Supper Club 2751 Broadway, New York, NY 10025 (Upper West Side)

The name might say Jazz & Supper, but what you'll really want to check out is Jazz & Brunch. We're talking chicken & waffles and jazz trios every Sunday from 11am - 4pm

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7. Mezzrow 163 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014 (West Village)

This intimate, relaxed lounge in the West Village showcases live jazz musicians in a basement-level space. You don't need to reserve a seat for the performances, but you may want to as Mezzrow only seats around 30 at its marble tabletops. Order drinks and simple bites from the Prohibition-era mahogany bar and settle into a seat for unamplified music, mainly from piano and bass duos. The place is run by musicians for musicians, and you're sure to get an old-school jazz experience.

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8. Arthur's Tavern 57 Grove St, New York, NY 10014 (West Village)

This West Village jazz club has been bustling since it first opened in the 1930s. There’s no cover but there is a two-drink minimum, so settle in at the long wooden bar and get ready for a night of live music that usually varies between jazz, blues, and New Orleans-style Dixieland.

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9. Swing 46 349 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036 (Hells Kitchen)

Just for paying the $15 cover charge, you can spend the whole night dancing away. And if you're not a confident dancer, plan to get there just in time for the 9pm dance lesson -- it's free with entry.

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10. Jazz Standard 111 E 27th St, New York, NY 10016 (Flatiron)

Good music and good food (courtesy of Blue Smoke BBQ) characterize this Flatiron jazz venue, which is one of the biggest in the city.

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11. St. Mazie 345 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Equal parts restaurant and bar, St. Mazie brings a New Orleans vibe to Brooklyn with oysters, bourbon cocktails, and live jazz. The downstairs supper club serves upscale comfort food among reclaimed wood accents and tea lights, and the overgrown garden out back is perfect for enjoying drinks and music -- particularly on Flamenco Fridays.

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12. The 55 Bar 55 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014 (West Village)

This basement bar and music club is wholeheartedly devoted to showcasing the best jazz and blues in the city. It's a charming Prohibition-era dive bar hosting two live shows a night, seven days a week. The early show doesn't have a cover charge, but the late show will cost you $10 -- which is modest in comparison to other jazz bars in the city.

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13. Mona's 224 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009 (Alphabet City)

The younger crowd at this Alphabet City dive gets mixed in with some older folks on Tuesday nights, when the house band plays from 11pm - 3am.

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14. Korzo 667 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (Park Slope)

This modern restaurant serves European style comfort foods and burgers just like Korzo Haus, and brings in eclectic, contemporary, music acts on Tuesday nights.

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15. Bill's Place 148 W 133rd St, New York, NY 10030 (Harlem)

Since getting its start in the Prohibition, this Harlem brownstone basement has become a popular jazz spot. The tiny space is now BYOB, and reservations are probably a good call.

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