Ever since we got an Alexa Dot, we pretty much have music streaming through our apartment at all times. And the most frequented station? All Jazz. Although we certainly don’t have much knowledge in terms of music history when it comes to the stuff, all three of us just love bopping around to the beats–it elevates an otherwise boring midweek dinner, makes cleanup time much more fun, provides a backdrop for afternoon art projects and story times, and just generally sets a good tone for the day.
Since our new little infatuation with jazz, I decided to dig into the best spots to listen to it in Midtown Manhattan, live! Below I’ve corralled a list for you. They all take advanced reservations, so I would suggest taking advantage of that! Happy listening!
Located on 52nd between 2nd and 3rd is Club Bonafide, which brings out live music every night of the week. While a glimpse through their calendar shows that most shows are jazz, just double check before heading out because there’s an occasional comedy show thrown in there. There’s a few shows per evening, and cover charge is between $15 and $20. The lineup can be found here.
The Lambs Club
Located on 44th between 6th and Broadway is The Lambs Club. Every Wednesday and Friday they have live jazz starting at 7pm. There is no cover, and you can enjoy high end cocktails, light bites, and even dinner. See their full calendar here.
Located on 53rd between 2nd and 3rd, you’ll find Tomi Jazz. They have live music every night of the week, and Sunday through Thursday there is no cover charge (just a $10 drink/food minimum), and Friday and Saturday there is a $10 cover per set and $10 food and drink minimum. Their online calendar can be accessed here.
Located on 44th between 8th and 9th is Birdland. Live jazz floats out of the air here every night of the week, but be prepared to pay a bit of a hefty cover. Depending on the performer and your seating, you’re looking at between $25 and $50 for cover, plus a $10 food and drink minimum. Get the whole lineup here.
Fine And Rare
Located on 37th between Madison and 5th is Fine and Rare. They make it clear on their website that the jazz is supposed to enhance your experience, not be your experience, so it’s a-ok to continue talking and enjoying your meal and evening out. They have music every evening of the week, and there is no cover (but of course be prepared to drink or nibble). Their calendar can be accessed here.
Located in the Time Warner Building at Columbus Circle, you’ll find Dizzy’s Coca Cola Club. This spot is great in terms of talent and THE VIEW. You’ll get a stunning look over Manhattan and Central Park right behind where the jazz performers are playing, looking through the floor to ceiling windows. Stunning! There is music every evening of the week, and the ticket costs vary wildly varying on who is performing, ranging from $20 to $45 with a $10 food/beverage minimum. However, if you’re looking for a steal, consider dropping by one of their Late Night Sessions (11:15pm–no reservation needed). You’ll only have a $5 cover charge Tuesday-Wednesday, $10 Thursday-Friday, and $20 Saturday. (Even steeper discounts if you have a Student ID!) The full calendar is here.
Located on 56th between 6th and 7th is the Carnegie Club. While this definitely holds as one of my favorite places to go out in NYC, let me be clear that it is a cigar club, so if you have asthma or any kind of negative reaction to smoky places, DON’T even consider it…you’ll be coughing up a lung all night. That aside, they have live music throughout the week, often with no cover. Although their famous Frank Sinatra impersonator always has a $30 cover, so make sure to check their Facebook page (updated regularly) to get the skinny on who’s performing and if there’s cover or not, accessed here.
Before You Go
A few tips before you go…while not all of the jazz clubs have a formal dress code listed on their website, I find that it’s best to “dress to impress” here. This doesn’t mean a black tie and evening gown by any means, but a fun cocktail dress and bow tie could certainly be appropriate. Channel the jazz clubs of the 40’s, and dress in the way you’d imagine the patrons of yore to dress, it will make the experience all the more fun!;-)
Also, different clubs have different policies when it comes to conversing during the performances. I was at the Carnegie Club last year listening to a Frank Sinatra impersonator and was asked to “keep my voice down” during the show–yikes! Like, I thought it was a bar, right?! This definitely isn’t the case in all jazz clubs though, so just take a look around at what other patrons are doing or ask the waiter or bartender if you have any doubts or questions.
I would love to keep adding to my list! Any Midtown jazz spots I left out? Or jazz clubs in other parts of the city you love? Share below!