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Groovy! Black-Owned Jazz Clubs Near You

Grownup music, cocktails and good friends is the recipe for a perfect night out.

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Jazz singer performing at jazz club
Kevin Watkins
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Whether you’re looking to unwind from a long week, hang out with your girls or have a date night with your boo, hitting up a jazz spot might be the move. Why not support a Black-owned club? After all, Black people were key creators and innovators of the blue notes, syncopation, swing, call-and-response, polyrhythms and improvisation we enjoy as what’s been termed the United States’ first original art form. If you’re interested in listening to some live grooves at a lounge near you, check out some of these fun venues around the country. You’ll find a mix of experiences as eclectic as jazz itself, from luxe lounges to low-key nightspots. And whether you like your vibes with a side of gourmet cuisine or down-home Southern cooking and paired with a classic or specialty cocktail, be sure to drop in for a hoppin’ good time.  

Interior of jazz club
Owner, Thea Jeffers of Breezy Jazz House & Restaurant, #1 jazz house in Jacksonville.
Joyanne Panton

Breezy Jazz House, Jacksonville, Florida

High-end jazz lounge in the heart of downtown Jacksonville with fine food and notable talent
Owner: Interior designer Thea Jeffers
Food and Drink: Upscale cuisine including steak and seafood as well as signature cocktails and a long list of spirits, wine and beer
When to Go: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Check their website for performers and times.

Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club, New Orleans

Creole cuisine and live jazz
Owner: Paul Sylvester Jr. named the club after his mother, Lorraine, who opened a restaurant at that location in 1975.
Food and Drink: Cocktails and traditional cuisine, including gumbo, crawfish cakes and blackened catfish, along with unique Cajun-inspired small plates and vegan offerings
When to Go: Check their website for calendar of performances.

Cafe 4212, Houston

Busy and lively jazz club with indoor and outdoor spaces hosting Houston’s top jazz acts
Owner: Entrepreneur/restaurateur Walter Strickland
Food and Drink: A short, casual menu of specialty drinks, appetizers and mains such as sliders, chicken wings and fried fish
When to Go: Check their Instagram page for jazz night dates and performances as well as day events, DJ nights and Sunday Creole brunch.
Instagram: @theofficialcafe4212htx

Blues Boulevard Jazz, Greenville, South Carolina

Premiere, newly designed and contemporary jazz lounge in downtown Greenville
Owners: Restaurant consultants Freddy Foster and Julius Tolbert, also owners of Blues Boulevard Spartanburg, South Carolina
Food and Drink: Handheld foods, finger foods, soups, salads and small plates. In addition to signature cocktails, they offer beer, wine, cognac, brandy and Scotch.
When to Go: Live acts Wednesdays through Saturdays. Check their website for times.

Pip’s on La Brea, Los Angeles

They’ve been bringing jazz music to L.A. for 12 years, along with an eclectic menu and great ambiance with their newly renovated outdoor patio.
Owner: Music events producer Derrick Pipkin
Food and Drink: Casual menu with gourmet pizzas and salads as well as lamb and seafood
When to Go: Live music nightly. Closed Mondays. Reservations recommended.

Interior of a jazz club
Courtesy of St James Live ATL

St. James Live, Atlanta

Dramatic decor and lighting, lively atmosphere and an upscale menu
Owners: Food and music lovers Ron and Evelyn St. James, along with their daughter, Tiffany
Food and Drink: Upscale cuisine including lamb chops, barbecue and seafood, as well as classic cocktails
When to Go: Live music Thursdays through Sundays. Select shows Mondays through Wednesdays. Check their website for details and dress code.

Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, Detroit

Historic 89-year-old jazz club with entertainment nightly
Owners: Entrepreneur Hugh Smith and Eric J. Whitaker
Food and Drink: Cocktails and down-home-style soul food offerings like fried chicken, fish, short ribs and fried pork chops 
When to Go: Check their Facebook page for performances.

Interior of jazz club
Kevin Watkins

Nostalgia Wine & Jazz Lounge, Cincinnati

Intimate jazz lounge featuring traditional and contemporary jazz and soul in the heart of Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, also known as “OTR”
Owner: Founder Tammie Scott
Food and Drink: Light bites like cheese boards and charcuterie, plus a long list of classic cocktails as well as wine and beer
When to Go: Check their website for performances.

Interior of jazz club
Courtesy of Room 623

Room 623, Harlem, New York City

An art deco modern-day speakeasy. Look for the blue light.
Owner: Restaurateur Adriane Ferguson
Food and Drink: Handcrafted artisanal cocktails, fried catfish, savory wings, shrimp guacamole and mac ’n’ cheese.
When to Go: Live music Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays

Minton’s Playhouse, Harlem, New York City

Considered the birthplace of bebop, the iconic club is one of the oldest in the country and has played an important role in jazz history since opening in 1938.
Owner: Richard Parsons, former CEO of Time Warner
Food and Drink: A high-end menu including prime rib, rib eye and seafood, and an extensive list of cocktails
When to Go: Reopening after a winter break on March 1. Check their website for updates.

Follow Article Topics: Culture-&-Style