Jazz Bars in London

If you’ve decided to spend a night soaking up some of London’s best jazz…

…it’s not the sort of thing you want to improvise.

So instead, peruse the following list of tried-and-tested jazz bars in London, from longstanding classics to venues off the beaten track, order yourself an Old Fashioned, and enjoy the music, safe in the knowledge that you’re in one of the best…

Ronnie Scott’s | Soho

Ronnie Scott's Jazz Bar London

One of London’s longest-standing institutions; and with good reason. It was the first British club to ever host American bands, and over the past 60 years it’s welcomed greats including Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Sarah Vaughn and, er, Jeff Goldblum. Nowadays it continues to pull in both big names and excessively talented rising stars, who play in evening and late-night shows, as well as upstairs in the more relaxed bar (with a dancefloor) and during the club’s famous Sunday Jazz Lunches. READ MORE | SEE WHAT’S ON

Details: 47 Frith StreetW1D 4HT Every Night Individually ticketed

Jazzlive at The Crypt | Camberwell

On Friday nights, the crypts below St. Giles’ Church in Camberwell start hopping with the sound of jazz, courtesy of some of the country’s best live musicians. It’s an atmospheric setting (the church above was built by Sir George Gilbert Scott, who also designed the gothic hotel at St. Pancras), with a very reasonably priced bar open ’till late. SEE WHAT’S ON

Details: St Giles Church, Camberwell Church Street, London, SE5 8RB Fridays from 8pm Individually ticketed

Kansas Smitty’s | London Fields

Kansas Smittys London jazz bars

You’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. You’re in Kansas Smitty’s, which means bourbon juleps; an underground, New Orleans-style atmosphere; and some of the best jazz musicians in town. And considering the whole place is run by a band itself, they should know. READ MORE | SEE WHAT’S ON

Details: Underneath ‘Off Broadway’, 63 Broadway Market, E8 4PH Tues-Sun evenings | Individually ticketed

Brilliant Corners | Dalston

Brilliant Corners jazz bars London

Inspired by a Japanese izakaya (a relaxed bar serving hot snacks), Brilliant Corners is packed out every night with people enjoying gyoza and vermouth & sodas to a soundtrack of live music and interesting DJ sets. Their Played Twice music night involves a seated playback of a classic jazz record, followed by a live interpretation by top-notch musicians, and it’s magical. READ MORE

Details: 470 Kingsland Road, London E8 4AE Most nights – check ahead for jazz performers

Nightjar | Old Street

Nightjar London jazz club

London’s paragon of the vintage speakeasy, sequestered away by the Old Street roundabout. Locate an almost unmarked wooden door, descend the stairs beyond it, and settle in for award-winning cocktails, flickering candlelight and nightly live jazz running the gamut from gypsy swing to NOLA blues. READ MORE | SEE WHAT’S ON

Details: 129 City Road, EC1V 1JB Every Night | Around £4 if staying on, £5 on the door

Servant Jazz Quarters | Dalston

Servant Jazz Quarters London

A glorious, bi-level space with a monochrome, art deco-styled bar upstairs (serving Mezcal Old Fashioneds, Rye Slings and French 75s), and a cosy downstairs performance space where artists serve up everything from classic blues to alt soul. READ MORESEE WHAT’S ON

Details: 10a Bradbury Street, N16 8JN Most weeknights | Ticket price varies

Le Quecumbar | Battersea

Le Quecumbar jazz bars London

A love letter to the music of Django Reinhardt, Le Quecumbar is a fairylit cavern filled with candlelit nooks, cascading greenery and nightly hot club jazz. It’s about as far from a slicked-up, corporate cut-out as they come, so expect leisurely service, hearty French home cooking and an eclectic crowd. READ MORE | SEE WHAT’S ON

Details: 42-44 Battersea High Street, SW11 3HX | Every night except Weds | Ticketed Sun/Mon, Free Tues, Thurs-Sat free before 8pm, £6 after. Note: £25pp minimum spend.

606 Club | Chelsea

606 Club chelsea jazz bar London

606 has been going strong for over 40 years, and is focussed on showcasing British talent. Head through the unremarkable-looking archway just off the Kings Road, and you’ll find yourself enveloped in warm interiors set with elegant tables and chairs, a blackboard with today’s menu scrawled on it, and a stage area in the thick of it all, where you’ll find musicians playing nightly sets of latin, jazz and blues. READ MORESEE WHAT’S ON

Details: 90 Lots Road, SW10 0QD Currently Thurs-Sun only £10-12 Sun-Thurs, £14 Fri/Sat

Oliver’s Jazz Bar | Greenwich

Olivers Jazz Bar London

The kind of place you’d like to fortuitously stumble upon on a romantic post-dinner stroll with your date, Oliver’s pairs up-and-coming jazz musicians with unpretentious, cosy red interiors; candlelit tables; old Bentwood chairs and a roaring fire in the winter months. SEE WHAT’S ON

Details: 9 Nevada Street, SE10 9JLThree times a week £5/£8 Fri & Sat

Ruby’s Bar | Dalston

Ruby's Dalston Bar

A bijou little cocktail bar hidden underneath an old cinema sign in Dalston. Ruby’s is home to upbeat live jazz and swing music most nights, with their resident jazz trio on the keys early in the week, and guest performers popping by on weekends. It’s intimate, thoroughly vintage in feel and perfect for late-night dancing and cocktails. READ MORESEE WHAT’S ON

Details: 76 Stoke Newington Road, N16 7XB Tuesdays-Saturdays from 10pm Free/£3 surcharge on Fri & Sat. Booking a table highly recommended

Boisdale | Central & East London

Boisdale live jazz London

Every one of Boisdale’s four resplendent restaurants specialises in Scottish whisky, cigars, and roistering live jazz from a considered line-up of hand-picked house musicians and singers. Ranging from American songbook classics to French jazz, Ella Fitzgerald to Otis Redding – and the occasional appearance from Boisdale’s jazz patron, Jools Holland – there’s a real mix on offer, with great food to boot. SEE WHAT’S ON

Details: Across London | Nightly

Dalston Jazz Club | Dalston

Dalston Jazz Bar

Dalston Jazz Club is putting jazz back on the menu… alongside buffalo meat balls and the occasional crocodile. A real home-spun eatery, whose walls are lined with old transport posters and eclectic decor, it’s the charmingly rough-around-the-edges neighbour to Servant Jazz Quarters a few doors down. READ MORE

Details: 4 Bradbury Street, N16 8JN Fri & Sat evenings

Hidden Jazz Club | Across London

Hidden Jazz Club London

An itinerant, shifting jazz collective who takeover unusual spaces – from shipping container villages to tunnels beneath railway stations – and fill them with award-winning jazz musicians from around the world for your listening pleasure. SEE WHAT’S ON

Details: Secret Locations Ticket prices vary, book ahead

Vortex | Dalston

Vortex jazz bar London

Dalston, ironically, is anything but a jazz vortex. Rubbing shoulders with both Servant Jazz Club and Dalston Jazz Club, Vortex has been recognised as one of the top venues in the world, thanks to its personally programmed roster of both established and emerging artists. Going strong for over 25 years, its current home in Gillett Square has a relaxed bar and restaurant alongside the performance space, perfect for a couple of pre-gig shumai dumplings. Or ten. SEE WHAT’S ON

Details: 11 Gillett Square, N16 8AZ | Every night £10-15, book ahead

The Crazy Coqs | Soho

Crazy Coqs jazz bar London

Nestled within the 30s subterranean time warp that is Brasserie Zédel, The Crazy Coqs is an elegant art deco spot with just a smattering of candlelit tables. Book ahead, and you’ll be escorted to yours for a night of performance with unparalleled intimacy – plus, cocktails brought to your table. READ MORE | SEE WHAT’S ON

Details: 20 Sherwood Street, W1F 7ED Every night | Individually ticketed

Toulouse Lautrec | Kennington

Toulouse Lautrec jazz bar

This three storey temple to good food and good music gets the thumbs up from food critic and jazz aficionado, Jay Rayner. Either in their first floor dining room with its glossy white grand piano, or upstairs in their secretive attic-like space, you’ll find romantic cabaret-style seating and top jazz bands and singers playing seven nights a week. SEE WHAT’S ON

Details: 140 Newington Butts, SE11 4RN Every night Free entry Mon-Thurs, Fri-Sun free when dining, or £10pp cover charge.

Jazz Café | Camden

Jazz Cafe Camden

A classic for a reason. In the (relatively spacious) surrounds of a former Barclays bank, you’ll bop along to live bands on the dramatically lit dancefloor, or take a pew on the mezzanine dining level for steak and cocktails, any night of the week. In its 30+ years, the Jazz Café’s played host to big names from Pharoah Sanders to Amy Winehouse, and still boasts one of the widest-ranging live music programmes in London. READ MORE | SEE WHAT’S ON

Details: 5 Parkway, NW1 7PG | Every night Ticketed events

Pizza Express | Soho

Pizza Express Live jazz bar London

Turns out, Pizza Express can count itself among the upper crust of London’s jazz scene. Over the past 40 years this Soho branch has hosted the likes of Norah Jones, Gregory Porter and Rick Wakeman, and remains a dependable spot for atmospheric surroundings, top quality jazz, and a doughball dish that, frankly, is hard to beat. SEE WHAT’S ON

Details: 10 Dean Street, W1D 3RW Every night From £15, book ahead


Last Updated: 28th December 2020 | Main image: Hidden Jazz Club


After more than just pure jazz? Check out the Best London Restaurants With Live Music

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