Planted in Dalston’s jazz micro-district alongside Vortex and Servant Jazz Quarters, Dalston Jazz Bar is a down-at-heel jazz joint; the kind of place you could walk straight past – were it not for the raucous trumpet blasting out of the door.
There’s a smattering of outdoor seating, and inside the place is usually rammed, with multiple people crammed around tables, a live band wedged into the corner, and servers weaving through the paths between them bearing steaming hot plates of food.
Speaking of which – you can’t order those. Instead, a fleet of dishes appear continuously at your table until you say stop. They change on the daily, go heavy on the seafood and are really quite delicious – but if you’re a veggie, you can order in advance and they’ll rustle up something else for you.
Looks like it’s not just the musicians who are improvising.
A polished, speakeasy-style jazz club this is not – it’s more like being crammed into a living room where the neighbours have popped round to serenade you with live music. But with a good bottle of wine it makes for an intimate jazz setting with an unpretentious, authentic feel, where the musicians are sat feet away from you.
As the set draws to a close, the tables are pushed aside (whether you’ve finished eating or not), the chef hangs up his apron and hits the DJ decks. They don’t take requests and the music could be anything from reggae to pop on any given night, but it’s as convivial a night out as you could ever hope for.
Just don’t go hoping for anything other than what the night brings.
NOTE: Dalston Jazz Bar is open Thursday, Friday & Saturday nights. The food is served on a pay-what-you-want basis, with a base donation of £20pp for 3 courses. You can book a table HERE.
Dalston Jazz Bar | 4 Bradbury Street, N16 8JN
Love live music? Check out these other great London jazz bars