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10 Best Places for Jazz Music in Harlem

If you are passionate about jazz music you have to go to Harlem to enjoy the best sound of the genre, find out in which nightclubs you can enjoy the best live show!

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

7 min read

10 Best Places for Jazz Music in Harlem

Jazz in New York Presentation | © Sophia Kontopoulou

With the permission of New Orleans, New York City is the best place to go to enjoy an unforgettable live jazz show. Especially in the Harlem neighborhood, the birthplace of Bebop and the place where many of the stars of the genre became legends.

If during your stay in the Big Apple you want to attend a jazz show that will make you vibrate with emotion, here are several clubs and halls where every night the magic arises between trumpets, saxophones and guitars. Ready for an unforgettable experience?

Bill's Place

Entrance to Bill's Place in Harlem| ©Matthew X. Kiernan
Entrance to Bill's Place in Harlem| ©Matthew X. Kiernan

If you want to spend a fun evening in Harlem listening to the most authentic jazz you will not find a more genuine place than Bill's Place. This is not a trendy bar where you can listen to music while you have a few drinks, but a simple lounge where small groups congregate to hear founder Bill Saxton play.

The curious thing about Bill's Place is the size of the room, so tiny that all the seats are in the front row facing the stage, which makes this experience exclusive and almost private.

Bill's Place is located on the first floor of a row house in the 133rd Street area, known as Swing Street in the Prohibition era because of the speakeasies and jazz clubs that opened here at night. Interestingly, alcohol is not currently allowed in the club but you can bring your own drinks.

Information of interest

  • Address: 148 W.133rd St.
  • Open: Fridays and Saturdays

2. Paris Blues

Entrance of Paris Blues in Harlem| ©Keira McPhee
Entrance of Paris Blues in Harlem| ©Keira McPhee

Paris Blues is a haven for unpretentious jazz lovers - there's no stage, just good music! Since this venue opened its doors in 1968, it has continued to attract fans from all over the world and locals looking to hear the most authentic jazz sound.

Musicians gather in a small alcove near the end of the bar and play their hearts out every night of the week for a fantastic free retro Jazz Jam experience. Just bring some spare change to Paris Blues to tip the band because their shows will get you out of your seat and moving to the beat.

You're also likely to see the club's founder, Mr. Samuel Hargress, Jr., who at 81 years old is still around to liven up Harlem's nightlife scene with his friendly, friendly vibe.

Information of interest

  • Address: 2021 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd (7th Ave.)
    Harlem, New York 10027
  • Open: Every night of the week

Ginny's Supper Club

Jazz Nights in Harlem| ©Peter Matthews
Jazz Nights in Harlem| ©Peter Matthews

Ginny's Supper Club is a tribute to the Harlem Renaissance and is said to be the modern reincarnation of those glamorous speakeasies in the neighborhood that in the 1920s skirted Prohibition to give their customers a nightly treat.

Its owner is chef Marcus Samuelsson (the owner of the famous Red Rooster Harlem restaurant mentioned in the post Where to eat in Harlem) who came up with the idea of opening a second restaurant in the basement of the Red Rooster Harlem with a secret entrance for dinners with live music inspired by the essence of the popular "speackeasies" of the neighborhood in the early twentieth century.

And what a hit! At Ginny's Supper Club you'll enjoy a casual atmosphere with great live music, the best Southern food and delicious Harlem-inspired creative cocktails such as the "Harlem Mule" or the "Brownstoner".

Information of interest

  • Address: 310 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10027
  • Open: Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays

4. Marjorie Eliot's Parlor

Jazz at Marjorie Eliot's Parlor Apartment| ©RinaKatz
Jazz at Marjorie Eliot's Parlor Apartment| ©RinaKatz

There will be no other place in Harlem where you can have a more intimate experience listening to jazz than in the living room of pianist Marjorie Eliot 's Sugar Hill apartment.

For more than 10 years since she lost her son, every Sunday at 3:30 PM the lovely Ms. Eliot delights audiences with a free, informal concert accompanied by talented musicians who huddle and mingle with the audience in her living room.

These concerts are exciting because more than a show they feel like a gathering of friends who come together to enjoy the music and have a good time. During the breaks, the musician serves some snacks and even stops with people to chat for a while before resuming the performance.

There is no doubt that Marjorie Eliot's show will be one of the most original you will enjoy during your stay in New York. So remember to bring some spare cash for the performers' tips.

Information of interest

  • Address: 555 Edgecombe Ave, Apartment 3F at 160th St, Washington Heights
  • Open: Sundays

5. Dinner and music at Minton's Playhouse

Historic Minton's Jazz Club at the Cecil Hotel in Harlem.| ©Joseph
Historic Minton's Jazz Club at the Cecil Hotel in Harlem.| ©Joseph

Located on the second floor of what was once the Cecil Hotel, in the Harlem neighborhood, Minton's Playhouse is a place whose fame dates back to the 40's for being the place where the Bebop genre was born and where scandalous jam sessions were organized with artists such as Henry Minton (the founder), Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk or Dizzy Gillespie, among others.

Today, with its ambiance, lighting and live performances,
Minton's Playhouse still retains the essence of the original venue (which unlike other clubs has not changed location) and immerses you in an experience that manages to transport you to the golden years of jazz in the 40s and 50s.

In addition, you can enjoy a delicious dinner while you listen to the concert or have a few drinks.

Information of interest

  • Address: 206 West 118th Street, NY 10026
  • Open: Open Wednesdays through Sundays

6. Showmans Jazz Club

Showmans Jazz Club bar| ©Showmans Jazz Club
Showmans Jazz Club bar| ©Showmans Jazz Club

If through music you are looking to transport yourself to a different era, Showman's Jazz Club is the place for you. A place known for its friendly and cozy atmosphere where music stars such as Billie Holiday, Eartha Kitt and LeRoy Myers have performed.

The original venue opened its doors in 1942 and was located near the Apollo Theater so it was a regular meeting point for artists after their performances in that club to socialize with friends and audiences. Showmans Jazz Club moved to its current location in 1999 but still maintains the same charisma and style that made it famous decades ago.

So if you don't have plans on Wednesday, Friday or Saturday nights I recommend that you drop by Showmans Jazz Club because their live music shows are absolutely fantastic, they are always looking for new talent to surprise the audience with! Plus, they serve delicious (and free) southern cuisine appetizers.

Information of interest

  • Address: 375 West 125th Street, bet. Morningside and St. Nicholas Avenues New York, NY 10027
  • Open: Open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays

7. Patrick's Place

Jazz in New York| ©Zhang Yu
Jazz in New York| ©Zhang Yu

Patrick's Place is one of those places you go to when you want to feed your senses, specifically the senses of hearing and taste because it is a fabulous Jamaican food restaurant that on Friday and Saturday nights offers live jazz shows for those who want to have a good time in Harlem.
If your two passions are music and food, don't hesitate to visit Patrick's Place and let yourself be carried away by its relaxed atmosphere listening to the best sounds of jazz and, of course, the best Caribbean food. You'll feel right at home!

Information of interest

  • Address: 2835 Frederick Douglass Blvd (8th Ave and 151st )
  • Open: Open Fridays and Saturdays

8. Shrine

Shrine Jazz Show| ©Lucas Allmann
Shrine Jazz Show| ©Lucas Allmann

If you'd like to hear an independent jazz sound from new talent in a creative atmosphere, the Shrine Room in Harlem is the best place to go.

Founded in 2007 by music lovers in the artistic epicenter of New York, Shrine will surprise you with the most modern and innovative musical and artistic proposals of the present.

The perfect place to catch up with the latest trends in jazz and enjoy the best live music. Shrine's program includes several genres besides jazz, such as indie-rock, R & B, Gospel (did you know that you can attend a Gospel mass in Harlem as an audience?), funk, etc. So if what interests you most is jazz, before going to the hall I recommend you take a look at their calendar.

Information of interest

  • Address: 2271 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY 10030,
  • Open: Open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday

Buy a Gospel Music Tour in Harlem

9. Silvana

Jazz a lifestyle in Harlem| ©Daria Sannikova
Jazz a lifestyle in Harlem| ©Daria Sannikova

Although it is not a jazz club as such, the Silvana cafeteria has that speakeasy atmosphere in whose basement you can attend live music shows where you can let yourself be carried away by the jazz sound and other very interesting musical proposals. From reggae and funk to house, hip-hop and African music.

The room has cabaret-style tables near the stage where you can sit and listen to the concert while sipping a delicious cocktail or a glass of Italian or French wine. Complete the experience by ordering a dish from their menu inspired by Middle Eastern flavors such as hummus, falafel or shawarma.

East and West mix in the basement of Silvana with the best jazz music in the background. To know for sure when they play jazz music in the place, I recommend you take a look at their schedule before you go.

Information of interest

  • Address: 300 W. 116th Street (SW corner of Frederick Douglass Blvd/8th Ave)
  • Open: Open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays

10. Smoke

Jazz at the Smoke Bar| ©Enrique Arellano
Jazz at the Smoke Bar| ©Enrique Arellano

The Smoke is one of those New York Jazz & Supper Clubs where you go for the good music and end up staying for the tasty food - a double joy!

The venue is famous for having a program of world-renowned jazz artists that competes with the excellent American bistro-style food prepared in its kitchens by the prestigious chef Patricia Williams.

A highly recommended place to enjoy an unforgettable night in New York to the sound of the best music of the genre, Smoke is a great place not to be missed during your trip to the city!

Information of interest

  • Address: 2751 Broadway (between 105th / 106th St.)
  • Open: Tuesday to Sunday