Smooth: London's favourite jazz clubs

Sit back, open up your ears and enjoy...

B-bop, hard-bop, rag time and swing, Mingus, Monk, Melly and Miles Davis. Unless you're up on your jazz this all sounds like utter gobbledygook... but fear not, even though London has got a first-rate jazz heritage you'll find no snobbery or elitest attitudes in this town. You'll find no bad vibes. Just cool cats.

Jazz seems to be experiencing a popular resurgence of late and that suits London just fine - there's more cool jazz venues than you can shake your tenor sax at. From legendary venues regularly hosting industry greats to new up and coming venues there's plenty to get your teeth stuck into here.

So sit back, open up your ears and enjoy...

Ronnie Scott's Club
47 Frith Street W1D 4HT
Region: Soho
Nearest Station: Tottenham Court Road (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: Ask anyone to name a London jazz club and they’ll probably tell you Ronnie Scott’s. All the greats have graced the stage at this Soho institution and it remains the place to go for exceptional jazz and blues.

  • OUR REVIEW 7/10
  • USERS 9/10
PizzaExpress Jazz Club
10 Dean Street W1D 3RW
Region: Soho
Nearest Station: Tottenham Court Road (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: The Pizza Express Jazz Club launched Jamie Cullum, or at least helped him along the way, and anyone that can knock out a rendition of Pharrell’s ‘Frontin’ without sounding like a sleazy lounge singer is okay in our book. The basement is intimate and dimly lit – the two things that every jazz club should be – and sells out shows regularly.

  • OUR REVIEW 6/10
  • USERS 10/10
Vortex Jazz Club
11 Gillett Street N16 8AZ
Region: Stoke Newington
Nearest Station: Dalston Kingsland

AIL Says: Vortex provides live music seven nights a week and exists as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing through new jazz and experimental music. If you like the combination of talent and innovation in your jazz then this will hold plenty of appeal.

    Cafe Oto
    22 Ashwin Street Dalston E8 3DL
    Region: Dalston
    Nearest Station: Dalston Kingsland

    AIL Says: Operating with a similar raison d’être as its Dalston neighbour, the Vortex Jazz Club, Café Oto is all about innovation and experimentation. There is a regular line-up of live music and you can expect to hear anything from Baltic brass bands to British jazz in the Anglo/Japanese arts club.

    • OUR REVIEW 8/10
    Charlie Wright's
    45B Pitfield Street N1 6DA
    Region: Shoreditch
    Nearest Station: Old Street (0.2 miles)

    AIL Says: Charlie Wright’s may not dedicate every night to jazz but when those nights come along they’re well worth the wait. As well as weekly live jazz you’ll find hip-hop, soul and funk at the Pitfield Street music lounge.

    • OUR REVIEW 8/10
    The 606 Jazz Club
    90 Lots Road SW10 0QD
    Region: Chelsea
    Nearest Station: Fulham Broadway (0.6 miles)

    AIL Says: ‘Welcome to one of the best Jazz clubs in Europe’, that’s the line rolled out to customers at the 606 Club and who could argue with it? The cosy basement club is as good as it comes. The club/restaurant is all about the authenticity, delivering the best British based jazz that’s out there.

    • OUR REVIEW 7/10
    • USERS 6/10
    2 Empire Mews SW16 2ED
    Region: Streatham
    Nearest Station: Streatham (0.1 miles)

    AIL Says: Having won an award for best London Jazz Club in 2011, the Hideaway hasn’t rested on its laurels. Pairing comedy and jazz, the stylish venue presents music and stand-up in a refined manner. If you’re not into the cosy basement vibe that jazz often evokes then this is the place for you - killer cocktails and an impeccably well-curated roster of bands.

    • OUR REVIEW 7/10
    107 Charing Cross Road Covent Garden WC2H 0DT
    Region: Covent Garden
    Nearest Station: Tottenham Court Road (0.1 miles)

    AIL Says: Ray’s Jazz might just be one of London’s greatest venues. Located on the first floor at Foyles booksellers, it oozes charm and literary cool. In terms of jazz, as well as a well-stocked record store, you can expect improvised jam sessions, international artists and heavy doses of the avant-garde.

    • USERS 8/10
    The Arch Bar
    1 Hamilton Place W1J 7QY
    Region: Mayfair
    Nearest Station: Hyde Park Corner (0.2 miles)

    AIL Says: Gin and Jazz at the Arch Bar is a celebration of the sophisticated golden age of Mayfair. The twice-monthly event pairs together classic cocktails and live jazz, resulting in a night that will appeal to those who appreciate a worldly London night out. Singers, stompers and orchestras; the music is a blast.

      The Prince Arthur
      80-82 Eversholt Street NW1 1BX
      Region: Camden
      Nearest Station: Euston

      AIL Says: The Prince Arthur is a regular pub that happens to host some excellent live jazz events throughout the month. The cosy Euston pub might look like the kind of place you’d expect to find jazz but that’s the charm. Enjoying a pint never felt so refined.

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