Jazz clubs in NYC: The five classiest venues in town

Check out our list of Gotham's most elegant jazz clubs, perfect for impressing visitors or your next date.

Photograph: Dominic Perri
Village Vanguard, one of NYC's top jazz clubs for decades, is always a good bet for top talent and a wonderfully moody atmosphere.

Jazz is currently thriving in all corners of our fair city, in every incarnation you could think of. And while always rewarding to check out a cutting-edge artist in a hip outer-borough space, sometimes you just want a classier, more traditional jazz-club experience. Not to worry: Just like with the artists themselves, we haveyou covered when it comes to venues.

RECOMMENDED: Full coverage of jazz in New York

Classiest jazz clubs in NYC

Village Vanguard

Critics' pick

After 75 years, this basement club’s stage—a small but mighty step-up—still hosts the crème de la crème of mainstream jazz talent (Joe Lovano, Barry Harris, Lou Donaldson). Plenty of history has been made here: John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Bill Evans have grooved in this hallowed hall. The 16-piece Vanguard Jazz Orchestra has been the Monday-night regular for more than 30 years. Doors open at 8pm.

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West Village

Blue Note

Critics' pick

The Blue Note prides itself on being "the jazz capital of the world." Bona fide musical titans (Cecil Taylor, Charlie Haden) rub against hot young talents (the Bad Plus), while the close-set tables in the club get patrons rubbing up against each other. The Late Night Groove series and the Sunday brunches are the best bargain bets.

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Greenwich Village

Jazz Standard

Critics' pick

Jazz Standard offers guests a wide variety of world class jazz complemented by Blue Smoke barbecue in an intimate room with great sightlines and sound.

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Gramercy & Flatiron

Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola (at Frederick P. Rose Hall)

Critics' pick

The jazz arm of Lincoln Center is several blocks away from the main campus, high atop the Time Warner Center. It includes three rooms: the Rose Theater is a traditional midsize space, but the crown jewels are the Allen Room and the smaller Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, with stages framed by huge windows overlooking Columbus Circle. The venues feel like a Hollywood cinematographer’s vision of a Manhattan jazz club. Some of the best players in the business grace the spot, among them Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s famed artistic director.

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Upper West Side

Smoke Jazz and Supper Club

Smoke has augmented its reputation as one of Manhattan’s most distinguished jazz venues with an addition very uncommon to jazz clubs—great food. Smoke serves innovative American Bistro fare developed by critically acclaimed executive chef Patricia Williams. Smoke is proud to be New York's only boutique Jazz & Supper Club with an award winning chef.

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