August 2019: Miami’s live music venues are notoriously fleeting, and while good jazz never goes out of style, we had to say sayonara, baby to a couple of beloved spots over the last year. Though Wynwood Yard and Casa Panza have closed, lovers of bebop, scat singing and all manner of improvisational musical stylings need not fret. Gritty Downtown joint Le Chat Noir offers up nightly jazz in its cozy cellar, while The Corner has been serving a loyal jazz-hipster crowd on Wednesday nights for the better part of five years. In South Beach, The Cabaret hosts piano jazz nights on weekends, when slinky, veteran singers sling cocktails behind the bar in between belting out your requests on stage—just like in the movies!
It's just not Little Havana that's bringing the salsa-loving crowds to the city these days. South Beach and other neighborhoods are gaining popularity for boasting some of the best jazz clubs and Latin music venues in Miami. Wherever you wind up, make sure a visit to a top spot for drunk food in Miami is in the plans—because nothing works up an appetite quite like good tunes and cocktails.
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Best jazz clubs and Latin music venues in Miami
Did you think basements were a thing in Miami? Neither did we. Art Deco nostalgia meets NYC grit at this laid-back Downtown club that hosts nightly live jazz in its dark and cozy cellar. Inspired by the original Le Chat Noir in the bohemian Montmartre district of Paris, the Miami iteration will transport you to another era as you make your way downstairs. Bring a date or take along a whole group of friends, order up some charcuterie and cheese and keep the wine flowing with plenty of reasonable bottles to choose from.
Today’s Ball & Chain is a recreation of a 1930s hotspot that once occupied the same space and welcomed jazz superstars like Billie Holiday, Count Basie and Chet Baker to its stage. All these years later, the tradition of fantastic live music continues. Expect live jazz and Latin tunes at 6pm sharp Tuesday through Saturday. On Saturdays, a wild Cuban fiesta kicks off around 9pm as salsa dancers take to the bar.
A night at Lagniappe feels like a backyard bash at a friend’s—if said friend had a sprawling, magical yard filled with mismatched lawn furniture and strung-up bistro lights. It’s all very casual here, but the musicians are serious players. There’s everything from folk to rock taking place in Lagniappe’s intimate indoor space—but the specialty is straight-up jazz.
This intensely charming Miami Beach venue boasts some of the most eclectic bookings in all the city. Run by the Rhythm Foundation, a group devoted to bringing rare world music to Miami, the North Beach Bandshell has its fair share of both jazz and Latin shows, bringing acts from the islands of the Caribbean to the tip of South America.
As the ground level companion to Miami’s most infamous EDM spot, Space, Floyd stands in stark contrast to the over-the-top megaclubs that surround it—think chandeliers instead of lasers. The club mainly brings out more underground electronic talent, but on jazz nights, expect a modern flair, everything from the traditional trio to experimental. The best part? It’s open just as late as the other guys and it's got couches for plenty of late-night lingering.
Hoy Como Ayer is one of Calle Ocho’s most famous spots, offering a crash course in Cuban music in a cozy, intimate space. Artists perform boleros (ballads), trova (folk music), son (traditional Cuban dance music) and timba (a contemporary dance beat) from Thursday to Saturday.
Step inside Miami’s version of a saloon for a closer look at the impressive back bar, featuring an array of craft beer, wine and cocktails. Appreciative locals pack the bar and sidewalk every night of the week, though Tuesdays attract an especially hipster-heavy crowd—perhaps it’s the live Downtown Jazz series, going strong for more than five years. Surviving the late-night revelry is more likely if you fuel up on tasty bar bites.
Once a 1926 silent movie palace, this is now an enchanting venue for the occasional jazz and Latin gig (plus stand-up comedy, drag performances, story slams and more), complete with velvet seats, Shakespearean balconies and twinkling stars on the ceiling’s painted night tableau. It might just be the prettiest music venue in Miami.
Enter the historic Shelborne Hotel and follow the sound of music through the lobby to a dimly lit library space which comprises the cozy home of Cabaret South Beach. All of the employees here are seasoned singers who take turns serving up drinks and accompanying the house pianists throughout the weekend, nailing audience requests that range from Ray Charles and Etta James to Tina Turner and Halsey. No two nights are ever the same at this appropriately improvisational SoBe joint.
This Kendall neighborhood hangout serves fresh seafood paired with live jazz and blues. For music, the divey back room is where it’s at. There’s a jazz jam every Wednesday at 8pm, live blues Thursdays from 8pm to close on the restaurant's small stage and bigger acts throughout the weekend. Enjoy the show with a two-drink minimum and grab some fresh oysters ($16) while you're at it.