These hidden gems of the grassroots jazz scene in London are small venues where you can enjoy jazz music in an intimate and special setting
A great night out can be had in London by visiting one of the city’s jazz venues where jazz music, a convivial atmosphere, and often great food and drink go hand in hand. Here are some great ideas for hearing top-quality jazz music in London in intimate venues.
The 606 Club
Run by musician Steve Rubie since 1976, The 606 Club in Chelsea hosts some of the UK’s finest jazz musicians—Jamie Cullum, Jason Rebello, Byron Wallen, Claire Martin, and Ian Shaw to name a few—as well as visiting ones from abroad. They also support up-and-coming artists.
With tasty, home-cooked food, 606 offers a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere and once found, 606 is never forgotten. Booking is advisable.
Notting Hill Arts Club
In Notting Hill, head to Notting Hill Arts Club, where you will find jazz two or three evenings each week across two stages. A typical event starts with an emerging jazz artist on the smaller stage and an established act on the main stage later in the evening.
Down a cobbled street near King’s Cross station, Jamboree hosts three or four jazz gigs each week. On Thursdays, Ewan Bleach and the Cable Street Rag Band play old-style jazz and later, singers from the audience can join in.
"Down a cobbled street near King’s Cross station, Jamboree hosts three or four jazz gigs each week"
Some Sundays, Jamboree hosts The Fleeting Paradise Orchestra or the Prospective Collective, and on a Wednesday afternoon, they have TJ, who sings jazz tunes, plays piano, and is sometimes accompanied by a sax player.
A cafe by day and improvised music venue by night, Cafe Oto in Dalston is a cosy, welcoming venue near both Dalston stations.
They put on a range of jazz-related music, from established jazz musicians to newer emerging artists. Free jazz features prominently. Check their website for who is playing and details.
The Elephant Inn
In North Finchley, the Elephant Inn hosts jazz on the first and third Sunday of each month in an intimate setting for 35–38 people. Booking ahead is advised as most evenings sell out.
Each week has a different headliner and tickets are reasonably priced. It also has Thai food and a bar.
The Bloomsbury Club
Between Tottenham Court Road Station and The British Museum, The Bloomsbury Club has live music Wednesday to Saturday, showcasing everything from classic jazz to acoustic sets.
"Set in the heart of Bloomsbury, the club is a moody, seductive space"
Set in the heart of Bloomsbury, the club is a moody, seductive space with walls adorned with artwork and books synonymous with the Bloomsbury Set. Customers can rediscover a different epoch in one of many dark corners.
Hampstead Jazz Club
Hampstead Jazz Club is situated in the basement of a 1721 building. It is a cosy space and a third of the stage is occupied by a baby grand piano—the club’s focus is sound and experience.
They host national headliners, up-and-coming jazz artists and resident artists including Jo Harrop, Leo Richardson, Jamie Safir and others. The club has built a reputation for discovering new talent.
Three minutes from Hackney Overground station, Grow Hackney is a creative, riverside space in which to enjoy Middle Eastern-inspired cuisine and great music.
They have a jazz jam on a Thursday when their resident band Stratos takes visitors on a voyage through classic, straight-ahead, hard bop and jazz fusion and once a month they have a guest artist. Free entry if you stay and jam with the band.
The Sebright Arms
A short walk from Cambridge Heath Overground station in Shoreditch takes you to The Sebright Arms where they hold a monthly jazz night. After a set of standards and fusion, customers can jam with the musicians for the last 90 minutes.
Also in Shoreditch is Nightjar, billed as the antidote to overcrowded bars and flashy nightclubs. The atmosphere is like a club in the 1920s, with candlelit tables, tin-cup cocktails, and live jazz from 9pm. Nightjar also has a West End outlet in Carnaby Street.
Karamel is a vegan restaurant in Wood Green featuring jazz each Thursday. They have an eclectic mix of emerging and established musicians and bands who perform a selection of original compositions and standards.
Jazz Live at The Crypt
Jazz Live at The Crypt has been running since 1995 and takes place beneath St Giles Church on Camberwell’s Church Street. Each Friday evening you can hear the finest improvised music from musicians from the UK and abroad in one of the UK’s top small jazz venues.
"Jazz Live at The Crypt has been running since 1995"
They also put on events on some Thursday and Saturday evenings so check their website for details.
Eltham Jazz Club
On two Thursdays each month, you can find top-class jazz performed at the Eltham Jazz Club in the comfortable bar of Eltham Golf Club. Run by musicians Georgia Mancio and Dave Ohm, EJC is renowned for its warm welcome. Check dates and who is playing on the website or use their contact form.
All of these venues are hidden gems and part of the grassroots jazz scene. Supported by musicians and loyal customers, these venues provide top-quality jazz music. Whether you want a meal with your music, a drink, or a jam with the band, there is a venue to suit every taste.
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