Pretend you’ve fallen into La La Land with the late night jam sessions, great gigs and imaginative cocktail menus at some of the best London jazz clubs
Words Helen Brown
With La La Land fever sweeping the nation, jazz music is certainly having a moment. From one of the world’s oldest venues, to a pizza place with pizazz; these London jazz clubs are testimony that the Capital can do jive with the best of them.
Ronnie Scott’s is one of the oldest jazz clubs in the world and has welcomed into its spotlight some of the most iconic names in jazz. This legendary venue is the perfect place to soak up world class jazz from industry heroes and rising stars. It’s not as small as other London jazz clubs but maintains an intimate atmosphere. Ronnie Scott’s is popular so booking is essential.
Crazy Coqs is a circular art-deco bar in the heart of Soho. It’s home to the diverse entertainment programme Live At Zédel, which features a selection of intimate jazz evenings. Performances of note are Smitty’s Big Four and, surprisingly, piano sessions from renowned restaurant critic and Masterchef judge, Jay Rayner. Cabaret and stand-up comedy are also on offer; see here for the full lineup.
Inspired by 1920s American prohibition-era bars, The Nightjar provides a glamorous setting to enjoy live jazz and blues. If the rich music programme alone isn’t a draw enough, their clever cocktail menu certainly is. Chose from craft themed cocktails set in pre-Prohibition, Prohibition or postwar.
With live music every night and over ten artists per week 606 has been one of Europe’s busiest jazz clubs since 1976. It’s one of the best in the bunch of London jazz clubs and reserves its stage exclusively for British musicians. With dim lighting and a 150 person capacity, 606 offers a relaxing and cosy setting.
PizzaExpress Jazz Club
Yes really. This branch in Soho dishes out it’s doughy and delicious repertoire from the ground floor and hosts regular music sessions from its basement venue. Big names have been attracted to The Pizza Express Jazz Club, including Norah Jones and Scott Hamilton . Sting even gave an impromptu performance here.
Scotland and jazz come together in an unexpected matrimony at Boisdale. Dine and drink on a Scottish based menu while you listen to some of the best jazz music in the business. There’s a cigar terrace and even a caviar and oyster bar in the Canary Wharf venue.
Jazz cafe has over 25 years experience and has hosted some of the most respected names in the world of jazz to Camden. The likes of D’Angelo, Amy Winehouse, Adele and Bobby Womack have each graced its stage. It’s an intimate space with a capacity of 440 and a recently revamped food and drink menu.