606 Club, Chelsea
Sitting just off the King’s Road, this intimate basement venue has been around for more than three decades. With a friendly atmosphere and an imaginative food menu, it’s a far cry from the glitzier bars of Chelsea but a great place to hear genuine British jazz.
90 Lots Road, Chelsea, SW10 0QD
Bermondsey Arts Club, Bermondsey
Housed in former public loos (yes, really), this small, candlelit venue is now a polished, Art Deco-style speakeasy with a varied cocktail menu and regular live jazz performances. Open until 2am every night, this is a great place to head when you’re not ready to go home.
102a Tower Bridge Road, Bermondsey, SE1 4TP
Blues Kitchen, Shoreditch
Expect hearty Texan soul food (think BBQ ribs and Cajun spices aplenty) and late-night antics at the Shoreditch outpost of The Blues Kitchen. The eclectic, industrial space offers areas for live blues music and dancing – if you’ve got a group, make sure to hire the private indoor Airstream.
134-146 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, EC2A 3AR
Offering live entertainment seven days a week, this vibrant venue tucked away behind Streatham High Road hosts established performers as well as up-and-coming jazz, soul and funk stars. The venue’s weekly comedy nights also present the some of the best stand-up comedians on the circuit.
2 Empire Mews, Stanthorpe Road, Stretham, SW16 2BF
Jazz Café, Camden
This award-winning Camden hotspot has been a London jazz institution for over 25 years and is renowned for breaking future stars of the genre. Make sure to nab a table in the restaurant area above the stage for the best seats in the house.
5 Parkway, Camden Town, NW1 7PG
Kansas Smitty’s, Hackney
Shimmy over to this popular bar in Broadway Market for a speakeasy-style atmosphere and delicious ‘Julep’ cocktails. It’s worth going just for the Kansas Smitty’s House Band, a tight-knit outfit which makes jazz inclusive and places an emphasis on camaraderie and spontaneity.
63-65 Broadway Market, Hackney, E8 4PH
Nola, Bethnal Green
Inspired by the rich history of New Orleans, you’ll hear soulful jazz and blues at this east London cocktail venue, where the bartenders have won awards for their creative concoctions. This stylish bar comes ready-made with a party vibe, period fittings and a line-up of pianists and live bands.
107 Roman Road, Bethnal Green, E2 0QN
Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho
It might not seem the most glamorous of venues, but the fabled jazz club beneath Dean Street’s Pizza Express is a Soho institution. Here, guests can watch some of the best jazz acts around as they tuck into Pollo Ad Astra. Head there for the novelty factor – and the doughballs.
10 Dean Street, Soho, W1D 3RW
Ronnie Scott’s, Soho
As one of the oldest jazz clubs in the world, Ronnie Scott’s has played host to the biggest names in the genre since it opened in the 50s, including the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone. Sleek and sophisticated, the Frith Street venue is the perfect place to sip on a whiskey sour and listen to the real deal in style.
47 Frith Street, Soho, W1D 4HT
Scarfes Bar, Holborn
With the feel of a quintessential English gentleman’s study, Scarfes Bar at the Rosewood Hotel features cosy velvet armchairs and a carefully curated menu of creative cocktails. Check out its event listings for regular jazz sessions.
252 High Holborn, Holborn, WC1V 7EN
You’ll find rare spirits and cocktail blends at this glamorous Prohibition-style, underground bar in Hoxton. Every night live music begins at 9:30pm and consists of two sets of 45 minutes, and on Fridays and Saturdays there’s a third-late, hour-long session. Tables can be booked 90 days ahead.
129 City Road, Hoxton, EC1V 1JB
Vortex Jazz Club, Dalston
This small, not-for-profit club offers an innovative programme of jazz, improvised and experimental music. For over 25 years, this friendly institution has programmed over 400 shows a year and was instrumental in launching the careers of Mercury-nominated bands Polar Bear and Portico Quartet.
11 Gillett Square, Dalston, N16 8AZ