Jazz is synonymous with London. Jazz as a genre has grown over the years and evolved along with modern trends. There is no one predominant style, all types of jazz are on offer in the captain city. The London jazz bars are just as diverse.
The scene is a mix of internationally renowned institutions and there are grassroots venues. Some jazz bars sit proudly as the cultural jewel of their area, others are harder to find, tucked away for those in the know. Some will book hugely famous artists, others respected in the UK and other spots will highlight the best in upcoming and local talents.
Great live gigs, legendary venues, and the best artists around the world, all paired with great vibes, fantastic food and a wide variety of drinks – we’ve got the best jazz clubs in the capital covered.
Here are the 12 best jazz bars in London to visit when enjoying all the nightlife the capital offers.
Best Jazz Bars and Clubs in London
Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club
Ronnie Scotts is easily one of the most famous jazz bars in London, if not in the entire world. Located in the central district of Soho, it’s easy to find but can often be filled with tourists. Luckily, this venue has a strict policy of silence during gigs, so music remains the focus.
The music here is generally more mainstream jazz from big name artists, usually from America. Some nights do include more niche music for real jazz fans. This venue hosts The Late Late Show several times a week. This popular night features a set from a specially chosen band which turns into a jam session until 3am. Many of the best jazz musicians in London stop by to join in with the house band.
This historic jazz club also has an upstairs bar known as Upstairs @ Ronnie’s. This spot is more upmarket and classier with a 1950s speakeasy vibe. One of the best kept secrets in the London jazz scene, head up the historical staircase to Soho’s most sophisticated bars.
- Address: 47 Frith St, London W1D 4HT
- Hours: Wed-Sat 5:30pm–3am, Mon-Tue 5:30–11pm, Sun 12–4pm, 6:30–11pm
- Price: Main Shows average standard price is £37.50
- Food: Yes
Vortex Jazz Club
Located in East London’s hipster district, Vortex has earned a reputation as the best spot to head to if you’re looking for forward-thinking contemporary jazz in London. This intimate jazz venue has won a range of accolades and has even been singled out by the prestigious Downbeat magazine as one of the top 150 jazz venues in the world.
Over the last 30 years, this club has championed original music that leans more towards improv. The venue has been instrumental in discovering huge successes including Mercury-nominated bands including Polar Bear and Portico Quartet. When you’re there, grab a meal in the downstairs restaurant.
As a not-for-profit business, Vortex aims to keep ticket prices low, while delivering top-class live music. Vortex probably has one of the most diverse lineups of any jazz club in London, ranging from traditional, commercial and contemporary to blues and rock as well as the more experimental. The jazz spot also showcases poetry and spoken word nights, as well as the occasional folk acts.
- Address: 11 Gillett Square London, N16 8AZ
- Hours: Wed-Sat: 7pm-11pm
- Price: £10-20 per gig
PizzaExpress Jazz Club
Located less than a 5-minute walk away from Ronnie Scotts, this basement jazz club has a long history in presenting the best jazz artists 7 nights a week. This jazz lounge turned pizza restaurant in Soho connects two of the most popular areas of London’s West End.
Since 1976, this award-winning venue has been bringing world class musicians to its intimate, basement settings. It may seem unlikely that a Pizza Express is home to some of the best jazz in London, but this venue has hosted high profile performers including Norah Jones, Amy Winehouse and Gregory Porter.
There is a warm atmosphere and comfortable atmosphere that will make you feel like a home away from home. This small and intimate venue means you are close to the world-class acts, but it also means it fills out quickly, so book first!
- Address: 10 Dean St, London W1D 3RW
- Hours: Mond-Sat 11:30am-23:00pm, Sun 11:30am, 22.30pm
- Price: £20-£30
The 606 Jazz Club
The 606 is a small but legendary jazz club on the west side of London, in the upmarket Chelsea district. Open 7 days a week for jazz performances, it is also a great spot to grab a spot to eat as you enjoy the music.
There are generally two different bands a night with the acts being the very UK focused. If you are a musician or want to build connections in the industry, this is a regular hangout for jazz players. If you’re new in town or just visiting, you will be sure to find a good chat with an enthusiastic music aficionado.
The music style is a hugely eclectic mix of jazz singers and instrumental groups. Enjoy jazz, Latin, R&B, blues, soul and gospel music seven nights a week, and sometimes also on Sunday afternoons, making it one of the busiest jazz spots in Europe.
- Address: 90 Lots Road, Chelsea, London SW10 0QD
- Hours: Mon-Thu, Sun 6:30pm–10:30pm; Fri, Sat 7pm–11:30pm
- Price: £15-£20
Despite being located in the South-East London district of Kennington, Toulouse Lautrec pays tribute to its French roots with a mix of food, wine and jazz spread across two rooms. Pick between a Parisian inspired jazz club and a vintage piano bar, both of which pay tribute to the belle époque of Paris.
Something of a hidden gem in the capital city, this jazz club is a firm favourite with many local jazz singers. The Regent brothers have been running a multi-award-winning brasserie and live jazz bar for over a decade. Their deliciously cooked meals are above the usual fare found in jazz clubs. Popular items from the classic French menu include steak, fresh fish, and charcuterie boards.
Boasting live music, seven days a week – you can enjoy dinner and a show in the piano bar before heading upstairs to the Jazz Club! Not exclusively jazz, they also host burlesque cabaret nights, funk and soul, and theatre.
- Address: 140 Newington Butts Kennington London SE11 4RN
- Price: £15-£30
Camden’s jazz Cafe has hosted some of the biggest names in the industry over their 30 years in the business, including Adele, D’Angelo and Bobby Womack. This London jazz club was recently upgraded and vamp with a modern food menu.
Now, Jazz Cafe hosts the best new and rising acts, with a focus on jazz, soul, R&B and Electronic. With just a 440 capacity, you could be seeing the next superstar in an intimate gig space. Get sweaty downstairs on the floor or book a table upstairs for a guaranteed good view and a more serene atmosphere.
- Address: 5 Parkway, London NW1 7PG
- Price: £10-£30
Also Read: Best Things To Do In Camden, London
This hidden treasure is a slice of luxury in the middle of Shoreditch. This bar was created as an antidote to the overcrowded West End bars and flashy nightclubs. This is one of London’s best speakeasies, so head down the stairs and be prepared to be enchanted by a 1920’s scene of candlelit tables, tin cup cocktails, and vintage inspired jazz.
Nightjar has a reputation for breathing new life into forgotten cocktails and bringing a fresh perspective to London jazz clubs. This spot offers a nightly schedule of jazz, blues, ragtime and swing. Whilst other spots are more focused on modern jazz, Nightjar embraces vintage music and vintage cocktails.
- Address: 129 City Road, Hoxton, London EC1V 1JB
- Price: There’s a minimum spend of £30 per person
Also Read: Best Bars in Shoreditch
The Bulls Head
The Bulls Head has an illustrious musical heritage in the London jazz world. Found at the top of Barnes high street, alongside the Thames, The Bulls Head echoes style with an array of gorgeous spaces available to book, including our beautiful Melrose room which overlooks the Thames.
Known as the suburban Ronnie Scott’s, the updated jazz room recreates the atmosphere of iconic jazz clubs of the past. The stage is close enough to create a unique intimate atmosphere. People travel from around the world to play in this iconic and intimate venue.
The menu combines creative seasonal dishes with more traditional pub favourites, so grab some of the best British comfort food before heading to their jazz room.
- Address: 373 Lonsdale Road, Barnes, SW13 9P
- Price: £10-£20
Jazzlive at the Crypt
Located in the Crypt of St. Giles Church at the heart of Camberwell, Jazzlive has been putting on jazz concerts since 1995. Each Friday evening at The Crypt you can hear the best improvised music in the city from the UK’s top jazz musicians.
This would be one of the best kept secrets in London. This spot may not be as glossy or as pretentious as other jazz clubs in the capital, but it is run by enthusiasts with a passion for the genre. This small venue is home to some niche, homegrown talent for real lovers of jazz.
- Address: St Giles Church, Camberwell Church St, London SE5 8J
- Hours: Fri and Sat 8pm-1am
- Price: £10
Located in the heart of Piccadilly, inside of the Brasserie Zedel restaurant, Crazy Coqs is an intimate live venue. They showcase the best jazz musicians, cabaret acts and comedians alongside a range of other interesting live acts. It is also a very inexpensive spot to see some of the city’s best talent and grab some tasty food.
What’s most special about this place is the ambience. With round tables, small lamps and a red colour pallet, you will be transported back to the 1930s. Before and during the diverse schedule shows, cocktails, spirits, wines, champagnes, and snacks are all available to order to your table.
- Address: 20 Sherwood St, London W1F 7ED
- Hours: 6.30pm-10pm
- Price: £10-30
SpiceJazz Soho is a weekly jazz club hosted downstairs at The Spice of Life pub in the centre of Soho. The best UK and international jazz acts can be found performing in this basement venue. The venue also hosts a monthly Future Now where you can catch the best new jazz performers.
This spot has an energetic slice of the London jazz community. This is a popular spot for jazz-loving locals who you will see here time and time again. The aim of this space is to showcase all the diversity of London. The next free Wednesday you have, drop into this special night for jazz-lovers.
- Address: The Spice Of Life, 6 Moor St, London W1D 5NA
- Opening Time: 6pm-11pm
- Price: £10-£20
Dalston Jazz Bar
Located in Dalston’s jazz micro-district alongside, Dalston Jazz Bar is a down-to-Earth jazz club. You may walk past this East London venue if it wasn’t for the loud live jazz blasting out of the door. There will be people crammed inside, with a live band wedged into the corner of the venue.
The food situation in here is a little unique. Choose between veggie and non-veggie options and dishes will randomly appear. They charge on a pay what you want basis as well! This is a slightly messier venue, often compared to a living room where the neighbours have popped in to perform.
Stick around after the live music for DJ sets which run until the early hours. Dalston Jazz Club provides amazing jazz music and DJ sets with no entry fee and no cover charge for all. Although, it is polite to buy at least one drink.
- Address: 4 Bradbury St, London N16 8JN
- Hours: Fri and Sat 6pm-2:30am
- Price: Free entry
Jazz Bars & Clubs in London: FAQs
What is the most famous jazz club in London?
Ronnie Scotts is easily the most famous jazz club in London. It is arguably one of the most well-known jazz venues in the world. The club starts in 1959 and has gained notoriety over the years. All the greats have played there including Glenn Miller, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis.
What do you wear to a jazz club in London?
No, there is no strict dress code to head to a jazz club. Just dress up and wear what you would usually do to a bar or a night out or a meal with friends. Some people like to dress up in suits and dresses, making an occasion of it whilst others will wear jeans. Some bars in London prefer business casual, so avoid wearing gym wear, dirty trainers or beachwear.
What can I expect at a jazz club?
Although music tastes changes and venues evolve, the general experience and behaviour expected from the crowd has not changed. Going to a jazz club isn’t the most formal experience, although it depends on the location, there are principles to expect.
Generally, people sit down at jazz clubs, this is probably because these clubs tend to attract an older audience. Some bars will have spaces to dance, some different floors for different vibes, whilst some are sitting down with a meal. Try and read the room, no one wants to be the one person dancing when everyone else is sitting down enjoying their meals.
It is frowned upon to talk during the show. You will earn some glares and some hushes if you chat during the performance. You should only applaud after every performance, rather than clap or sing along with the performance (unless encouraged by the performer).
Even jazz bar is different when it comes to table service, a club will generally indicate how it works in their establishment through signs dotted about. If you see a server at a venue with table services, grab them whenever they come around. You don’t have to wait for the song to finish but be considerate and try to speak in a low tone.
For better or worse, smartphones are a common sight in London jazz clubs. If you must take a photo, try not to be too obvious and always remember to turn the flash off. A quick photo is fine, try not to hold up your phone and film the entire night.
Do the likes of Louis Armstrong, Glen Miller and Miles Davis appeal to your sense? Do you dream of spending an entire night lapping up live jazz in some of the UK’s most atmospheric and welcoming spaces? London has everything you could want from upmarket speakeasies to down to earth local venues and iconic mainstays.