Soulful Melodies: Exploring The Upper West Side's Jazz Club Scene
Enjoy timeless melodies, soulful saxophones, and a reminder of decades past with a dive into the Upper West Side’s jazz club scene. It was in the 1920s and 30s that jazz rose to worldwide prominence, a role that it continues to occupy today. The jazz clubs of New York City are a reminder of this century-old legacy and a seductive throwback to Prohibition-era underground fun. On the Upper West Side, the spirit of the iconic musical genre of jazz continues to thrive. Continue reading to learn about the intimate venues, world-class musicians, and electrifying spots that make the Upper West Side a haven for jazz enthusiasts. Whether you consider yourself a jazz connoisseur or you’re simply curious, the Upper West Side’s jazz club scene has something for everyone.
Smoke Jazz & Supper Club
World-famous and an absolute New York City institution, Smoke Jazz & Supper Club is a must-go for any self-respecting jazz fan visiting the city. Located in an iconic venue on Broadway and 106th Street — a street also known as Duke Ellington Boulevard, fittingly — Smoke Jazz & Supper Club is best known for its stellar selection of performers. The interior of the jazz club is separated into an elegant bar & lounge area and a candlelit, antique-filled dining and listening area; the acoustics of the entire club are unparalleled.
Offering classic American fare like steak, fried chicken, and cheeseburgers to pair perfectly with an extensive wine list and world-class jazz acts, Smoke Jazz & Supper Club has everything you need for the perfect night out.
Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar
An intimate American restaurant known for featuring local and international jazz stars, Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar is the beloved creation of husband-and-wife songwriting duo Ashford & Simpson. Famed for writing hits like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “We Are Family,” Valerie Simpson and her late husband, Nickolas Ashford, sure do know their jazz.
Sugar Bar has been frequented by celebrities such as Maya Angelou, Whoopi Goldberg, and Andre Leon Talley, among many others; it is popular for its sensational performances, delectable food and drinks, and impeccable atmosphere. The schedule of upcoming entertainers can be found here. This joyful, heartfelt jazz oasis will transport you straight to the 1960s, for a night of endless fun and music.
A little further south from the Upper West Side (straying into midtown territory), Iridium is so good that it must be mentioned. It is a landmark live music venue in New York City, popularized by weekly Les Paul performances between 1995 and 2009. It truly leans into the heritage of the Jazz Age, with Art Deco-inspired decor and dim, smokey lighting, offering visitors a truly immersive experience. Besides jazz, Iridium also features blues & rock music, so there’s some more musical variety here, if that is more your speed.
The cultural heart of the Upper West Side, and one of New York City’s most prominent arts institutions, Lincoln Center also boasts hearty jazz programming, organized by Jazz at Lincoln Center. With myriad digital and in-person concerts in a variety of Lincoln Center venues, Jazz at Lincoln Center is one of the best ways to appreciate the genre in New York City. Here are Lincoln Center’s three main jazz venues:
The Appel Room
Formerly known as the Allen Room, this Greek amphitheater-inspired venue is a sophisticated site for jazz performances that is located in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. The space is dedicated primarily to jazz, allowing the captivating sounds and enchanting melodies of the genre to come to the forefront; the room is fluid and beautiful, an elegant backdrop for a jazz show.
Known for its outstanding acoustics and its ambitious, modern layout, Rose Theater is used for a variety of shows, from jazz performances to opera to dance. Many jazz concerts are hosted here; click this link to see the schedule.
Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola
Located at the Time Warner Center, Dizzy’s Club is the warm, traditional jazz club operated by the Lincoln Center. Offering live jazz shows, gorgeous views of the city, delicious meals, and even late night performances, Dizzy’s Club is a favorite among jazz fans.
Explore the Upper West Side's jazz scene while staying at the Lucerne. Book now.