When you first move to Washington, DC, you’ll need to spend some time finding your favorite hangout spots. If you love jazz music, you may already know that DC has a thriving jazz scene that’s been around since the start of the genre. There are dozens of places where you can enjoy music from the greatest musicians in jazz today, as well as the new stars on the scene.
There are lots of jazz clubs in D.C. where you can enjoy music from the latest and the greatest. Read on to discover some of the best Washington, DC jazz clubs, and the sorts of experiences you can expect to find at each.
1. Blues Alley
If you’re looking for a twenties-style DC jazz club, look no further than Blues Alley. The club was founded in 1965 and is one of the best jazz listening venues in the city. Artists like Wynton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Tony Bennett, and Ella Fitzgerald have played the club.
In addition to hosting some of jazz’s greatest performers, Blues Alley is also an amazing restaurant. You can enjoy entrees named after famous jazz artists, such as Jerry “The Iceman” Butler baked salmon, and Tony Bennett’s shrimp and artichoke hearts. Blues Alley is just up the Potomac from our Circle Arms apartments.
2. The Birchmere
The Birchmere is another of the historic jazz clubs in the DC area that has gained international renown. The Birchmere opened the year after Blues Alley and hosts about sixty jazz shows every year. Although this venue has plenty of space for jazz fans to watch the top performers in the industry, it maintains an intimate feel that makes it easy to get lost in the music.
When you visit The Birchmere, you truly get an opportunity to steep yourself in jazz history. The club has developed its own brand of funkier urban jazz that’s unique to this area. The Birchmere regularly hosts Brian Culbertson, Boney James, Maysa, and other performers who have been instrumental in shaping that sound.
You can find the Birchmere across the river and a bit south of Circle Arms.
3. JoJo Restaurant Bar
JoJo Restaurant Bar is another ‘20s-style jazz bar in DC with an atmosphere that embodies the casual elegance of jazz music. This venue has been open for nearly twenty years and has hosted a variety of amazing jazz artists in its time. There are shows at JoJo every Tuesday through Sunday night, and they recently added a piano bar on their third floor.
JoJo has the sort of elegant soul food you could only find at a jazz restaurant. Blackened salmon is served alongside bacon-wrapped shrimp, and baby back ribs come prepared in a bourbon barbeque sauce. You can find JoJo just up the street from Rocksboro and Sixteen Hundred Apartments.
4. Twins Jazz
Twins Jazz is an intimate venue that can only seat 100 people or so. But believe us when we say you won’t want to miss the experience of hearing some of your favorite jazz musicians play in such a small space. Everyone from local jazz musicians to none other than Stevie Wonder has graced the stage of Twins Jazz.
This amazing venue also offers a fantastic dinner experience thanks to its internationally themed menu. You can enjoy dishes from Ethiopia, the Caribbean, or the good old US of A. They also have a spectacular bar that offers the perfect drinks to sip on as you get up-close and personal with some of the jazz greats.
Like JoJo, Twins Jazz is easily accessible from Rocksboro and Sixteen Hundred Apartments, as well as The Rodney and 1830R.
5. The Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club
The Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club has been a staple on the DC jazz scene for nearly a century. Built in the 1930s, this jazz club started out as a local movie theater before transitioning into its current purpose in 2013. You can still experience some of the nostalgia of the old theater if you choose to sit in the theater seating, rather than the dining area.
The Bethesda offers dinner starting two hours before the show and continuing throughout the evening. You can get delicious continental dishes, including shrimp and grits, herb-crusted salmon, a summer veggie pasta, and more.
Connecticut Avenue apartments are our closest location to The Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club.
6. Columbia Station
Columbia Station is the perfect place to experience jazz in a more casual, laid-back environment. This venue has a comfortable atmosphere where you’ll be just as welcome in jeans and a t-shirt as in your Sunday best.
You can enjoy some of the best jazz performances in the city while still enjoying a Friday night hanging out at your favorite bar.
Columbia Station’s menu is down-to-earth and delicious, featuring pizza, burgers, pasta, and sandwiches. You can grab a drink at the bar before grabbing a seat to hear the band play – we recommend trying the Billy Holiday Tini or the Fats Manhattan. You can also go snag a spot on the patio and enjoy an evening out on the town.
The Rodney, 1830R, Rocksboro, and Sixteen Hundred Apartments all provide easy access to Columbia Station.
Discover More Jazz Clubs in D.C.
Washington, DC, has one of the most thriving jazz scenes in the country, with dozens of jazz venues spread out across the city. Enjoy the more historic side of the jazz scene at JoJo, The Bethesda, or Blues Alley. Or mix it up a little with a stop at The Birchmere, Columbia Station, or Twins Jazz.
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