One of the true tests of a city is, in my opinion, great jazz. Along with excellent markets, fabulous architecture, and great food, jazz is a marker of a city I’ll return to again and again.
Luckily, I live in Dallas, where excellent jazz venues abound. Here are my five favorite places to listen to jazz.
Cafe des Artistes – Beautiful little cafe designed after the Brasseries of the La Belle Epoque. Located in One Arts Plaza, it’s right in the middle of the Dallas Arts District. There’s a terrific jazz ensemble lead by Adam Nguyen, that plays every Saturday night, adding to the Parisian ambiance. If smoking were still allowed, I think you just might feel as though you’d stepped into a time machine.
I especially like the bartender here and feel comfortable being on my own. There are always lots of folks stopping by on their way to the theater, opera or symphony.
You can check the website for hours and directions, but there is no information on the performers.
Cafe des Artiste
One Arts Plaza
1722 Routh St. Dallas, Texas
Chocolate Secrets, located in the Oak Lawn neighborhood, is a cozy little cafe offering wine by the glass or bottle, handmade Belgian chocolates, coffees, and desserts. It’s a romantic spot for a date night, or a small intimate group.
There is live jazz Wednesday through Saturday nights. Saturday is my favorite night, as friends Jason Bucklin and Terry Hankins play jazz guitar. Ask them to play some Beatles tunes for you.
Chocolate Secrets does have a full event calendar on their website, so check it out.
3926 Oak Lawn
The Amsterdam Bar is located near Fair Park and has a very casual and young vibe.
There’s a nice outdoor patio, and I hear the beer selection is amazing.
Monday night is jazz night, and you can often find legendary sax player Shelley Carrol there, with other great musicians. Definitely worth stopping in.
The Amsterdam Bar
831 Exposition Ave.
Buzzbrews is a tiny coffee shop that is a surprising venue for great jazz.
Sunday nights, you can catch the Rebel Alliance Jazz Ensemble, an 18 piece big band, packed into this unexpected Deep Ellum location. The place is tiny so if you are sound sensitive, you may want to sit in the back or take some ear plugs – you’ll still be able to hear, believe me! This music is fun and energetic – you’ll probably want to dance, and I’m pretty sure if you can find a spot, no one would mind. At the very least, you’ll be bouncing in your seats.
2801 Commerce St.
The Balcony Club , located above the Lakewood Theater in east Dallas, is a long time favorite, attracting an all ages crowd. On weekends there’s usually a bridal party or two, and always plenty of neighborhood locals. It attracts the famous and the not so famous, but it’s always friendly.
The website posts a calendar, but seriously, just go. It’s one of the coolest venues in Dallas, and they are open seven nights a week. Any night at the Balcony Club is a good night.
The Balcony Club
1825 Abrams (look for the art deco Lakewood Theater marquee)
Do you have anything to add? What have I missed? And, if you’re in Dallas, let me know – we can go on a photowalk, and then listen to some jazz!
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