Greenwich Village has been home to artistic evolution since the Bohemian beatnik heyday and the best old-fashioned jazz clubs in New York have remained loyal residents since.
Guest blogger Hatty Copeman gets down and dirty in the best jazz bars in Greenwich Village. And be sure to check out the full Hg2 New York city guide for more travel inspiration.
Having opened in 1935, this pillar of the Greenwich Village jazz club community has hosted the best and most affluent performers for the last eight decades. A list of previous performers reels off like an encyclopaedia of the top jazz musicians, and the Village Vanguard has been recognised for its excellent acoustics, which add flavour to the live Village Vanguard albums recorded here. These albums, a staple to any jazz lover’s collection, have included big names like Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Bill Evans and Art Pepper.
178 Seventh Avenue, +1 212 255 4037. Doors open at 8pm, sets start at 9pm and 11pm.
Arguably the most famous and classic jazz club in Greenwich Village, Blue Note has hosted an array of top musicians, including the likes of Dave Brubeck, Ray Charles, Manhattan Transfer, Dr. John, Chick Corea, David Sanborn, Cecil Taylor and Charlie Haden. Its intimate environment, exceptional acoustics and show stopping performances are a few reasons Blue Note prides itself on being “the jazz capital of the world.”
131 W 3rd Street, +1 212 475 8592. Doors open at 6pm.
Smalls Jazz Club
Although the club’s name was borrowed from the iconic 1920s Harlem venue, this spot is the epitome of a Greenwich Village jazz cellar. Smalls Jazz Club hosts up-and-coming performers, such as Stacy Dillard, whose styles range from the post-bebop genre to traditional swing. With its dark, intimate environment, exposed brick walls and assorted wooden chairs Smalls feels like the quintessential Village jazz club.
183 West 10th Street, +1 212 255 5091. Open daily 7.30pm-4am.
This good-time, bopping, live jazz venue has been around since the 1940s and resided at the same Greenwich Village address for the last 60 years. Dark and cosy, Arthur’s Tavern offers free entry with a two-drink minimum purchase. When the dive originally opened, it was the place to go and check out performers just before they made it and today Arthur’s hosts a similar level of acts. Performances include Eri Yamamoto’s piano slot in the early evening every Thursday to Saturday.
57 Grove Street, 1+ 212 675 6879. Open Sunday and Monday from 8pm and the rest of the week from 6:30pm.
This brother-sister owned jazz joint was legendary during the ’40s and hosted performances by Billie Holiday and Thelonius Monk, who was the house pianist. Zinc Bar looks like a Bogie gin joint with its art-deco engraved glass and stainless-steel bar with vintage decanters and a classic champagne cooler. Nowadays a variety of jazz genres are performed including Latin jazz, cabaret, African jazz and Brazilian Bossa Nova and Samba. Patrons ranging from students to jazz devotees come in flocks to enjoy the esteemed music.
82 West 3rd Street, 1+212 477 8337,. Open daily from 6pm.
Hatty Copeman is a freelance travel journalist from London and currently based in Barcelona, where she writes about cities art, music, food and places to see from an insider’s point-of-view. Find her at hattycopeman.com or on Twitter @hattycopeman