Jazz is having a moment here in Melbourne. With one of Melbourne’s best jazz clubs, Bennett’s Lane, having reopened last week after some impressive refurbishments and Hawthorn venue Lido Cinemas opening an evening jazz bar within its walls, it seems like everyone is loving the late-night jazz vibe. Keen to get in on the live music action? Here are the Melbourne jazz bars you should be do-wopping into right now.
Bennett’s Lane is Melbourne’s most famous jazz bar, having been heralded by some as the best jazz bar in the world, and it’s easy to see why. The CBD music venue has two rooms, both of which host exclusively jazz gigs from local and international names on the scene. Whether you’re taking in live music over a coffee or getting loose with a few glasses of wine, the caliber of what’s on show here guarantees a good night out. A Melbourne must-visit, whether you love jazz or not.
Uptown Jazz Café
Brunswick Street’s Uptown Jazz Café is hidden above street level, giving it a secret speakeasy vibe. You can just as easily grab an Asian-fusion meal here as you can prop yourself up on the bar with a cocktail as acts play, and the line-ups often include contemporary up-and-coming groups that bring something new to the Melbourne jazz scene. While most shows start at around 8.30pm, you’ll often find a second performance later in the evening too, making it the perfect stop-off for some live music after a few drinks in Fitzroy’s buzzing surrounds.
Lido Cinemas Jazz Room
Every Friday and Saturday night, a room hidden beneath one of Lido Cinemas’ screening rooms transforms into a downtown jazz club, showcasing some of the best jazz in town as curated by the Uptown Jazz Café team. At only $15 a ticket ($10 if you’re eligible for concession rates), it’s a bargain night out for music fans in a truly unique heritage-filled venue.
Paris Cat Jazz Bar
Situated behind Hardware Lane, Paris Cat Jazz Bar is one for you true jazz lovers. With a whooping three shows per night on Fridays and Saturdays, this place is regularly packed out with a mix of arty types (you’ll actually find beret-wearing, rollie-smoking jazz cats in here…) and those passing through for a one-off show. There’s delicious tapas available and, while the basement is great for intimate gigs, the larger loft area is absolutely stunning.
Okay, so The Botanical isn’t strictly speaking a jazz club, but the south-side eatery and bar does a cracking jazz night every Wednesday, when lounge-jazz quartet, the Orlando Combo, take to the bar for some bluesy tunes. One of our top recommendations for a more cultured mid-week date, or for a relaxed, moody glass of wine with friends while indulging in some aural pleasures.
Ruby’s Music Room
Also on Bennett’s Lane, Ruby’s Music Room is packed full of cocktail tables and chairs, Cuban trinkets and musical memorabilia. The set-up of the venue itself makes for a real music-lovers’ bar (as in everyone is here for the music, not just dropping in for a catch-up with mates) and, if you’re the dancing sort, Ruby’s also does an excellent live swing and tango night.
If big band showstoppers are more your thing, Dizzy’s on Richmond’s Burnley Street hosts live music at least nights a week. Pull up a bar stool, grab yourself a beer and settle in with a platter of sharing nibbles for some live jazz action.
For the latest and greatest in jazz venues in Melbourne, check out this article.
Image credit: Paris Cat Jazz Bar