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Get In The Groove At Dallas' 10 Best Jazz Joints



The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is no stranger to jazz music. After all, it's where you'll find the University of North Texas, one of the top institutions for jazz studies in the nation. The area is also home to Deep Ellum, a neighborhood once considered a hotbed for jazz and blues musicians. It's where legendary artists like Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker and Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter all got their start.

For those looking for an authentic jazz club experience, there's probably not a better place in the city to go than the Balcony Club, a venerable hole-in-the-wall joint that offers an incredible lineup of music seven nights a week. Esquire Magazine even named it one of “America's Top 100 Bars."

Then there's Sandaga 813, a bar and live music venue that's considered by discerning jazz fans and musicians alike to be the best spot for jazz jams in town. Even Wynton Marsailis and Erykah Badu have played gigs here.  

With live jazz, R&B, funk and pop on offer seven nights a week, you don't even need to worry about checking the schedule at Soho Food and Jazz, as there’s always something going on.

And though, Deep Ellum might not be the jazz mecca it was during the early 20th century, you can still find places like the Free Man Cajun Cafe and the Twilite Lounge keeping the music very much alive almost every night of the week.

If that's not enough to get you in the groove, check out 10 best's full list of Dallas jazz joints below, where there's sure to be a place to suit jazz lovers of every stripe.


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The Mansion Bar
Photo courtesy of The Mansion Bar


Nestled inside the iconic four-star Rosewood Mansion Hotel on Turtle Creek, the Mansion Bar is the ultimate debonair drinking den-- blending a wow-factor interior with snazzy bar bites and top-quality (albeit pricey) tipples. In fact, the building is actually the former residence of an ultimate debonair cotton magnate, Sheppard W. King— and the bar was originally King's dining room. It's definitely a see-and-be-seen type of place, but it's also one of the more elegant spots in the city to find free jazz (R&B and pop too) on offer Thursday through Saturday night. If you're looking for the perfect place to hole up in with a date, this is where you want to go.

Recommended for Jazz Clubs because: When you want to step out in style, the Mansion Bar is the best place to go.

Ilene's expert tip: Enjoy half-price wine by the glass, and discounts on select cocktails and beer during happy hour from 4-7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Read more about The Mansion Bar →




Welcoming like your local dive bar, but impressive enough to bring a date-- is exactly what the musician/owners of this Big Easy-themed drinking den set out to create when they opened it in 2012. But this isn't your typical dive bar, it's much more. From its classy decor, replete with red leather booths and chandeliers to its cozy French Quarter-style courtyard and a stellar list of libations— Twilite is just the kind of locale you can easily pass the night in. And with a steady stream of free entertainment, ranging from local jazz acts to DJ sets, karaoke and stand-up comedy, you probably will.

Recommended for Jazz Clubs because: Twilight Lounge covers all the bases: friendly people, great libations and an outstanding line-up of free entertainment.

Ilene's expert tip: Twilite Lounge offers daily happy hour specials from 4-8 p.m. and all-night drink specials throughout the week.

Read more about Twilite Lounge →


Stoney's Wine Lounge
Photo courtesy of Joey Stewart Photography


This neighborhood wine bar–bottle shop is as well known for its dedication to jazz as it is for it's carefully-curated (and surprisingly affordable)— wine selection. Which should come as no surprise since the place is owned by a couple of passionate oenophiles who also happen to be professional jazz musicians. Expect to find a variety of jazz, including open mic nights, Thursday through Saturday. And be sure to swing by on the weekend if you want to catch the owners, Stoney and Diana Savage, in action. Oh, and in case you want to take your wine experience to the next level, they offer wine tastings and wine education classes here too.

Recommended for Jazz Clubs because: Between the wine selection, music and ambiance, this spot will quickly become your new favorite go-to.

Ilene's expert tip: There is a $5 cover charge on weekends and try to get there an hour early (6:30 p.m.) if you want to snag a seat.

Read more about Stoney's Wine Lounge →


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Two Corks and a Bottle
Photo courtesy of Two Corks and a Bottle


With its handsome looks and pooch-friendly patio, this compact winery-cum-wine bar has plenty going for it. Here, grape aficionados can not only sample a variety of wine that has been hand-crafted on the premises—they can also custom blend their own bottles using grapes sourced from around the world. Red, white, sparkling, dry – whatever you fancy, it can be found here— as can a terrific line-up of live music (Wednesday through Saturday nights) that spans from country to classic rock, pop, show tunes and jazz. The entertainment options don't stop with music, keep an eye out for cabaret nights, pizza nights, psychic nights, paint parties—and of course— daily happy hours.

Recommended for Jazz Clubs because: For a chill evening filled with good wine and great entertainment, this is your happy place.

Ilene's expert tip: Score 25% off glasses of wine at Happy Hour, offered Tuesday through Friday. Plus, there's cheese and charcuterie available or you can order food to be delivered.

Read more about Two Corks and a Bottle →


Library Bar
Photo courtesy of Library Bar


If you are looking for a mind-blowing delicious cocktail in surroundings perfect for a romantic rendezvous or catch-up with friends, you've come to the right place. Tucked inside the lobby of the Warwick Melrose Hotel (a historic Dallas landmark dating back to 1924)-- this suave, shelf-lined drinking den is quite possibly the coziest place to sip a drink in the city. Not to mention, it's also where you can listen to a host of spectacular jazz musicians tickling the ivories six nights a week. And though you probably won't be reading any of the books in the shelves, you will want to be sure to read the drinks menu—which covers everything from crafted tipples to over 27 selections of wine by the glass.

Recommended for Jazz Clubs because: The Library Bar was named one of the "30 Iconic American Bars" by Business Insider.

Ilene's expert tip: There's never a cover charge to get in, and the Library Bar also offers half-price bites and beverages from 4-7 p.m., Sunday through Thursday. There is no charge for valet parking if you get your ticket stamped at the bar.

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The Free Man Cajun Cafe & Lounge
Photo courtesy of The Free Man Cajun Cafe & Lounge


Considering that Deep Ellum's historic roots lie in jazz and blues, it's only fitting that one of the premier jazz venues in town would be located here. Every night, beginning at 7 p.m., you'll find New Orleans-style jazz, swing and Dixieland musicians performing onstage. And then at the stroke of 10 p.m., the music switches over to everything from alternative rock to country, folk, punk and hip hop. Expect to see gigs from the likes of the Gypsy Playboys, La Pompe and The Freeloaders, whose lead singer happens to be the club's owner, John Jay Myers. But the Big Easy influence doesn't stop with music, the place also churns out New-Orleans inspired cocktails and a full repertoire of Cajun grub. Oh, and did we mention that all the shows are free?

Recommended for Jazz Clubs because: The Free Man is so popular that even other musicians hang out here when they don't have a gig.

Ilene's expert tip: The Free Man offers Happy Hour from 4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday with $3 drafts, $3 wells, and select half price appetizers.

Read more about The Free Man Cajun Cafe & Lounge →


SoHo Food and Jazz
Photo courtesy of SoHo Food and Jazz


If you like good food, artisanal cocktails and live music in an intimate setting—then you'll want to add this Addison gem to your bucket list. Expect to find a hive of activity every night of the week—starting with happy hour and continuing on through the evening— when an eclectic roster of musicians crank out everything from jazz to funk to pop. Equally diverse is the menu— which runs the gambit from Spanish tapas to Jamaican jerk duck breast, and baby back ribs. Shows are technically free, though the club enforces a $20 minimum purchase per person policy.

Recommended for Jazz Clubs because: Soho Food and Jazz is where to go when you feel like snuggling up with your beloved.

Ilene's expert tip: Great drink and food specials are on tap during Happy Hour, which is from 4-7:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday; and all day on Sunday and Monday.

Read more about SoHo Food and Jazz →


Chocolate Secrets
Photo courtesy of Chocolate Secrets


Artisanal truffles, bonbons and chocolate confections— what could be better? How about wine, craft beer, champagne floats, chocolate and jazz? That's right, every Wednesday through Saturday, from 7:30 to 11 p.m., this shop-cum-café comes alive with the sounds of live jazz and blues from the likes of Joe McBride; Luqman Rashada and Tatiana "Ladymay "Mayfield to name a few. Beyond the sweets, you'll find a compact list of more substantial offerings, think cheese platters, paninis, salads and savory crepes. If you're looking for a cozy, low-key date-night spot, Chocolate Secrets definitely takes the cake. Just make sure you come early, especially on weekends when seating is limited.

Recommended for Jazz Clubs because: Chocolates, desserts and live jazz in intimate surrounds, it doesn't get any sweeter than that.

Ilene's expert tip: Receive 20% off all wine bottles and glasses every Wednesday.

Read more about Chocolate Secrets →


The Balcony Club
Photo courtesy of The Balcony Club


As the saying goes, sometimes the best things come in small packages— which is undoubtedly the case with this pint-sized, 1,400 square foot— jewel of a jazz joint. And what this laid-back watering hole lacks in square footage, it more than makes up for in ambiance— and most importantly— live music— which is served up seven nights a week. The club's repertoire features both local and national jazz artists, including the likes of Lucky Peterson, Dave Zoller, Linny Nance and even the phenomenal Filter Kings. And it's not only jazz on tap here, but the musical genres also cover everything from R&B and soul to funk, classic rock and occasionally country. Not-to-be-missed are special events like the Open Blues Jam and Jazz Master Series.

Recommended for Jazz Clubs because: Potent cocktails and an incredible lineup of music seven nights a week— what's not to like?

Ilene's expert tip: Happy Hour is offered weekdays from 5-7 p.m. Also, it's free admission Sunday-Thursday, and only $5 to get in on the weekends.

Read more about The Balcony Club →


Sandaga 813
Photo courtesy of Sandaga 813


Lovers of smooth jazz 'n blues can't do much better than at this Exposition Park live music venue, which has a reputation for bringing in top-shelf talent from around the globe. Even musical heavyweights like Wynton Marsalis and Erykah Badu have played gigs here in the past. And Sandaga's regular roster of performers reads like a list of who's who on the local music scene as well, where regulars include Grammy Award-nominated artists, Shelly Carroll and Brad Leali. If jazz isn't your thing, no worries. The club also brings in DJs that spin everything from hip-hop and house to R&B and reggae. Did we mention they have a barbecue, hookahs and private cabanas too?

Recommended for Jazz Clubs because: Best live jazz venue in town. It's number one on the list, need we say more?

Ilene's expert tip: Sandaga offers a reverse happy hour during its Wednesday Night DFW Jam Session. Be sure to come early if you want to snag a seat.

Read more about Sandaga 813 →


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Meet Ilene Jacobs

As a perpetual wanderer, foodie freak and wannabe chef, Ilene is always on the lookout for the best places to see, eat, drink and sleep. When she's not writing about the latest happenings in...  More About Ilene

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