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Posted by on Jan 15, 2016 | 31 comments

5 Great Places for Jazz Music in Dallas

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

5 Great Places To Listen to Jazz In Dallas, Texas


18th & Vine

Serving up Kansas City style BBQ and live music in a renovated frame house, 18th & Vine (named for the Kansas City history) is a cozy new addition to the Dallas food and music scene. Upstairs is The Roost, where the music happens, and from the looks of the place on a Wednesday night, the concept of “Que and food works.

5 Great Places for Jazz in Dallas Texas

Wednesday night at The Roost

The Roost is just big enough to be comfortable but not feel vacant on a slower night. Though the live music is found exclusively in the Roost, you can also order food there (downstairs is dedicated solely to the Que).

Dave Monsch is at the Roost every Wednesday with a jazz trio or a quartet. Other nights you’ll find blues, singer-song-writer duos, or other jazz musicians. The place has a hip but relaxed vibe and the single thing I look for, is it the kind of place where anyone could be comfortable? Definitely.

18th & Vine
4100 Maple Ave.

5 Great places for Jazz in Dallas, Texas @Penny Sadler 2015 Shelley Carol with Jackie, Max Gerl and Todd Parsnow in front of 8 Bells Alehouse.


8 Bells Alehouse

8 Bells Alehouse is located near Fair Park and has a very warm and casual vibe, much like a European pub. This is the sister restaurant of 10 Bells Tavern in Oak Cliff, located in the space formerly known as New Amsterdam. You’ll notice it looks similar, but better. The new owners have added a kitchen serving up really good pub food, and the prices are easy on the wallet. The same great patio out back also benefits from some updating.

Every Sunday night is jazz night with legendary sax player, Shelley Carrol. If you live in Dallas and you’ve never heard Shelley Carol play, all I can say is, get thee over there immediately. No excuses.

Note: There is a two drink minimum. You don’t have drink alcohol, but you do have to order something. You can chose to dine if you don’t want to order drinks, which I recommend.

8 Bells Alehouse
831 Exposition Ave.
Dallas, Texas

Chocolate Secrets

Jason Bucklin and Terry Hankins on guitar Chocolate Secrets @PennySadler 2013

Update: There is still live music Wednesday through Saturday, however Jason Bucklin and Terry Hankins are not always there. Check the website for updates.

Chocolate Secrets, located on the edge of Highland Park (almost in 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.

Chocolate Secrets
3926 Oak Lawn
Dallas, Texas

5 Great Places for Jazz in Dallas Gourmet chocolates at Chocolate Secrets, Dallas, Texas @PennySadler 2013



5 Great Places for Jazz @PennySadler 2013

Tuesday Nite Jazz

Robert Swann produces the Tuesday Nite Jazz series at the historic St. Paul United Methodist Church. Robert is a well known figure in the Dallas jazz scene and recruites top musicians for his weekly series. Needless to say the acoustics at St. Pauls are excellent.

1816 Routh Street

5 great places for jazz in Dallas @PennySadler 2013



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 small, 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.

Buzzbrews Kitchen
Deep Ellum
2801 Commerce St.
Dallas, Texas

Jason Bucklin on jazz guitar Dallas, Texas @PennySadler 2013


Balcony Club

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.

Recently updated and remodeled the stage has been moved away from the entrance and some groovy tables and booths have been added – good for getting cozy. The new stage is consistent with the art deco architecture of the space and looks great.

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)
Dallas, Texas

Do you have anything to add? What have I missed? And if you’re in Dallas, let me know – we can go on a photo walk, and then listen to some jazz!

5 Great places for Jazz in Dallas,TX. @PennySadler 2103

Updated 8/7/2016
Chocolate Secrets has added paninis and a cheese plate to their menu. Stick to the chocolate, coffee and wine. They’ve also expanded and the new room is large with lots of tables but not much personality. I prefer the original rooms which are still there. However, the night I was there the musicians played in the new space. So, go for the wine, chocolate, and music. Great combo I think!

This article is updated again. I also have an added article Read: 5 More Great Places For Jazz

All materials ©PennySadler 2013-2016. Please, do not use photos without permission.

  1. Are these place hard to find a seat because me and my friend are coming from arkansas to dallas to celebrate my birthday. And would like to found a good jazz club to go to that have seats. It’s going to be ten of us. And if we have to get there early around what time.

  2. There is a true jazz venue created by a musician for musicians. It’s called The Kitchen Cafe. It’s located on Preston Rd in Addison. Also there is Stoney’s Wine Lounge and Times Ten in the lower Greenville Ave area.

    • Evelyn, I’ve heard of the Kitchen. It’s on my list. I’ve been to Stoney’s many times and it’s included in my other article 5 More Great Places For Jazz. There’s a link in this article which you have commented on. I live in the Lakewood area and have also been to Times 10 Cellars. Didn’t know that musicians owned Times 10. I’ll have to research that. I know they have wine.

  3. Sandaga is the best place in Dallas to check out live Jazz. No list of Dallas Jazz would be complete with including Sandaga.

    • Hey Jeffrey, thanks for pointing that out. I need to get over there.

  4. Please checkout Sandaga 813 Jazz Night every Tues 8:30p ’til 1am. Hot jazz every week!
    813 Exposition Blvd (up the street from the old Amsterdam Bar)

    • Thanks for the comment. Have been meaning to get to Sandaga.

  5. Are there some jazz places that have seats on Saturday nights?

  6. Do you typically find that most of these places are standing room only on Saturday nights? I was most curious about The Balcony Club and Chocolate Secrets.

    • Hi Jeanine
      It depends on the place. Chocolate Secrets you will be able to find a seat, you many not be able to see the musicians, also depends on what time you go.
      The Balcony Club is fluid. You usually don’t have to wait too long for a seat.

  7. First these are not jazz venues. Unfortunately dallas does not have a true jazz venue for those who know what real jazz is. Brooklyn’s jazz cafe was the closest but sadly they closes months back. Please don’t be mislead by the reviews above.

    • Hi John,
      Check it out. Any place where an event of any kind is held can be a “venue.” These are not exclusively jazz venues, but good, even great, jazz music can be heard in many places around Dallas that are not limited to jazz. I will be updating this article, as one of these venues is now closed. If you have any suggestions for great venues to listen to jazz in Dallas – meaning any place where great players are – I’d love to hear about it. Thanks for the comment.

    • The term “jazz” means different things to different people. I think this is a great article for the casual music fan that occasionally enjoys listening to some jazz. The venues mentioned are all great places to go to hear some excellent local musicians play live. I highly recommend the Balcony Club especially. But as more of a hard core jazz fan, I find Dallas frustratingly limited in it’s jazz offerings, especially compared to other major cities. So for me the assertion that Dallas is a great jazz city “where excellent jazz venues abound” is a bit misleading. But that is my take and I don’t mean to be negative about the article. I think it highlights some really wonderful places to hear good live music that many people may not know about.
      I would be interested in knowing the specific jazz tastes of the author. How do you define “great jazz”?

      • Hi Charlie, The Balcony Club is a great venue. I’m happy that it’s still around. I consider myself really lucky to personally know a lot of excellent musicians in Dallas. In fact, I think the number of excellent musicians of all genres of music that are from Texas is amazing! To me, any venue where excellent musicians play is a good venue. I’ve noticed that a lot of other excellent musicians often show up at these gigs as well. Since I don’t live and breath jazz (I like it, but I also like a lot of other genres of music), I find Dallas a nice surprise. That’s mainly what I meant to convey in this article – along with the fact that there are some truly great musicians here.
        Thanks for you comments! Where do you like to go? How do you define “hard core?”

  8. Thank you so much for posting this! The descriptions you provided were so vivid and inviting it made me feel as if I were there already. I’ve been looking for a good place to take my guy for a surprise date night. He used to be a nationally ranked trumpet player and I know Jazz music means more to him than I could adequately express. We’re currently long distance so when we do find time together we try and make it special. This was so perfect, thank you again for posting.

    • Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments. I’m sure you’d have a great time at any of these places; though some are more “date” like than others. Let me know when you go!

  9. SOHO Food and Jazz in Addison is great. Intimate, good drinks, good performers. Freddie Jones is known to frequent the place sometimes…watching him play two trumpets at one time was always cool.

    Not sure if Terilli’s is still open in Lower Greenville, but that place was always top notch.

    • Terilli’s has reopened and it’s really nice. I always forget about Soho because it’s a bit out of the way for me. Great place though.

  10. My husband would love this! I’ve done a lot of Jazz hopping in Newport Rhode Island and also the Jazz fest in New Orleans. Never been to Dallas.

    But we’re returning to NOLA and will hit some jazz clubs there, also with my kids.

    • Marina, I am working on a more indepth version of this story, so check back. Dallas is blessed with many amazing musicians, not only jazz, but many of them also play jazz. 🙂

  11. Wow Penny the new site is awesome. Also I had no idea there were this many places to find jazz in Dallas. Your images are great partial to B&W

    • Lots of people seem to feel the same. 🙂

  12. Never even thought to look into the jazz scene when I visited Dallas last fall, now I’ll know better!

    • The north Texas area as some of the best schools for musicians anywhere in the country, hence, great music and great jazz. 😉

  13. Never would’ve thought that Dallas had a thriving jazz scene, but it makes sense. Dallas is a great city!

  14. I’m sad to admit that I’m a Chicagoan who isn’t fond of jazz (and a former clarinet player, to boot!). It’s a shame because Chicago has so many great places with a lot of character that are known as Jazz bars. Especially timely with the release of Great Gatsby, and excellent pictures, Penny.

  15. Great slice of Dallas night life! I’ll save the good info to have in one spot look-up….

    • Paula, thanks and glad you found it helpful!

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