Dallas is a great city for listening to live music and you can literally go out to a different place every night of the week. I continue to be amazed at the number of extremely talented musicians in this city. Since the 1920s Dallas has been a hub for great musicians of all genres and thankfully, the tradition continues.
Another thing, in most large metropolitan areas a night out listening to live music could get rather expensive. Every venue on this list is free. That would be unheard of in a city like Los Angeles or New York, and the talent in Dallas – most have played both of those cities and then some. I’d go so far as to say some of the best musicians in the world are in Dallas, Texas.
Not all of these venues are technically in Dallas, nor or they strictly jazz, but they are unique in some way and offer live music. Good ambiance is important too, though it does seem that good music and good ambiance just go together.
Great trio on Thursday nights at Eddie V’s – Rachel Vonne. The bar is relaxed and the service excellent. I had an appetizer but the full menu is available at the bar. Happy hour menu is available until 7:00 pm. Excellent place for a date or quiet dinner with friends. I’ll be going back.
Without Further Ado, 5 More Great Places For Jazz in Dallas
STONEY’S WINE LOUNGE
Stoney’s Wine Lounge. Stoney and his wife Diane have been a part of the Dallas music scene for a long time, and have created a cozy neighborhood wine bar where live jazz happens on Friday and Saturday nights. They know pretty much everyone in the Dallas jazz world, and more than a few people internationally, which means they get great players at Stoney’s. I love the comfortable sofas scattered around and the variety of tables to accommodate couples or larger groups.
They have a small but select offering of wines by the glass, bottle, or to take home. I also like that they serve some appetizers to go with the wines – very civilized. There’s an easygoing atmosphere and good wine selection, which makes this one of my favorites.
Stoney’s Wine Lounge
SCAT JAZZ LOUNGE
Scat Jazz Lounge is located in Fort Worth (about thirty minutes from downtown Dallas). If you are in the area and want more of a big city feeling (think NYC or LA), but off the grid club experience, the Scat is the place to go. I loved the retro vibe, the small room, and the speakeasy atmosphere. While it would be a great place for a date, it’s also fine if you’re just with friends or on your own.
Top local players like Shelley Carol are regulars. If you’ve never seen and heard Shelley Carol romancing the saxophone you are missing out. Shelley was the band leader for Duke Ellington Orchestra and is an icon on the jazz scene. I recently discovered that he also plays flute and sings! He’s an absolute monster. One of the most talented and accessible musicians anywhere.
Another important detail about the Scat: you can’t find it! That’s right, the entrance is down a small alley and then you have to take an elevator to the main entrance. The hipster in you will love it. Be sure to check the calendar as they are not open every night and some nights there is a cover charge – it’s worth it! If the Scat Lounge were in Dallas, I’d be a regular.
Scat Jazz Lounge
111 W. 4th Street #11
Table 13 is a new addition to the restaurant/lounge scene, with live music six nights a week. The owners aim to create a 1960s Vegas vibe with plush quilted leather booths and acts like Ricki Derrick and Hunter Sullivan. The menu has some traditional retro offerings, including cocktails like the Scorpion, Zombie, Manhattan, and Brandy Alexander. Or dine on Steak Diane, Chicken Cordon Bleu and Shrimp Scampi (an old favorite of mine), and much more. The owners watch over every detail to make sure this is a unique dining and listening experience.
I went on a Thursday night and the place was packed, but the crowd thinned out around 10:00 pm. making it perfect for enjoying the music with fewer distractions.
Go for dinner with a date, or just go to the bar and hang out while romantic ballads, piano, or jazz classics fill the air with sounds that will take you back to the days of the Bratpack.
Happy Hour daily from 4:00 – 7:00 pm.
4812 Beltline Rd.
Located in the Deep Ellum neighborhood near downtown Dallas, The Freeman has live music seven nights a week and several different musical options each night! This is a great place to catch a variety of styles of music and some of the country’s best musicians. I recently saw guitar virtuoso Todd Parsnow there with Shelley Carol, and once again was blown away by the talent in Dallas, Texas. Todd toured with Grammy winner, Roy Hargrove. Do check the calendar because the Freeman hosts musicians from all over the world and it’s a chance to see some amazing talent in a really intimate venue.
The atmosphere is ultra casual and the stage is right up front. For the best seats get there early and sit at the bar or the tables on the side near the stage. Jazz, Swing, and Dixieland daily from 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.
The Freeman has a full kitchen and dining room serving traditional New Orleans style cajun recipes. Happy Hour daily from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
2626 Commerce St.
Eddie V’s bills itself a jazz lounge with live music seven nights a week. Dallas jazz singer and pianist Melanie Skybell told me about Eddie V’s and is a regular on the entertainment calender there. Melanie is a talented composer as well and plays a lot of original material, along with crowd – pleasers from Ellington Songbook.
Happy Hour is usually very busy, and folks often drink cosmos or martinis with the appetizers on the happy hour menu. Later the lounge turns into a plush dinner spot. If you fancy dancing in front of the band or just chilling and listening, you’ll be right at home at Eddie V’s. By-the-way, Eddie V’s has locations across the country. Check it out.
4023 Oak Lawn Ave.#110
I’ll be adding more places as I have the time to review them and updating as well. Love to hear your comments and recommendations.
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