Home Cultural Exploration 10 Great Places for Jazz in Dallas

10 Great Places for Jazz in Dallas

by Penny Sadler

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. Jazz in Dallas is perfection.

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.

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 most of the talent in Dallas have played both of those cities and then some. I’d go so far as to say that some of the best musicians in the world are in Dallas, Texas.

10 Great Places To Listen to Jazz In Dallas, Texas

UPDATED January 25, 2019 

 

Times 10 Cellars

Times 10 Cellars is a popular neighborhood wine bar serving better-than-average small plates, wine, and beer. The main room is warm and inviting, with a variety of tables for couples or groups. The sound is good in this room no matter where you sit. Or, sit at the bar and still hear and see whoever is playing that night.

Live music is on Sunday nights only from 4:00 – 7:00 PM.

They’ve got a great lineup of well-known Dallas jazz musicians. Dave Monsch, who I first caught up with at 18th & Vine is now playing Times 10 every third Sunday. But, seriously, any Sunday will be great! 

Wine geek tip: If you really love great wine and consider yourself an aficionado, don’t go for the wine. Here’s where you should go to experience the best Dallas wine.

Dave Monsch, Times 10 Cellars Dallas

Dave Monsch on sax

Times 10 Cellars
6324 Prospect Ave
214-824-9463
www.timestencellars.com

18th & Vine – currently no music in the Roost

Serving up Kansas City style BBQ and live music in a renovated frame house, 18th & Vine 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.

The Roost, jazz in Dallas

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. Check the website or call to find out about evening entertainment. 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.
http://www.18thandvinebbq.com/the-roost

Shelley Carol, jazz musician in front of 8 Bells alehouse 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.

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
www.eightbellsalehouse.com

Chocolate Secrets

Jason Bucklin and Terry Hankins on guitar Chocolate Secrets

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!

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

Chocolate Secrets does have a full event calendar on their website, so check it out.

Chocolate Secrets
3926 Oak Lawn
Dallas, Texas
www.mychocolatesecrets.com/calendar/
214.252.9801

Gourmet chocolates and jazz at Chocolate Secrets, Dallas, Texas

 

 

Tuesday night jazz in Dallas

Tuesday Nite Jazz in Dallas

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
www.tuesdaynitejazz.org

Routh Street jazz venue

 

Buzzbrews

Buzzbrews is a tiny coffee shop that is a surprising venue for great jazz in Dallas. On 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
buzzbrews.com
214.741.2801

Jason Bucklin on jazz guitar, buzzbrews kitchen

 

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
214.826.8104
balconyclub.com

STONEY’S WINE LOUNGE

Stoney’s has a very small cover charge on weekends. Very small. I also discovered that Diane is an excellent jazz singer. 

Max Naseck Trio playing at Stoney's Wine Lounge

Max Naseck Trio at 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
6038 Oram
stoneyswinelounge.com

SCAT JAZZ LOUNGE

Shelley Carol at Scat Jazz Lounge Dallas

Shelley Carol at Scat Jazz Lounge, Ft. Worth

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 here.

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.

Jazz in Dallas, Texas @PennySadler 2014

Scat Jazz Lounge
111 W. 4th Street #11
Ft. Worth
scatjazzlounge.com

TABLE 13

Scatt Jazz Lounge, Dallas jazz venue

photo courtesy of Table 13

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.
Addison
table13addison.com

THE FREEMAN

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.

The Freeman
2626 Commerce St.
freemandallas.com

EDDIE V’S JAZZ IN DALLAS

Eddie V's lounge atmosphere

Eddie V’s, photo courtesy of Melanie Skybell

This place 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.

Eddie V's photo

Eddie V’s, photo courtesy of Melanie Skybell

Eddie V’s
4023 Oak Lawn Ave.#110
Eddiev.com

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

 

10 Great Places for Jazz in Dallas

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31 comments

tonya August 29, 2016 at 4:48 am

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.

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Penny Sadler September 2, 2016 at 11:36 am

Not at all! Google is your friend

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Evelyn April 26, 2016 at 10:34 am

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.

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Penny Sadler April 26, 2016 at 3:06 pm

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.

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Jeffrey Douglas April 25, 2016 at 9:45 pm

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

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Penny Sadler April 25, 2016 at 10:28 pm

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

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S-Ankh Rasa September 13, 2015 at 10:39 pm

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)

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Penny Sadler September 13, 2015 at 11:16 pm

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

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Jeanine Stevens November 9, 2014 at 10:26 am

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

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Jeanine November 9, 2014 at 10:25 am

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.

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Penny Sadler November 9, 2014 at 1:04 pm

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.

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John March 8, 2014 at 8:37 pm

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.

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Penny Sadler March 8, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Hi John, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/venue
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.

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charlie P April 4, 2014 at 11:51 am

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”?

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Penny Sadler April 6, 2014 at 8:06 pm

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?”

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Lacee February 17, 2014 at 8:25 pm

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.

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Penny Sadler February 17, 2014 at 8:35 pm

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!

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Foster December 7, 2013 at 6:53 pm

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.

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Penny Sadler December 7, 2013 at 7:48 pm

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.

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Marina K. Villatoro August 1, 2013 at 12:27 pm

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.

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Penny Sadler August 1, 2013 at 7:46 pm

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. 🙂

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Stephen Finn July 30, 2013 at 3:50 pm

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

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Overnight New York (@HotelreviewsNYC) June 28, 2013 at 2:14 pm

These look great — especially those sculpted chocolates at Chocolate Secrets. Jazz and chocolates — who can go wrong?

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Penny June 28, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Lots of people seem to feel the same. 🙂

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Sandra Foyt June 12, 2013 at 10:07 am

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

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Penny June 12, 2013 at 11:00 am

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

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Sandra Foyt June 11, 2013 at 7:43 pm

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

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wanderingeducators June 10, 2013 at 3:15 pm

what fun places!!

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Cat of Sunshine and Siestas June 10, 2013 at 4:26 am

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.

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Paula Good June 8, 2013 at 10:19 pm

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

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Penny June 9, 2013 at 8:07 am

Paula, thanks and glad you found it helpful!

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