Jazz in Washington D.C.

Jazz clubs and jazz music have a fertile history in Washington, D.C. The city is, after all, the hometown of Duke Ellington, Shirley Horn and Frank Wess, among other notable performers. Though U Street was the original epicenter of the D.C. jazz world, the live music trend now stretches to every corner of the city. Check out our list of the coolest spots to jive in the district. (Photo by Flikr user Peter Es)

Updated: July 26, 2010

Jazz Clubs in Washington, D.C.


1610 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

This 14th Street music cultural center--a nonprofit jazz house named after the 1987 House resolution that designated jazz as ?a rare and valuable national American treasure?--is a venue for both new talent and world-known artists. Another plus? HR-57 is BYOB (with a small corkage fee).

Twins Jazz

1344 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

This small but serious jazz club is one of the city's most famous venues for authentic live jazz and promises a great view of the stage no matter the seat. A menu of Ethiopian and Caribbean food choices compliments the laid-back, friendly environment.


1208 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Indulj combines U Street's characteristic jazz and southern-style cuisine on the lower level and thumping hip-hop upstairs. Groove to the beat of a live jazz band every Friday and Saturday night until 11pm.

Vegas Lounge

1415 P St NW, Washington, DC 20005

The club's patriarch, Dr. Blues, wanders the bar after his Saturday night performances to mingle with revelers at this Logan Circle music lounge. Recent renovations have refreshed Vegas Lounge without jeopardizing its classic charm.

Blues Alley

1073 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007

Nestled in an alleyway off of Wisconsin Avenue, this no-frills Georgetown landmark has hosted live jazz and blues music 360 nights a year since 1965. Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, and Grover Washington Jr. have all played at this historic venue.

Bohemian Caverns

2001 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

The walls of this U Street lounge are made from petrified wood to mimic an actual underground cavern. Here you'll find fantastic jazz talent and a small but appreciative crowd; it's where R&B legend Ruth Brown was discovered, where pianist Ramsey Lewis' recorded The In Crowd album, and where Earl Hines drew inspiration for his piece ?Cavernism."

Bossa Bistro & Lounge

2463 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Live jazz fuses with Latin American influences at this eclectic Adams Morgan restaurant/lounge. With live music on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday, as well as two levels of rotating art exhibits, Bossa draws a fun and creative crowd.

Cafe Nema

1334 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Since 1996, jazz musicians have jammed out at this basement-level U Street gem, where a mix of regulars and new faces enjoy Somalian-Mediterranean cuisine in a causal chic atmosphere. The Young Lions have played almost every Thursday night at Cafe Nema since 1997.