As Denver grows into a major city, arts and culture will expand as fast as the population. To get the full experience of a city, check out the jazz spots as they have been a hub for the city’s musicians, artists and free thinkers collect throughout the decades. In the prohibition era of the 1920s, Jazz clubs were the height of socialite culture; in the ’50s, they were dark and smoky rooms filled with counterculture revolutionaries who discussed the future; while the ’70s allowed jazz clubs to openly welcome minds and doors to people of all creeds and colors. 303 put together a few of our favorite jazz spots here in Denver so you know which spot will match your mood, company, budget and outfit. With influences from all over the world and all throughout history, there is a jazz club or event just for you.

Dazzle

Dazzle

Dazzle Jazz Lounge Photo Courtesy of Facebook

Where: Dazzle Jazz Lounge – 930 Lincoln St., Denver

Upcoming Events: See Calendar Here.

Price Point: $$ View Menu Here. 

Atmosphere: Walking into Dazzle, it seemed a little small, but do not let looks deceive you; the infamous club on Lincoln street has hosted both local and national acts in every genre. Drink menus were on every table in old vinyl cases and the space was old and too well lit, but shiny and well loved. After grabbing cocktails at the bar, we checked out the main venue around the bar. Contrasting the entry room, the venue space was dark, swanky and swathed in blue light. It easily channeled Paris in the ’60s with couples littering the room, seated close next to each other around small, round cocktail tables. Dazzle is known for booking tons of different styles of jazz, occasionally two in one night with the more traditional band taking the main stage and a more experimental set in the bar afterward. Having two shows gave the sensation of bar hopping without having to close out a tab.

Visit Dazzle on This OccasionEnjoy Dazzle with a good friend or two. Share a bottle of wine and dress in the style of “Mad Men” for the full effect. Reservations are recommended on weekends. 

Nocturne

lindsey bartlett

Nocturne Jazz Club. Photo by Lindsey Bartlett.

Where: Nocturne Jazz & Supper Club – 1330 27th St., Denver

Upcoming Events: See Calendar Here.

Price Point: $$$ View Menu Here.

Atmosphere: Nocturne’s unassuming entrance was almost hidden off of Larimer Street in the up-and-coming RiNo neighborhood. Once inside, the host stand was surrounded by heavy blue curtains; the hostess offered coat check and inquires as to if you are eating or just enjoying drinks. This decision was important because it determined your table size. As the hostess opened the curtains, we were instantly transported to 1920’s New York City. The ornate art deco style and details were classy and sleek and the bar stood against one wall and across the room was the stage. Nocturne books acts that fit with their high end aesthetic – you will not see a ton of experimental jazz or beginner bands here. It was easy to spend money at Nocturne with its curated menu offerings, craft cocktails and decadent interior.

Visit Nocturne on this Occasion: Nocturne is for celebrating with a loved one. Dress to the nines and savor a long night of food, drink, music and looking deep into someone’s eyes. Reservations are recommended. 

Jazz @ Jacks

Jazz @ Jacks - Courtesy of their Facebook Page

Jazz @ Jacks – Courtesy of their Facebook Page

Where: Jazz @ Jacks Denver Pavilions – 500 16th St., Denver

Upcoming Events: See Calendar Here. 

Price Point: $$ 

Atmosphere: Jazz @ Jacks was certainly the largest club on the list. Though squarely in the tourist segment of downtown, the club maintained a surprising amount of New Orleans flavor. The entryway was dedicated to a small bar with a couple of tables and a few seats at the bar top with a colorful mural of a musician on the wall. To get to the main stage area, you had to pass the coat check, ID checking station and makeshift gift shop along a narrow hallway, then the space exploded into a major room full of cocktail tables and a large stage. Jazz @ Jacks was certainly on the more corporate side of jazz clubs, but the extra space and consistency it offered made it a fun spot to see music. If you are craving jazz specifically, make sure to check the calendar or call ahead because Jazz @ Jacks also books a variety of musical styles or events such as karaoke, funk bands and line-dancing classes.

Visit Jazz @ Jacks on this OccasionPlay tourist with a big group of friends. This is the club to hit on a night when all your friends want to coordinate funny outfits and do something classy. 

Green Russell

Green Russell Photo Courtesy of Danielle Webster

Green Russell. Photo by Danielle Webster

Where: Green Russell – 1422 Larimer St., Denver

Upcoming Events: Live Jazz Sunday and Monday Nights at 7 p.m.

Price Point: $$ 

Atmosphere: One of the original speakeasy joints in Denver was still going strong – this intimate, underground bar had a secretive and intense vibe. The duo or trio of house jazz musicians played in the center of the bar and were very friendly. The drinks were strong and easily left you feeling like a mobster in prohibition era Chicago. There were some older families, a few scattered couples and a group that seemed to be regulars. Because the bar was seated only, there was no mingling, no cell phone use and no invasion of personal space, which created a relaxed and high class way to imbibe jazz music.

Visit Green Russell on this Occasion: Hit Green Russell Sunday night. It is a great date spot, plus Sundays are mellow and they offer a $12 buttermilk fried chicken and mashed potatoes special. Reservations are recommended. 

Jazz Night at Meadowlark Bar

Meadowlark - Photo Courtesy of their Facebook Page

Meadowlark – Photo Courtesy of their Facebook Page

Where: Meadowlark Bar – 2701 Larimer St., Denver

Upcoming Events: Live Jazz Every Monday Night at 10 p.m.

Price Point: $

Atmosphere: Enjoy the beatnik experience at jazz night at Meadowlark. The event started late and evoked the feeling of ’50s underground jazz in the Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco. Already at 10 p.m. it was standing room only. You could barely see the band from behind fans and the other musicians hoping to “drop in.” There were bigger cheers at Meadowlark than anywhere else on the list for talented playing and improvisation solos. The room was vibrant, youthful, and with the drinks flowing, it felt very alive. The talent that came through jazz night made it a must-see event though the party stretched energetically until 2 a.m. on a weekday night.

Visit Meadowlark Jazz Night on this Occasion: Check out Meadowlark with your musically minded friends. Push to the front of the crowd to dance and snap then sneak out to the patio to nurse a bottled beer and enjoy an enlightened conversation. 

El Chapultepec

Photo Courtesy of El Chapultepec Facebook Page

Where: 1962 Market St., Denver

Upcoming Events: See Calendar Here.

Price Point: $

Atmosphere: Denver’s oldest jazz and blues club sat squarely in the heart of LoDo, harking back to when downtown Denver was a mashup of Southern transplants, Okies fleeing the dust bowl and rowdy youth searching for opportunity. Even the first chapters of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road described a road trip from New York to Denver to check out the booming jazz scene here in the ’50s. El Chapultepec brought those pages to life as it maintained the vibe of a dingy bar during the rise of the counter-culture when Denver was just a small town with big ideas. Hit the ATM before you stop by because the bar is cash only and after a few cheap drinks, you might want some candy from the vending machine or to play pool. The club books lively jazz, blues and some rock acts throughout the month.

Visit El Chapultepec on this Occasion: Come as you are, this venue is a Denver gem and is perfect for a night out on the town, with no dress code and an intimate space. El Chapultepec is home to pure Denver jazz.

One Response

  1. Diana

    My friends and I are looking for a chill bar with a sexy acid jazz vibe, similar to the “city spirit cafe” of late 90’s
    Similar to Portishead, Tricky, Massive Attack or Jamiroquai…anyone?

    Reply

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