jazz bar shoreditch
Bars & Nightlife

The Best Shoreditch Jazz Bars

15th January 2021 · by Jon Stapley
Best Shoreditch jazz bars
Image by Lucas Allmann

Nothing beats the atmosphere of a jazz bar, and Shoreditch jazz bars are some of the best in the city. From hidden basement clubs to roaring speakeasies, there are loads of incredible spots in East London for anyone who wants to enjoy a night of soulful jazz and fine drinks.

London is one of the cultural capitals of the world, overflowing with musicians and artists of every stripe, making cultural hubs like shoreditch the perfect place to discover a new artist or hear some old favourites.

Of course, times are tough at the moment for arts, nightlife and venues, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic necessitating severe restrictions for London. Many of the venues we’ve listed here have postponed their slate of events, so check out their websites and sign up so you can be first in the know when things start moving again.

We’ve put together this guide to sort through the huge array of options on offer, and help you to find the best Shoreditch jazz bars for an unforgettable night out.

The A-Z of the best Shoreditch jazz bars

The Blues Kitchen Shoreditch

Sister venue to the famous Blues Kitchen in Camden, this Shoreditch venue sits on Curtain Road. The team here specialise in serving up Texas-style BBQ food to munch while enjoying a cocktail or a smooth frosty beer and listening to the sounds of this week’s special musical guests. 

Best Shoreditch jazz bars: Blues Kitchen
There’s a regularly rotating bill of acts at the Blues Kitchen, Shoreditch

Past acts who have played the Blues Kitchen include the singer Mud Morganfield – son of legendary blues singer Muddy Waters – so it’s always worth checking the listings to see who’s on the slate. The venue hosts musicians in all sorts of different styles, so if you’re looking to specifically hear some jazz it’s worth making sure you’re rolling up on the right night. However, it’s unlikely you’ll have to wait for too long.

The Blues Kitchen is the perfect place to soak up some atmosphere of real southern soul. Sit back and enjoy the barbecued meat that has been lovingly slow-cooked over American hickory for up to 12 hours – we’d recommend the beef short rib, though you’ll have to make sure you have someone to share it with, as it’s served with a brisket mac and cheese, as well as corn ribs with crab butter. 

While you’re there, make sure you order a cocktail made with some good old-fashioned bourbon for a real taste of the American south!

134-146 Curtain Road, EC2A 3AR | 020 7729 7216 | theblueskitchen.com/shoreditch

Ninety One Living Room

The team behind the Ninety One Living Room are committed to being ahead of the curve. Recognising that our work, leisure and social lives are becoming ever more intertwined, the Ninety One Living Room is an amorphous space that, superhero-style, functions as a working space by day and a vibrant venue by night. Food, drinks, beats and dancing all under one roof.

Not only one of the best Shoreditch jazz bars, it’s also one of the most exciting spots for jazz in East London, hosting jazz nights every week on Friday and Saturday nights. Some of the acts that have taken to the stage include saxophonist Camilla George and trumpet player Mark Kavuma. The venue also hosts some of the city’s leading jazz-fusion DJs, including Jazz FM’s Gordon Wedderburn, so you can be sure that the party will extend well into the night.

jazz band shoreditch
A chance to see some of the hottest new names in jazz.

There’s plenty here to satisfy your hunger and slake your thirst. The house burgers come in meaty and plant-based varieties, so there will be something for everyone. There’s also an extensive cocktail menu, with well-priced concoctions made using whiskey, mezcal, rum, gin and more, though you can also ask for any classic cocktail you like. 

91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL | 020 7770 6107 | 91livingroom.com

Old Street Records

The motto of Old Street Records is simple – “live music… every freakin’ night”. Themed around a record store, it’s one of the premier destinations for audiophiles and those who live and breathe music. EP launches and takeovers are a fairly common occurrence at Old Street Records, and it’s a place where artists like to unwind as much as they like to play.

Best Shoreditch jazz bars: Old Street Records
Great music and cold drinks, what more could you want?

The basement space is where jazz resides, and it’s the perfect place to head to hear some great music beneath the bustling streets of Shoreditch. In terms of refreshment, there’s a simple but classic drinks menu, with a broad selection of cocktails as well as beers, wines and champagnes for any of you who might be celebrating the release of their newest EP. Food-wise, pizza is on the menu, and with loads of delicious options for meat-eaters, vegans and vegetarians alike, you’ll have all you need to fuel up for a night of soulful tunes.

350-356 Old Street, EC1V 9NQ | 020 3006 5911 | oldstreetrecords.com

Oriole

A sister venue to Shoreditch cocktail mainstay Nightjar, Oriole can be found just a little way into the City of London, in Smithfield Markets. It can be a bit of an eerie adventure to find as you walk through eerily quiet Smithfield of an evening, but once that door swings open and you hear those bluesy notes from the music below, you’ll know that you’ve found exactly what you’re looking for.

Oriole regularly puts on live music and jazz and blues form a central part of the line-up, meaning it’s likely a good place to stop for some jazz and cocktails. It’s got a loose speakeasy theme, with a candle-lot atmosphere that provides a wonderful haven for music and drinks. Its cocktails have a global theme, with specialty spirits from many different countries, so you can kick back and enjoy a little culture in your glass. Food-wise there’s loads on offer, from bar snacks and small plates to larger, substantial meals. If you’re planning on eating, it’s worth taking advantage of the “Dinner & Show” special offers, which let you pay a flat rate that includes your food and the cover charge, as well as a cocktail.

East Poultry Avenue, Smithfield Markets, EC1A 9LH | 020 3457 8099 | oriolebar.com

Ruby’s Jazz Bar and Lounge

Keep heading north from the centre of Shoreditch into Dalston and you’ll come across Ruby’s Jazz Bar and Lounge, a live jazz venue that’s dedicated to bringing the vibe of 1950s jazz to East London. With live music on most nights, there will pretty much always be something to see; you can reserve a table to see a more established act on the weekend, or rock up on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday for the Dalston Jazz Jam. This is a jam session where guest musicians play with the house band, and is a great way to make sure you see and hear something unique.

live jazz night london
The famous “cinema” sign outside Ruby’s. For a fee, you can add your own message!

With an extensive menu of cocktails, Ruby’s will surely have a tipple to tempt every guest. Start out in the Cocktail Bar to sample one of the many drinks on offer, then when you’re ready, head through to the Lounge Bar to enjoy some music. If you’re stuck for what to order, the Chilli Apple Martini is a house creation that’s something of a local legend. Food is limited to bar snacks, so grab a bite before you pitch up (there’s no shortage of good kebabs nearby).

76 Stoke Newington Road, N16 7XB | rubysdalston.com

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