Where to Hear Live Jazz in Boston

Boston and nearby Cambridge have a long tradition of jazz music

Jazz at Wally's in Boston

 Lou Jones / Getty Images

Whether you're itching to see a marquee jazz musician or tomorrow's next big thing, chances are you can find a live jazz show to your liking in Boston.

Jazz and Boston go way back: Starting in the 1940s, the city got a reputation as a welcoming home for jazz musicians, with nationally lauded live venues and receptive crowds. All the legends made a point to perform in Boston, including Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and Charlie Parker, to name just a few.

Since then, the relationship between Boston and jazz has only strengthened, and especially so with programs at both the Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory.

Today, there are so many places to see good live jazz that you could visit a different Boston venue every night of the week.

01 of 09

The Beehive

The Beehive Boston
Courtesy of The Beehive Boston
541 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116, USA
Phone +1 617-423-0069

The Beehive, part of the Boston Center for the Arts, is a South End institution. Stop by to hear live jazz every night of the week, with a core lineup of blues players showcased each Sunday.  The comfort food-focused menu and tasty craft cocktails certainly add to the magic of this hot spot. 

02 of 09

Beat Brasserie

Beat Brasserie
Courtesy of Beat Brasserie
13A Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Phone +1 617-499-0001

Set in the heart of Harvard Square, the Beat Brasserie is technically not in Boston (it's in nearby Cambridge), but it deserves to be included on a list of the areas best jazz clubs. With a restaurant, bar and lounge, Beat Brasserie has a changing roster of jazz and blues musicians on the calendar, plus jazz brunches on the weekends.

03 of 09

Darryl's Corner Bar and Kitchen

Darryl's Corner Bar and Kitchen
Courtesy of Darryl's Corner Bar and Kitchen
604 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02118, USA
Phone +1 617-536-1100

Darryl's Corner Bar and Kitchen in the South End has outstanding soul food that makes it worth the trip. The live music with a diverse lineup of musicians makes it the perfect hangout. After all, who wouldn't want to chow down on gumbo, hush puppies, fried catfish, shrimp and grits, and other Southern specialties, all while being serenaded by a piano, bass and drum? 

04 of 09

Scullers Jazz Club

Scullers Jazz Club
Courtesy of Scullers Jazz Club
400 Soldiers Field Rd, Boston, MA 02134, USA
Phone +1 866-777-8932

If you've been to a jazz club in Boston already, most likely it's been at Scullers. The popular jazz venue celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2014, and the accolades continue to roll in. Over the years, it has continuously been praised as Boston's best jazz club, best live music venue, and best date spot from local critics (and the performing musicians themselves).

Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09

Wally's Cafe

Wally's Cafe Boston
John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
427 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02118-3508, USA
Phone +1 617-828-1754

Live music every day of the year is the motto of Wally's Cafe, the South End's legendary jazz club. Open since 1947, Wally's is the place to visit to get a sense of Boston's rich jazz history, and a sense of where these up-and-coming student musicians will take the scene in the future. There are jam sessions every night of the week, ranging from blues to funk to Latin jazz salsa. 

06 of 09

Les Zygomates

Les Zygomates
Scott Dexter / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
129 South St, Boston, MA 02111, USA
Phone +1 617-542-5108

The French love jazz, and if a trip to Paris isn't in the budget this year, get the next best thing in Boston with a night out at Les Zygomates near South Station. Offering a "strictly jazz" live music lineup Tuesday through Saturday nights, the wine bar/bistro/gallery creates a perfectly elegant night out, whether you happen to catch a solo jazz pianist or a full ensemble.

07 of 09

Lizard Lounge

Lizard Lounge
Courtesy of Lizard Lounge
1667 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138-1807, USA
Phone +1 617-547-0759

​Just outside Harvard Square, the Lizard Lounge is a hip, smart and swinging spot not to be missed. Soul, funk, blues, and jazz musicians regularly take the stage; there's also a weekly open mic night on Mondays if you want to see aspiring performers try out their new material. Choose from an extensive draft beer selection often featuring beer from local breweries from Cambridge and Maine. Or, opt for rare beer and ciders.

08 of 09


Courtesy of Charles Hotel
1 Bennett St, Cambridge, MA 02138-5707, USA
Phone +1 617-661-5000

The Regattabar at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge is always a treat. In addition to regularly featuring traveling musicians, the Regattabar hosts a courtyard series in summer spotlighting Berklee College of Music jazz musicians, as well as a kids' series to introduce little ones to jazz.

Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09

Celebrity Series of Boston

Celebrity Series of Boston

Celebrity Series of Boston 

This may not be a specific destination, but there are lots of options within this program for you to experience Jazz music. The Celebrity Series of Boston offers performances all over the Boston area, ranging from the Wang Theatre to the Berklee Performance Center. 

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Where to Hear Live Jazz in the Boston Area