There’s nothing to make you feel more sophisticated than being surrounded by the smooth and sultry sounds of live jazz. It’s the wine of music, where you instantly feel that much more cultured, refined and couth just being in its presence. It has the funky groove of New Orleans and the suave vibes of 1920’s New York, both of which can be enjoyed right here in Manchester. The city is dominated by indie-pop and electronic music, but Manchester reserves some of itself for live jazz – thanks to a handful of dedicated clubs dotted around the city. Here you can escape and unwind, cocktail in hand of course, as a saxophonist croons beneath dim lights. Sold yet? Us too! Discover the best jazz clubs in Manchester here.
Manchester’s Jazz Clubs
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See All Events at Matt & Phreds Jazz Club
The most popular place in Manchester to listen to live jazz; Matt and Phreds has a gig almost every night of the week. It’s a well known hot spot of the trendy Northern Quarter, signalling to passersby with its glowing neon sign. Inside, the club sports brick red walls covered in artwork dark wooden floors. Paired with its range of private nooks and little candlelit tables, Matt and Phreds has an intimate and cosy feel to it. It’s a warm and casual but chic place to go out. There’s no dress code, but feel free to dress up or down as you’ll find other gig-goers of both.
It’s well worth reserving a table in advance so you can indulge in one of their pizzas or sharing plates. If you go during happy hour, you can grab a pizza for FREE if you buy two alcoholic drinks! Trust us, it’s a mega bargain! You can also perch at the bar if tables are occupied, watching the bartenders serve up a range of cocktails, beers, spirits or one of their fantastic wine selections. Happy hour also includes a range of 241 deals on cocktails too – another fantastic treat if you ask us!
Matt and Phreds brings in a range of musicians, encompassing the likes of salsa, swing, folk, gypsy, brass and more into its jazz-focused programme. It’s been known to host some of the best, where big names like Adele and Jamie Cullum have played there in years gone by. Most Mondays are retained for jams, and Saturday nights are polished off with Lockie’s DJ Lock In from 11.45pm til close. They also host special events during Manchester’s range of festivals – particularly Manchester Jazz Festival, or on various bank holidays.
Address: 64 Tib St, Manchester, M4 1LW
How to get there from Manchester Piccadilly: Matt and Phreds is approximately 5 mins’ walk from Piccadilly Gardens or between 10-15 minutes’ from Manchester Piccadilly Train Station.
Opening times: Monday – Thursday (6pm – 1am), Friday and Saturday (5pm – 2am). The venue is closed on Sundays.
Capacity: Approx 200
You can feel the bar’s history as soon as you walk inside. The building was a Georgian-style house and bares a vintage texture. It’s much quirkier than it is polished, and it’s a great backdrop to listen to funk and soulful jazz. Lots of people flock to Sandbar, particularly academics and students from the nearby universities. But far from being a typical raucous student haunt, Sandbar is chilled out, polite and welcoming.
Though it’s not specifically a ‘jazz venue’, it frequently holds jazz gigs and jams. It’s a prime place to enjoy live music while grazing and catching up with friends. The food at Sandbar is worth the trip alone, dishing out a broad range of stonebaked pizzas from 12pm – 10pm. Whisky lovers will also love its selection of over 200 bottles to try.
Address: 120 Grosvenor St, Manchester, M1 7HL
How to get there from Manchester Piccadilly: The venue is around 10-15 minutes’ walk from Manchester Piccadilly Train Station.
Opening times: Sunday – Wednesday (12pm – 12am), Thursday (12pm – 1am), Friday and Saturday (12pm – 2am).
In the neighbourhood of Chorlton, a popular bohemian area full of bars and eateries, The Hillary Step enchants jazz lovers every Wednesday and Sunday. Promoting the slick and smooth musical genre in the region, The Hillary Step hosts gigs that feature many jazz musicians from across the North West alongside those on tour in the area.
The vibes very much reflect the district’s, which is relaxed, laid-back and local. It’s more of a pub than a formal bar, with big comfy sofas, large tables to enjoy food, outdoor seating for lazy afternoons in the sun, dog-friendly policies and community spirit. As a microbrewery, The Hillary Step guarantees a fantastic selection of ales.
See other nights out in Chorlton (LINK)
Address: 199 Upper Chorlton Road, Manchester, M16 0BH
How to get there from Manchester Piccadilly: A little too far to walk (approx 55 mins), The Hillary Step is best reached via bus (86) or a tram to Firswood.
Opening times: Sunday – Thursday (4pm – 11.30pm), Friday and Saturday (12pm – 12.30am).
On the other end of the scale, The Living Room is glamorous and elegant. It’s a place where you can really dress up, whether it’s a date or night out with friends. Though the venue is primarily a restaurant and cocktail bar, you can regularly hear live jazz and blues weekly. It’s a spot mainly frequented by diners, but its range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails are worth the visit alone.
Situated on stylish Deansgate, The Living Room is a luxurious backdrop to listen to jazz – cocktail in hand of course. The interior is adorned with 1920’s Art Deco flair so perfect for channelling Fitzgerald’s coined term the ‘Jazz Age’. Blush pink velvety armchairs, chandeliers, monochrome flooring, skylights and a well-stocked bar – do you really need anything else?
Address: 80 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 2ER
How to get there from Manchester Piccadilly: A free bus run by First in Greater Manchester will take you directly outside in about 15 minutes, or alternatively you could walk there in just under 20 minutes.
Opening times: Monday and Tuesday (11am – 12am) Wednesday and Thursday (11am – 1am) Friday and Saturday (11am – 2am) , Sunday (12pm – 12am).
Follow The Living Room to receive alerts for upcoming events. (LINK)
See All Events at La Gitane
A hidden secret in Manchester, La Gitane is one of the city’s newest places to hear jazz. Cafe Istanbul revived the club, where it formerly occupied the spot of The Liar’s Club nearby in the 1990s. Sacit Onur who formerly ran La Gitane, relaunched the club – but this time with the help of Matt Nickson. Nickson is the name behind Manchester’s leading jazz venue – Matt and Phreds. He teamed up with Cafe Istanbul to help build the programme for La Gitane and further promote jazz in the city. Even spotted playing there himself, La Gitane helps to disseminate jazz musicians from all around the North West. It hosts gigs Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 9pm until late.
Described by Visit Manchester as a basement club, La Gitane has a great underground feel – simply a cool new haunt for jazz lovers. Though it claims to operate a smart dress policy, you don’t need to be in suit and tie unless you feel like it. The vibe is also laid back and friendly, making you instantly feel welcome. La Gitane evokes a 1920’s speakeasy club in all the senses; it’s located in a cellar beneath Cafe Istanbul and its interior is low-lit, intimate and layered with black and white photos of musicians. If you haven’t tried it yet – we certainly suggest you do!
Address: 79-81 Bridge Street, Manchester, M3 2RH
How to get there from Manchester Piccadilly: A free bus run by First in Greater Manchester will take you directly outside in about 7 minutes followed by a 4 minute walk after you get off, or you could walk all the way there in just under 20 minutes.
Opening times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays (gigs are from 9pm – 2am)
Follow La Gitane to receive alerts for upcoming events. (LINK)
Places to listen to jazz in Manchester
There are plenty of spots that aren’t necessarily dedicated to jazz, but often host jazz musicians. Manchester is a very eclectic city, and most of its venues are too – so it’s definitely worth checking out these other clubs and venues for any upcoming jazz gigs in Manchester. Try venues such as Gorilla, Band on the Wall or the Night and Day Cafe for more options.