Uplifting, melodic and apparently good for your mental health, Jazz is one of the most celebrated music genres in the world. It is also a great accompaniment for a fun and sophisticated night out.
From lively to the laid back, here are some of the best bars playing jazz in Portland, Oregon (in no particular order)…
1 .The 1905 – one of the hippest weekend hangouts and Portland’s only full-time jazz club
The 1905 is one of Portland’s hippest hangouts for a weekend night. The small space is not your grandfather’s jazz bar, thanks to the updated, modern décor and top-notch cocktail menu.
However, in its quest for modernity, the 1905 has not abandoned what makes a jazz club great — the music. The space boasts that it is Portland’s only full-time jazz club, with live performances every day of the week.
Those in the know come to The 1905 not just for the music, but also for the food. The bar makes its own artisanal pizza and Italian small plate. Enjoy music, great drinks, and top-notch food, all in one intimate space.
- 830 N Shaver St, Portland, OR 97227
2. The Jack London Revue – a perfect destination for a retro music night
Named after one of America’s most famous adventurers, this bar is the perfect destination for adventurers in search of a retro musical night. The speakeasy-like space in the basement of a historical building, the Alder Building, takes visitors back to the jazz age.
While the space may be retro, the offerings are anything not. The Jack London Revue highlights musical acts that are taking jazz and the whole musical diaspora in innovative directions, from local acts to national and international stars.
Besides excellent music, visitors can enjoy an array of small plates and cocktails that wouldn’t be out of place at an excellent speakeasy in the 1920s.
- 529 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97204
3. Afrodaddy’s Jazz – for a Friday night to remember
Afrodaddy’s Jazz is one of Portland’s newest jazz clubs, but it has the chops to keep up with the fiercest of competitors.
Although Afrodaddy’s is only open once a week, it makes up for this by making each Friday night a night to remember.
The immaculately curated set list only features the best in jazz, both local and more far-flung. Plus, Afrodaddy’s is the first jazz club owned by a woman of color in the Northwest, honoring the lineage of the people who invented jazz.
- 1383 NE 181st Ave, Portland, OR 97230
4. Wilf’s Restaurant & Jazz Bar at Union Station – one of the best retro bars in Portland
Wilf’s full name may be a mouthful, but the people that brave the long name are rewarded with one of the best jazz bars in Portland.
The space is one of the best retro bars in Portland, with 1950s Americana-inspired décor and a rollicking lounge.
There is also a dining area where guests can eat upscale cuisine accompanied by live jazz. For dinner and music, this is the perfect destination for a romantic date in Portland.
- 800 NW 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97209
5. Jo Bar & Rotisserie – enjoy live jazz whilst dining
Jo Bar & Rotisserie is a sophisticated favorite for Portlanders. The restaurant is named after the composer Franz Joseph Haydn, showing how important music is to the crew behind this place. Every week, live jazz accompanies diners and people enjoying their night out.
Besides music, Jo Bar & Rotisserie is worth a visit for the food. Run by the same team as next-door restaurant Papa Haydn, Jo Bar specializes in excellent dishes made from quality ingredients.
Everything on the menu comes from the wood-burning oven and rotisserie. Pair your meal with some curated cocktails or local wines and listen to the band play on.
- 715 NW 23rd Ave, Portland, OR 97210
6. Arrivederci Wine & Jazz – a welcoming and sophisticated Italian-themed bar
Walking into Arrivederci Wine & Jazz feels like walking into a very sophisticated yet welcoming nonna’s house. The Italian-themed bar invites in visitors with its warm, cozy décor, complete with jazz-themed art pieces on the wall.
Once you enter, you’ll be enticed to stay by the excellent wine list and music. Arrivederci started as a wine bar and stays true to its list with a curated list of only the best domestic and international vintages.
Each wine goes well with the homemade delicious Italian food. With live music multiple times a week, any night is a good night here.
- 17023 SE McLoughlin Blvd, Milwaukie, OR 97267
7. Rialto Poolroom – old school décor which is straight out of another time
The Rialto Poolroom is an establishment straight out of another time. The old-school décor and pub menu seem designed for old-timers to walk in and start jawing.
You can even have fun with the billiards table and other classic pub games.
While the downstairs Jack London Revue is much more famous for its live music, the Rialto occasionally hosts jazz events as well. It is also worth a visit to feel as if you took a trip back in time to the jazz age.
- 529 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97204
8. Teardrop Cocktail Lounge – an exciting bar which combines jazz and excellent cocktails
Teardrop Lounge is one of Portland’s most exciting bars, thanks to the excellent cocktails.
Even in a mixology-obsessed town such as this, the Teardrop stands out with its combination of classic cocktails and unique new combinations, all made by mixologists who were active during the first wave of the cocktail revolution.
The soundtrack and musical experience at the cocktail lounge are also excellent.
If you’re looking to relax with a drink in hand and pretend that you are a jazz-age connoisseur, this is the perfect place to drink in that ambience along with the best of the modern cocktail revolution.
- 1015 NW Everett St, Portland, OR 97209
9. Clyde’s Prime Rib and Restaurant – an old school steakhouse with live music performances every night
Clyde’s is an old-school steakhouse, the likes of which are few and far between in Portland these days. Every detail, from the red booths and white tablecloths to the waiters who still carve your prime rib table-side, calls to mind the best of the vintage steakhouse era.
Besides an excellent menu (and cocktail list that deserves mentioning in any review), Clyde’s is also a stalwart supporter of the local music scene.
It hosts local acts every night of the week to entertain diners, and you can even work off some of the calories at the dance floor. Acts include jazz musicians, big bands, blues, and more.
- 5474 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97213
10. Produce Row Café – a gastro-pub where eating and drinking is a serious eclectic experience
Produce Row Café is one of the best gastropubs in a city that takes its eating and drinking very seriously.
The eclectic drinks list includes domestic and international beers (including local microbrews), top-notch whiskeys, and cocktails. Produce Row Café also serves excellent food, including a beloved brunch menu.
A few nights a week, Produce Row also hosts local DJs and musicians to show off their stuff. While the acts featured come from a variety of genres, check the calendar ahead of time to track down local jazz favorites.
- 204 SE Oak St, Portland, OR 97214
11. Blue Diamond Bar & Grill – for when the ‘Blues’ takes you
If you’re feeling blue in Portland, or looking for the blues, then the Blue Diamond Bar & Grill is the place to go. The Blue Diamond is Portland’s premier blues club, hosting local acts for concerts multiple times a week.
Besides supporting local blues musicians, Blue Diamond also contributes to the scene by sponsoring the yearly Waterfront Blues Festival.
Besides excellent blues, the Blue Diamond Bar & Grill also features an extensive menu and drinks list highlighting the best of Americana food. Come here to enjoy the particular kind of jazz that blues celebrates.
- 2016 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97232
12. Mock Crest Tavern – a great place to meet friends and enjoy some all-American classic food
Mock Crest Tavern is one of Portland’s favorite watering holes for going out with friends. Besides a great drinks list, there is also an extensive menu featuring American classics and all-day breakfast.
While you sit and catch up with your friends, you can hear some of the best local acts playing jazz and blues in Portland today.
Mock Crest Tavern prides itself on never charging a cover fee, so you get a much better deal on your night of jazz than you would in many other places.
- 3435 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97217
13. McMenamins Al’s Den – live music several times a week in one of the city’s best music venues
From the Portland entertainment giants that own many of the city’s best live music venues, restaurants and hotels comes Al’s Den. Al’s Den is tucked inside the McMenamins Crystal Hotel and is named after a legendary Portland gambler from the 1940s.
Calling to mind the illicit surroundings that the original Al would have lived in, the intimate area is decorated to remind visitors of a speakeasy.
Sit down in Al’s Den for live music multiple nights a week and you’ll feel as if you are getting to know Portland’s best-kept secret along with only a few other lucky guests in the know.
- 303 SW 12th Ave, Portland, OR 97205
14. Olive or Twist – for a sophisticated evening of live jazz and cocktails
Olive or Twist is unique even in a cocktail-obsessed town such as Portland; it is a bar dedicated to the iconic martini. While the cocktails list features other classic drinks, the star is the martini in its many variations.
What better accompaniment to a sophisticated drink such as a martini than jazz music? Luckily, Olive or Twist’s soundtrack highlights the best of the jazz age and helps you feel ready for a sophisticated night on the town.
- 925 NW 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97209
15. Corkscrew Wine Bar – a quirky and eclectic wine bar which is one of the city’s best-kept secrets
This eclectic wine bar with a welcoming, homey feeling is one of Portland’s best-kept secrets. The quirky décor includes repurposed sewing machines as tables and plant-covered shelves highlighting the best of the wine list.
Besides a curated wine list and small plates menu, visitors to Corkscrew Wine Bar can enjoy excellent live music most nights of the week.
Most acts are local favorites playing jazz, blues, and American favorites. Besides music, the Corkscrew Wine Bar hosts unique community events such as weekly tarot readings. For a night on the town that still feels as comforting as home, come to this bar.
- 1665 SE Bybee Blvd, Portland, OR 97202
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Gary is an award winning full time professional photographer and videographer with too much wanderlust for his own good. Fuelled by strong coffee, you’ll often find him wandering well off hiking trails in search of interesting photographic subjects or scenery to video. Self taught and with the use of pioneering digital techniques, he quickly built up a strong client base and has worked with many prestigious organisations, including GQ, BBC, London Fashion Week, Grazia, Sky, Metro, Vogue Italia. He specialising in evocative images of people, places and cinematic videography and his goal is to make the viewer look twice and engage. As well as a penchant for good design, the ketogenic diet and Hungarian Vizslas, he also has a huge affection for Chicago, Bucharest, Scandinavia, Croatia and absolutely everywhere in Italy. Find him on Instagram @garynansome, Twitter @garynansome and his website https://garynunn.co.uk/