The best jazz clubs in Melbourne

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The best jazz clubs in Melbourne

jazz clubs melbourne
Words by Marianne Ma and Ben Lamb

Here are the best jazz bars in Melbourne, perfect for catching gigs and live music along with a few beers, wines, cocktails, pub food and jazz club atmosphere.

Jazz burst onto the scene in the 1920s and Melbourne jazz clubs started popping up not long after. The origin of the genre can be traced back to as far as the late 19th century, when it was birthed in New Orleans, Louisiana. The cultural melting pot of post-Civil War America was the perfect environment for something new: an experimental, ever-evolving, wildly spontaneous genre of music.

Early jazz drew influences from all over the place: vocal patterns from West Africa, blues melodies from church hymns and tango rhythms from Cuba. The sound quickly developed and spread, taking hold in New York and Hollywood, then across America, and soon enough, expanded into a global phenomenon.

Keep up with the latest music news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

The giants of jazz – Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, John Coltrane, are still easily recognisable names, a century later. 

Melbourne is a little distance from jazz’s homeland, but the city boasts a fantastic variety of jazz clubs. Whether you’re a huge jazz nerd looking for the music and the music only or you just want to live out your Roaring ’20s dreams and enjoy a Gatsby-esque night – one of these Melbourne jazz clubs will be for you. 

If jazz isn’t your cup of tea, also check out the best dog-friendly bars and pubs here, Abbotsford here, South Yarra here, and Richmond here. If you’re keen to journey somewhere a little bit secret and ‘underground’ instead, check out our list of the best hidden bars.

The best jazz bars around Melbourne’s CBD

Rising Sun Hotel

  • 2 Raglan St, South Melbourne

The Rising Sun Hotel is a pub that brings heaps of jazzy vibes to the scene. It’s a classic style pub, but every Thursday, there’s a jazz night, where many of the world’s best musicians hit the venue and blow audiences away. This October, Ingrid James will be hitting the stage. To go alongside the music, there’s mouth-watering pub grub, like calamari, prawns and linguine, among much more.

As “Melbourne’s most famous corner pub”, the Rising Sun Hotel provides a quintessentially Melbourne experience – friendly and full of heart.

The Jazz Corner Café


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  • 352 William St, Melbourne

By day, you can enjoy a croissant and a coffee at the Jazz Corner Café, but as the night approaches, it turns into a mecca for jazz music. There are cocktails, and a Middle Eastern-inspired menu, perfect accompaniments to high-quality performances. Cozy and casual, it’s got a laidback, down-to-earth charm to it that could very well be the result of its wholesome daytime personality. It’s the kind of place that knows how to get down for a boogie, but is always up and at em when daytime rolls around.

You can find the Jazz Corner Café right near Bird’s Basement, there are a bunch of great musicians coming to the venue, keep an eye on their Instagram for all the updates.

Bird’s Basement


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  • 11 Singers Ln, Melbourne

Nestled in the centre of the city, Bird’s Basement stands as a renowned establishment among Melbourne jazz clubs, providing exceptional live jazz for enthusiasts. Founded in 2016 by musician entrepreneur Albare, endorsed by the likes of Ravi Coltrane (son of the legendary John Coltrane), the venue has swiftly risen to prominence, earning its status as one of Melbourne’s premier jazz clubs and a worthy counterpart to New York’s iconic Birdland.

The swanky jazz venue, accommodating 200, adheres to the Birdland model, hosting live shows multiple times a week. International jazz figures such as Ravi Coltrane, John Scofield, and even Molly Ringwald have graced the stage, showcasing a wide range of talent. Beyond the international spotlight, Bird’s Basement is also dedicated to putting on local jazz musicians.

This cornerstone of Melbourne’s vibrant jazz scene is sophisticated and elegant with an intimate ambience. Guests can also indulge in a dinner service as a part of the experience. With its exceptional sound system and a line-up that spans various jazz styles and eras, Bird’s Basement is the perfect destination for those seeking an authentic and captivating jazz club in Melbourne.

Uptown Jazz Cafe


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  • 177 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

Uptown Jazz Café is a small bar hidden on the second story amongst crowded Brunswick St in Fitzroy, putting on live performances days of the week. It is also specifically a Melbourne jazz club, focusing on the distinct ‘Melbourne jazz’ sound – described by Uptown as ‘krusty’, ‘krunchy’ and ‘streetwise’ – despite constantly booking jazz acts from all across the globe.

The place has hosted Australian talent such as Bernie McGann, as well as international artists like George Garzone. This is one of the jazz clubs in Melbourne for serious jazz enthusiasts; Uptown is not the aesthetic-heavy movie set-like jazz bar and is more focused on the talented acts that play there and their music.

The performers always bring their best and you can expect some great improvised moments, as per classic jazz tradition. Randomly enough, since the bar is above a Japanese restaurant, their menu is Japanese food and also Sake. You can check their gig guide for a thorough rundown of their shows, artists, times, and tickets. 

Paris Cat Jazz Club


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  • 6 Goldie Pl, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Paris Cat Jazz Club is a stunning venue dedicated to jazz, hidden in a laneway and up a few flights of stairs in Melbourne’s CBD. This Melbourne jazz club has been in operation since 2006 and is an old favourite of many, hosting a slew of local and international acts. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Robbie Williams have somehow both played there.

The inside is chic and art deco, with two stages and a lounge room covered in velvet drapes. Enter the Paris Cat and be transported back to the moody, glitzy Jazz Age. On the menu are a variety of tapas to snack on and cocktails to sip during the show. Open Thursday to Sunday night, with four shows every Friday and Saturday, as well as additional events of touring artists. Tickets are available online and (if not sold out) at the door. 



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  • 303 High St, Northcote, VIC 3070

303 is also sometimes called Bar 303 or Café 303 (pronounced ‘three-oh-three’ not ‘three hundred and three’, as emphasised on their website). It’s not specifically a Melbourne jazz club, per se, but a long-standing live music institution of the city.

The simple, no-frills venue is equipped for all kinds of genres and musical acts that play there: DJs, bands, singers with an acoustic guitar, anything goes.

Of course, 303 has a steady stream of jazz acts on its roster, usually leaning towards the more easy, accessible side of the genre, perfect for new, casual listeners to get into the music. 303 is open Monday to Saturday from 5pm to late, with a good amount of their live shows being free.

Rooks Return


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  • 201 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065

The Rooks Return is a small bar in Fitzroy with dark, cosy lighting, furnished with lots of wood – pub-style. It’s decorated with a mix of old (or at least out-of-date) oil paintings that you’d find at Savers, a well-loved piano (that you can play) and pretty Art Deco lights – somehow it all works to create the perfect eccentric ambience. Not the most ‘club-like’ of all Melbourne jazz clubs, but it is open every night from 3pm to 1am and every Wednesday night there is a jazz act. 

The Rooks Return also has its own in-house jazz band: the Rookies, who usually perform a bit of bebop as well as some more ballad-y tunes. On the regular act’s off days, the venue invites guest performers to fill the slot. The backroom gallery also hosts a small exhibit of a few local artists, renewed once a month. Menu-wise, they serve all the classic cocktails and a few local beers on tap. You can BYO food, or order from one of the many nearby spots. 



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  • 366 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3004

In Melbourne’s vibrant Latin quarter on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Vamos is a spirited Latin American bar and eatery that radiates a lively and fresh ambience. Established by four friends, Iliana Hernandez (Mexican), Marcela Rodriguez (Colombian), Juan Ignacio Angel (Colombian) and Thomas Norwood (Australian), Vamos is a celebration of Latin American and Spanish culture, a journey through food, drinks, and of course, music.

While not the most typical of Melbourne jazz clubs, Vamos offers a delightful twist every Thursday night with Jazz n’ Samba, featuring the tunes of Mario Broder and his band. The venue, now flourishing in its new home after six successful years in the CBD, continues to be a favourite among those wanting an eclectic mix of Latin American delights.

The Vamos menu, a culinary journey of Latin America and Spain, showcases a spectacular array of traditional Spanish dishes, Mexican favourites, Peruvian Aji Panca specialties, and Argentinian chimichurri-marinated pork ribs. As you sip and savour, Vamos extends its hospitality with Spanish wine-tasting nights on Wednesdays, expertly paired with their signature dishes. 

Throughout the week, Vamos transforms into a haven for live music enthusiasts, hosting Brazilian Jazz, as well as Flamenco, Latin classics, Son Cubano, and a rumba band that sets the stage for dancing. Thursdays at Vamos also bring the soulful sounds of acclaimed Brazilian singer Dany Maia, making it a night not to be missed in this distinctive Melbourne jazz club.

For the Vamos team, the commitment remains steadfast – providing an authentic Latin American experience that defines this dynamic Melbourne jazz club through a fusion of food, drinks, and live entertainment.

The Jazzlab


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  • 27 Leslie St, Brunswick, VIC 3056

This Melbourne jazz club in Brunswick is open every night of the week – true dedication to the cause. Jazzlab was founded by Michael Tortoni, replacing his renowned Bennett’s Lane Jazz Club which shut down in 2017, that had showcased the likes of Prince, and Kenny Kirkland, among many other world-famous big names.

The venue is also now host to the Melbourne International Jazz Festival which he has impressively run for the last 20 years. The design of Jazzlab’s vibrant space is based directly on its ancestor, Bennett’s Lane.

The establishment is a staunch supporter of all things jazz, from emerging artists to world-renowned performers, playing everything from 1920s classics to the experimental and avant-garde. This jazz club has range, and something perfect for everyone. The bar has all the basics: beers, wines, cocktails, as well as some classic pub snacks. Grab a drink and enjoy a night of jazz music – any night, because they’re always open.

Jazz clubs in Melbourne’s outer suburbs

The Count’s

  • 48 Exhibition Walk, Clayton VIC 3168

Located on Monash University’s Clayton campus, The Count’s is a prominent fixture in the Melbourne jazz scene, seamlessly transitioning from a lively daytime café to a dynamic live music sanctuary each evening. Formerly known as the ‘Jazz Club’, it now stands as an integral part of the Monash University Performing Arts Centre (MPAC).

Easily one of the top jazz clubs in Melbourne, it is curated by renowned producer and artist Chelsea Wilson. The Count’s 2024 program offers a diverse musical journey, featuring iconic Australian songwriters, niche jazz ensembles, premier instrumentalists, and emerging talents. Known as the quintessential jazz hub in Melbourne’s South East, this revered Melbourne jazz club invites patrons to indulge in exceptional live music every Wednesday night from March to November.

One of The Count’s many offerings is the monthly Intimate and Live Series, with ‘unplugged’ sets every Saturday, where the set is then followed by a post-performance Q&A session in the cosy setting. Throughout 2024, Wednesday nights at The Count’s will feature endless outstanding acts.

In February, Nina Ferro and Joshua Moshe are set to kick off the year with their soulful melodies and jazz-infused Jewish tunes. The opening night of Intimate and Live sessions will showcase ARIA award-winning artist Kaiit. More highlights include the Black Jesus Experience, a nine-piece fusion of traditional Ethiopian music and 21st Century groove, joined by Australian jazz legend Bob Sedergreen.

In May and June, The Count’s stage will host homegrown talents like Monique DiMattina and The Horns of Leroy, blending jazz, roots, and New Orleans sounds. Though the venue is a little further out of the way, it’s worth the hike. For a night of fun and incredible music, check out The Count’s full program and go explore this iconic Melbourne jazz club. 

Lido Jazz Room


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  • 675 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn VIC 3122

Hidden beneath the iconic Lido Cinema on Glenferrie Road, the Lido Jazz Room is a discreet haven of a jazz club in Melbourne. Drawing inspiration from the legendary Manhattan jazz bars of the 1980s, this intimate venue, accommodating only 40 guests, emanates a cool and mysterious atmosphere.

Every Saturday night, from 8pm to 10pm, the Jazz Room becomes a vibrant hub, featuring the exceptional talents of Melbourne’s finest jazz players. Enter through the narrow staircase and enjoy the Jazz Room’s immersive experience with its in-house piano and drum kit, and the authentic jazz bar ambience.

Curated by Sonny Rehe, the mastermind who is also behind Fitzroy’s Uptown Jazz Café, the gig guide showcases a diverse line-up of both local and visiting artists, with endless musical offerings. If you’re looking for a cool, hidden space for live music on Saturday nights, the Lido Jazz Room stands as a perfect destination. With its historic allure, intimate setting and carefully selected musical repertoire, it is an amazing spot for all casual listeners and jazz aficionados in Melbourne. 



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  • 57 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

If you’re someone who needs a bit of alcohol to enjoy your jazz, Radium is the jazz venue for you. Right next to the Hawthorn Station, there are regular jazz musicians and lots of tasty cocktails on offer. Some of the best cocktails include the Toblerone, Bubble Gum, and Fruit Tingle to name a few. If you’re not a cocktail fan, there are many cool local beers and wines available too, there’s something for everyone at the Radium.

Jazz is every Friday from 6pm, but the rest of the week has some fun stuff on offer as well, including Dungeons and Dragons nights on Wednesdays and Draw & Drink on Saturdays and Sundays for all you artsy types.

For more on Melbourne jazz, head here.