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Top Jazz Spots In Philadelphia

Dizzy Gillepsie, John Coltrane and Jimmy Smith are only a few of the jazz greats who once called Philadelphia their home. This city used to be a jazz haven, and although many past jazz haunts are now gone, there are still plenty of places to enjoy live music. Here are some of the best.
Chris' Jazz Cafe
1421 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 568-3131

Chris' Jazz Café is now the only club in Philadelphia that focuses solely on jazz. With six shows a week (happening every night but Sunday), it's the premier spot in Philly for live jazz music and has been a favorite hangout for jazz fans for 27 years. This venue has acts from both national and regional musicians alike, and it has seen performances by legends like Pat Martino and Jimmy Bruno. Chris' also offers daily drink specials and a full menu for dinner and lunch including sandwiches, seafood and salads.

Bob & Barbara's Lounge
1509 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 545-4511

This South Street dive bar has live music from The Crowd Pleasers every Friday and Saturday night from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. The Crowd Pleasers are a gem of a jazz combo that features a Hammond B-3 organ and plays in a bar with no cover charge. The Crowd Pleasers play a mixture of blues songs, jazz standards and originals and have been a South Street staple for more than 20 years. None of the original band members are still playing today, but the combo, whose members are now in their 70s, still brings in a packed crowd every weekend with their impressive performances.

M Restaurant
231 S. 8th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 625-6666

M Restaurant has live jazz every Wednesday and Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on its outdoor patio during the summer and at its indoor bar during the winter. It has a rotating lineup with music by Jesse Minikes, Sam Borelli, Bill Fries, Josh Naussbaum and Peter Mariani. The outside patio here is surrounded by a "secret" garden that creates a beautiful and ethereal environment. Happy hour is held every day at M and is the perfect time to enjoy some cheap(er) eats, drinks and jazz.

Related: Top Live Music Venues In Philadelphia

1315 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 985-4800

Time features jazz almost every day and often has an exciting lineup to fill your evenings and nights as well. This upscale place has three areas -- the dining room, the whiskey bar and the upstairs club. Live jazz is held in the dining room, so you can enjoy the music while you eat at the restaurant or drink at the bar. The music is played at the perfect volume, so carrying on a conversation is not difficult, but it of course gets livelier as the night goes on. Also, for the budding musician looking for a place to play, Time holds an open mic night on Tuesdays and an open jam on Sundays.

World Cafe Live
3025 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 222-1400

Date: Every Monday from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The free, all ages jam at World Café Live is a great place to catch local talent emerging onto the jazz scene. Jeff Torchon (of Conjunto Philly) hosts the event, and any musician (instrumentalist or vocalist) is allowed to sign up and join in with the house band (after they perform two songs on their own first). The jazz jam allows for musicians of all abilities to hone their performance, collaboration and improvisational skills, and it also provides a wide array of live music for hardcore jazz fans.

Related: Top Ballroom Dance Studios In Philadelphia

Kelly Neilson is a freelance writer living and working in Philadelphia. Her work can be found on
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