Stockholm has lots of bars and clubs that play live music for jazz lovers | Courtesy of Södra Teatern | Mosebacke
Stockholm is a haven for jazz lovers; if you’ve wandered around the city at the blue hour on a summer night or experienced the melancholy of a Swedish winter, you’ll understand why Swedes might feel such an affinity for the emotive music. The Swedish capital has plenty of quality live-music venues, both old-school jazz clubs and newer spaces that host jazz gigs. These venues are the best places to experience the Scandinavians’ take on the American music genre.
One of the most famous venues in the city, Stampen has been a jazz pub since 1968 but still contains the antique items left behind when the venue was a pawnshop in the 19th century. Located in the heart of picturesque Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s Old Town, Stampen specialises in what it calls “American roots music”, which includes jazz, blues and R&B. If you’re an old-school blues fan, check out Stampen’s Saturday jams, starting from 2pm and finishing up around 7pm, with the chance of jumping to the stage and jamming along. The live-music program (Tuesday-Saturday) is regularly updated. Definitely bucket-list material for a live-jazz enthusiast in Stockholm – musicians who’ve played here in the past include Teddy Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie and Eartha Kitt.
Perhaps Stockholm’s most famous jazz club, the Glenn Miller Café is tiny but hosts big names | Courtesy Glenn Miller Café
This cosy little restaurant is one of the best-known jazz clubs in the city, and certainly one of a kind in the Swedish capital. The restaurant, only 30 square metres (320 square feet) in size, has served traditional French food and jazz music for several decades and featured some of Sweden’s greatest jazz players. Glenn Miller Café keeps bringing in talented musicians who perform right next to the venue’s entrance and its one window, giving the venue its special charm. There is no entry fee, but a little basket will go around after each set – each listener is expected to make a contribution of a minimum of 50 kronor (£4) per set. Make sure to bring cash with you, since the basket doesn’t accept credit. Live-music sets start from 8pm during the week and 8.30pm Friday and Saturday. Book a table if you want to make sure to get in, as it gets busy.
Vintage cocktail bar Erlands goes all in when it comes to atmosphere – the interior, as well as the bartenders’ outfits, are straight out of the 1950s. So what better space to enjoy 1950s music in? Visit Erlands on a Tuesday from 6pm or Saturday from 4pm for live jazz, order one of its excellent cocktails, and just soak in the retro vibe.
A traditional tavern-style pub located on a narrow street in Gamla Stan (Old Town), S:ta Clara is both a meeting point for locals chatting over a beer and a great spot for those who want to enjoy live music. The staircase takes you to the basement floor, where jazzy tunes are played every night from Tuesday through Saturday. Jam sessions take place on Friday and Saturday evenings, and even if you aren’t into jazz, the venue is a great place for a good beer or two while hanging out in the area.
Visit Södra Teatern on the weekend for its Mosebacke jazz brunch | Courtesy of Södra Teatern | Mosebacke
One of the best live-music and art scenes in Stockholm is Södra Teatern, located on the cosy Mosebacke in the hip Södermalm area. Visit it on the weekend to experience its jazz brunches, held on both Saturdays and Sundays, when you can enjoy jazz with a side of waffles, pancakes, cheese and salads. Södra Teatern also regularly hosts an array of concerts of different styles – from jazz to soul, from Balkan music to old-school rock’n’roll and much more. The venue itself is worth a visit – Södra Teatern is the oldest theatre in Stockholm that’s still open, though the focus is more on music these days, and when it was built in 1859 Swedish newspapers called it “one of the most beautiful theatres in the world.”
Located in the heart of Stockholm, Fasching has attracted jazz lovers since 1977. It hosts 350 yearly events, 250 of which are live concerts – featuring both established stars and new, fresh names in the national and international jazz scene. As well as hosting a wide variety of concerts, Fasching also serves good food that nods to traditional French and Scandinavian cuisine, and you can book a table as you book a concert. Fasching feels a bit younger and has more of a club vibe than some of the other jazz bars in Stockholm, and if you want to jump on the stage yourself, the Thursday-evening jam sessions are some of the best in town.