Great Places to See Jazz in Mexico City

The jazz scene is thriving in Mexico City with several atmospheric clubs
The jazz scene is thriving in Mexico City with several atmospheric clubs | © Carrie Thompson / Stockimo / Alamy

The jazz scene in Mexico City is alive and well. So well, in fact, that knowing where to start can be a little overwhelming. The good news is the live music calendar offers something for all jazz fans, whether you’re a hardcore devotee or just dipping your toes into the genre. To help you find your groove, here are the top jazz spots in the Mexican capital, ranging from classy cocktail bars to atmospheric clubs.

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1. Zinco Jazz Club

Music Venue

ZINCOJAZZCLUB1
© Zinco Jazz Club
Right next to the Zócalo (main square), in the historic centre, Zinco Jazz Club attracts some of the biggest names in the genre. The program is varied, meaning one day you might catch an American big band play swing, the next a jazz-funk outfit from Mexico, and the next two Czech cellists reinterpreting native folk songs. The venue itself is inconspicuous from the outside, but inside you’ll discover a classically cool jazz bar, dimly lit and serving a moreish selection of cocktails.

2. Parker & Lenox

Music Venue

An orange cocktail topped with raspberries and a blackberry from Parker and Lenox jazz club
© Parker and Lenox

Parker & Lenox is a beautifully styled bar in the Juárez district, just north of the trendy Roma Norte colonia (neighborhood). It’s designed to look like a 1930s speakeasy, and offers a selection of artisanal beers and classy cocktails, plus live music most nights of the week. On top of the jazz, there’s a bit of blues and comedy nights (though the latter may only be enjoyable if you’re a fluent Spanish speaker). The venue does get busy, particularly on weekends, so book a table.

4. Casa Franca

Music Venue

A dimly lit bar at Casa Franca with velvet stools, wooden counter and a drinks display
© Case Franca

Stylish and elegant, Casa Franca in Roma Norte envelopes you with a well-polished aesthetic and low lighting. The bar has a comfortable, laid-back vibe and hosts live music several days a week – anything from tango and funk to jazz and blues. And if you’re traveling on a limited budget, the lack of cover fees makes this a great option.

5. Blue Nose

Music Venue

A jazz band with four musicians - a drummer, keyboardist, xylophone player and bass player - perform at Blue Nose
© Kenneyrha Fotoğrafçı

Blue Nose has a jazz night on Thursdays run by the charismatic Diego Maroto, a jazz saxophonist from Mexico City. The gigs are held in his beautiful house near the idyllic center of Coyoacán, which lends a chilled, intimate atmosphere rarely found in commercial bars. This under-the-radar spot draws a warm, friendly crowd and there are drinks and home-made food to keep you going. Music whizz Diego programs top-notch jazz here, so if you’re interested in excellent grooves in a quirky venue, this is your place. Blue Nose is a private club, so you have to reserve. Once you’ve booked your place, knock on the big wooden door on the street and wait to be ushered in.

6. Pulquería Insurgentes

Music Venue

Pulque, an alcoholic drink made from cactus, can be an acquired taste. So combine your sampling session with a spot of jazz at Pulquería Insurgentes. Spread over three floors, this bar has a spacious roof terrace which hosts a range of live performances, DJs, talks, art workshops and even cinema showings throughout the week. On Wednesdays, there’s a free-to-enter live jazz night with great local players, styles ranging from fusion-funk to straight ahead. And if you want to stay up, there’s usually a DJ playing until the early hours, too.

7. Jazzorca

Music Venue

If you’re a hardened jazz veteran, lover of experimental jams, or want to push yourself musically, Jazzorca is your go-to venue. Make no mistake, the music here doesn’t always make for easy listening – experimental free jazz can be intense and overwhelming to the untrained ear. But Jazzorca is a humble venue that doesn’t dress itself in a faux-swanky style, instead it entirely focuses on appreciating the music.

8. Patio Aurora

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Mexican

A mixologist puts the finishing touches to a clear drink at Patio Aurora
© Patio Aurora
Tucked down what looks like an alleyway in Roma Norte, Patio Aurora is a lively spot spread between a stylish outside space and an indoor bar area. Although it mostly has DJs playing late into the night, on Wednesdays (and occasionally on holidays) the outside patio hosts live jazz from local musicians. The buzzing atmosphere makes it a great space to enjoy music, and there are plenty of enticing cocktails to keep you going through the evening.

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