The Best Jazz Venues in Melbourne, Australia

Fans of jazz and Italian food should head straight for Bird's Basement Jazz Club in Melbourne
Fans of jazz and Italian food should head straight for Bird's Basement Jazz Club in Melbourne | © Michael Coyne / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Monique La Terra
16 September 2020

Across Melbourne, smouldering rhythms and swoon-worthy saxophone solos drift from laneways, back alleys and basement bars. Jazz cats can check out bebop, classic standards, brassy big bands, fusion, scat kings, crooners and legends who know how to sing the blues. With shows on almost every night, here are the six most swinging jazz venues in Melbourne.

Bird’s Basement

Music Venue
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The offspring of New York’s iconic Birdland Jazz Club and the first of its kind in Australia, Bird’s Basement is located on Singers Lane opposite Flagstaff Gardens and dishes up dinner and a show twice a night, every night. The Italian menu and extensive wine list paired with local and international artists make for a sophisticated and sultry evening of food and music.

Uptown Jazz Café

Music Venue
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For a taste of uptown funk, head to Brunswick Street’s Uptown Jazz Café, where you can discover local improvised tunes and the best of the Melbourne sound with a host of resident artists, as well as local and international players. Swing around Wednesday through Saturday for nightly gigs and satisfy your taste buds downstairs with Japanese cuisine.

Dizzy’s

Music Venue
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Having recently moved to Bridge Road (above Boheme Restaurant), Dizzy’s has embarked on a new era in its long history. Opened in 1998, this stylish club hosts local acts as well as up-and-coming talent. Join them on Big Band Wednesdays or drop by on Friday or Saturday evenings. Dizzy’s also holds occasional special events on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can even book a table and enjoy a Mediterranean meal prepared by Boheme.

Paris Cat Jazz Bar

Music Venue
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Flavoured with Parisian post-war ambiance, the Paris Cat is located off Lonsdale Street, behind Hardware Lane, and attracts artsy alley cats who prowl in Wednesday through Saturday. Paris Cat holds three shows on both Friday and Saturday nights and hosts both local and international acts. Bob Dylan has even dropped in for a listen. The venue is split over three levels and features a rustic tapas bar, a Parisian loft, and the iconic basement where Robbie Williams held a gig in 2015.

Lido Cinemas Jazz Room

Cinema
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Beneath a movie screen at the historic Lido Cinemas sits a cosy jazz room, usually dark and quiet but bursting to life every Friday and Saturday from 9 to 11pm. The Lido Cinemas Jazz Room can hold just 40 people – meaning it’s always intimate – and hosts both local and touring musicians, complete with an impressive gig guide curated by Sonny Rehe of Uptown Jazz Café.
These recommendations were updated on September 16, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.