Although better known as the capital of technology and startups, San Jose also has a thriving cultural scene and a plethora of great live music venues for watching and playing jazz. Keep reading for our top picks of the best jazz clubs in San Jose!
Each year since 1986, San Jose hosts its annual international jazz festival which brings some of the biggest acts in jazz to the city.
But what about the rest of the year?
You’ll be pleased to hear that San Jose has a range of different clubs and venues where you can hear top-quality jazz every week.
Burt Bacharach may have taken care of the main directions already, but in this article we’re going to take a deep dive into what to do once you get there!
Cafe Stritch can be found in the city’s culture and arts centre in downtown San Jose and is arguably one of the best jazz clubs in the city.
Cafe Stritch (formerly known as Eulipia) is a SoFA district bar dedicated to supporting the local live music scene and although it covers a wide range of genres, it certainly has a leaning towards jazz.
Wednesday through Saturday, it presents a variety of live music, including some of the top jazz events in the South Bay.
Because of its relaxing vibe, warm lighting, and authentic ambience, this modern and easygoing venue is often full and bustling until late.
On most evenings the music is free and covers a wide range of styles including jazz, folk, rock and other genres.
JJ’s Blues is a relaxed blues club with terrific live music every night.
It might not be the preferred spot for modern jazz fans, but if you’re into the traditional sounds of the blues, it doesn’t get much better.
The club has been running for two decades and brings both local players and international stars to the venues. John Lee Hooker is amongst the legendary names to have graced its stage.
The variety of acts may not be what it was in its heyday but this is still the place to go for blues in the San Jose. Most of the time, there is music seven days a week playing into the early hours.
Poor House Bistro
Poor House Bistro bills itself as a low-cost New Orleans eatery, boasting muffaletta, po’boys, grilled shrimp, gumbo, red beans & rice, and Abita Ale on tap.
Poor Houe Bistro is also known for being a fantastic music venue, with live blues virtually every night.
The venue has become a frequent stop for some of the Bay Area’s best musicians. Regulars include Ron Thompson, Lara Price, and A.C. Myles, with Mark Hummel popping in now and again.
Cigar Bar And Grill
The Cigar Bar & Grill has a laid-back vibe that makes it the perfect spot for sitting back and enjoying some live jazz.
On Wednesdays and Thursdays, the venue turns into one of the best jazz clubs in San Jose.
The bar offers a wide variety of cigars, wines, and spirits which you can enjoy in its rustic setting which includes comfortable leather couches, dim lighting, and wooden tables and chairs.
Be sure to check out the works of local artists like Anastasia Schipani and Mike Wolf on the venue walls.
The Hotel DeAnza’s flagship cocktail lounge and wine bar is the perfect spot to unwind in the midst of classic art-deco grandeur.
Aside from serving up cocktails, wines and mediterranean snacks, Hedley Club is also know for its live music which can be heard many nights of the week.
Sadly, its weekly jazz jam is currently not happening, but you can still catch some great local jazz artists so be sure to keep an eye on their programme. Expect to hear laid back piano-vocal duos, swing, and piano trios.
If you’re looking to watch jazz in an opulent and elegantly decorated setting, this could be the spot for you. It boasts a large dining capacity, excellent food and an extensive wine list.
It’s definitely up there in the best places to hear live jazz in Silicon Valley.
Blue Note Napa (Bonus Pick)
You may be asking why a Napa venue is included in this list of jazz clubs in San Jose.
The answer is simple; it’s one of the best spots to hear live jazz in the region and well worth the journey!
Bringing the look and feel of a Greenwich jazz club to the wine Valley, Blue Note Napa lets you get up close and personal with some of the best jazz musicians in the US and beyond. It can be found within the beautiful Napa Valley Opera House.
As part of the Blue Note jazz club franchise (derived from the legendary record label of the same name), this intimate venue brings world-class live acts to Napa. If you’re a jazz fan, check out the programme; we’re sure you’ll see many names you recognise.
From legendary venues to trendy lounges and low-key bars, there’s no shortage of jazz clubs in San Jose and the surrounding area.
The label ‘Discover Jazz’ is attached to articles which have been edited and published by Jazzfuel host Matt Fripp, but have been written in collaboration with various different jazz musicians and industry contributors. When appropriate, these musicians are quoted and name-checked inside the article itself!