Fine food, cocktails and all that jazz. London’s best restaurants and late-night drinking dens with a seductive side of live music
Ronnie Scott’s, W1D
The world-famous Ronnie Scott’s is a London institution, renowned for its all-night live jazz music. Since opening in 1959, it has attracted the likes of Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan and Count Basie. Jimi Hendrix jammed here with Eric Burdon in 1970, days before his passing, and Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were regulars.
Stories of the Soho club are legendary and today it is still the best place in London for an intimate, relaxed evening of energetic jazz, fine food and drinks. Upstairs, ‘Ronnie’s Bar' offers an eclectic programme of DJ sets ranging from funk and flamenco to jive and blues, attracting a younger clientele. Following the main acts downstairs, The Late Late Show will take place from 10pm until 3am, for live music and dancing until the little hours. You never know who might turn up, from Stevie Wonder to Lady Gaga.
The lively programme offers a mix of Sinatra-inspired big band music and alternative jazz, in addition to rising stars and up-and-coming, hotly tipped artists.
47 Frith Street, Soho, London W1D 4HT, 020 7439 0747,www.ronniescotts.co.uk
Jazzgir is a joyful addition to Canary Wharf’s ever-expanding food and drink scene. The gleaming bar and restaurant sets itself apart for its fine Mediterranean cuisine, nightly live jazz music and Art Deco-inspired interiors. It is the fourth restaurant from Turkish-born Ali Eren, also behind Kilikya, Bellaria and Bacco.
Select from a menu of sharing plates and larger dishes devised by head chef Raffaele Biancareddu. Highlights include veal meatballs, a family recipe handed down from Biancareddu’s grandmother; fresh, rich pappardelle with rabbit ragu; creamy burrata and trofie pasta with homemade pesto. The Mediterranean menu is dotted with Turkish touches, like the fat baklava that tops the dessert menu.
Food and cocktails are accompanied by nightly live music, starting with acoustic piano from 5pm and live jazz bands from 7pm. Expect a toe-tapping repertoire spanning Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday and jazz covers of contemporary R 'n' B, from TLC to CeeLo Green.
From co-workers to couples, Jazzgir attracts a sophisticated crowd, set against a glitzy backdrop inspired by the Golden Age of Jazz. The airy restaurant also offers riverside views and is available for private hire.
Open from 15-16 Harbour Exchange Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 9GE;020 7001 0400, www.jazzgir.co.uk
Boisdale is a restaurant chain in London rooted in Scottish heritage. It is renowned for its tartan décor, Caledonian fare, vast whisky menu, infamous cigar terrace and eclectic programme of live entertainment. The original Belgravia outpost opened in 1986, followed by Bishopsgate, Canary Wharf and most recently, Mayfair. A night at Boisdale comes loaded with live music, food, drink and merriment, doused in Scottish flavour.
Jools Holland is Boisdale’s Patron of Music and assists in curating an energetic schedule of nightly jazz music across all four outposts. There is also a weekly Sunday Jazz Club in Canary Wharf, playing easy-listening, soulful music all afternoon. Look out for special offers, such as unlimited prosecco with your meal on a Friday night for an additional £15.
606 Club, SW10
Behind a discreet façade in Chelsea Harbour lies 606 Club – a much-loved, seductive jazz den famed for its exceptional programme of live music. The candlelit basement features murals of the jazz era’s finest luminaries and a flamboyant clock, locked at 6.06.
This forty-year old institution draws music lovers of all ages and offers live music seven nights a week. While the 606 Club does offer membership, non-members are very much welcome, but drinks can only be purchased with a food order. We suggest you load up on simple sharing plates and make a real night of it.
Membership is priced at £140 per anum, 90 Lots Road, Chelsea, London SW10 0QD, 020 7352 5953, www.606club.co.uk
Tucked away behind an inconspicuous door in Shoreditch, Nightjar a seductive speakeasy that honours the Golden Age of Jazz. Since opening in 2010, it has become one of London’s best-loved bars, and it’s easy to see why – this handsome drinking den pairs a playful cocktail list with low-lit, cosy interiors, accompanied by nightly live jazz music. This immersive watering hole has Date Night written all over it.
129 City Road, London EC1V 1JB, www.barnightjar.com