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At one of the city’s oldest jazz clubs, beguiling, unpolished brass instruments hang from the mahogany-paneled walls — seeming remnants of jazz’s golden age. Although D.C.’s best jazz musicians tend to hang around on U Street, this club’s nostalgic vibe, friendly service and solid musical offerings muster to its defense.
Basic info || No cover, 1-drink minimum | Food $$, Drinks $$ | Jazz Wed., Fri.-Sun.
Contax || 2325 18th St. NW | 202 -462-6040 | Official site | Official listings
This boho cafe is typically packed with twenty-somethings, equipped with cappuccinos, drumming away on their Macs and improvising letters to pen pals. But the East Village ambiance gets a strong shot of uptown swing every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, when its resident musicians play mostly straight-ahead jazz. Note that sandwiches and snacks are standard fare here, so full dinner isn’t an option. Nor is jazz on the weekend; for either or those or both, head up the block to Bossa or down to Columbia Station.
Basic info || No cover, 1-drink minimum | Food $$, Drinks $$$ | Jazz Mon.-Wed.
Contax || 2459 18th St. NW | 202-232-5500 | Official site
Exposed brick, velvet-cushioned seating and rotating exhibitions of art on the walls give this cozy restaurant a chic vibe to complement its abundant supply of live entertainment. Some weekdays and Sundays (though not at all regularly), the 18th-and-Columbia Rd. hangout features jazz on its small stage. Other nights, the talent ranges from Samba to the poetry of local voices. Find a night when Bossa has jazz, and its classy, top-shelf dinner and great music will make this a first-rate choice.
Basic info || No cover, 1-drink minimum | Food $$, Drinks $$ | Jazz occasionally
Contax || 2463 18th St. NW | 202-667-0088 | Official site | Official listings
Photos by Jennifer White-Torres.