Cape Town, the Mother City of South Africa, is known for its vibrant cultural scene, including its jazz clubs. From intimate venues to large concert halls, Cape Town has something for every jazz enthusiast. Let’s explore the jazz scene in Cape Town, from its history to its current state, and provide you with a comprehensive guide to the best jazz clubs in the city.
Table of Contents
History of Jazz in Cape Town
Jazz music has a rich history in South Africa, with Cape Town being a hub for jazz musicians in the 1950s and 1960s. During this time, jazz clubs were a popular form of entertainment, with venues such as the Blue Note and the Castle Hotel hosting some of the country’s most renowned jazz musicians. In the 1970s, however, the apartheid regime clamped down on jazz clubs, as they were seen as a threat to the government’s control over the country’s entertainment industry.
Many jazz clubs were closed down, and jazz musicians were forced to perform in secret or leave the country. With the end of apartheid in the 1990s, the jazz scene in Cape Town began to flourish once again. Today, Cape Town is home to some of the best jazz clubs in the world, and the city’s jazz musicians are internationally recognized for their talent.
Best Jazz Clubs in Cape Town
The Piano Bar 🎹
The Piano Bar is a popular jazz club located in the De Waterkant neighbourhood of Cape Town. The venue has a sophisticated atmosphere, with leather couches, dark wood panelling, and an intimate stage. The Piano Bar hosts live jazz performances every night, featuring both local and international musicians. The venue also serves a variety of cocktails and light bites.
Phone: 021 007 5212 / 066 341 2589
The Cape Town International Jazz Festival 🎺
The Cape Town International Jazz Festival is an annual event that attracts jazz enthusiasts from around the world. The festival, which takes place over two days in late March or early April, features performances by some of the biggest names in jazz, as well as up-and-coming musicians from South Africa and beyond. The festival also includes a free community concert, masterclasses and workshops, and an arts and crafts market. The festival is held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre and attracts thousands of visitors each year.
The Blue Room 🍸
The Blue Room is a trendy jazz club situated on Bree Street, in the heart of Cape Town’s city centre. With its vibrant atmosphere, the club offers an exceptional experience to music lovers looking for a night of top-quality jazz entertainment. The Blue Room features both local and international musicians and offers a variety of genres, including blues, soul, and funk. The venue has an intimate ambience and offers comfortable seating and excellent acoustics, making it a popular destination for jazz enthusiasts. The club also has a full-service bar, offering a range of drinks and cocktails to enjoy while listening to music.
The Urban Soul Cafe & Jazz Bar 🎻
The Urban Soul Cafe & Jazz Bar is a cosy venue located in the coastal town of Muizenberg, just a short drive from Cape Town’s city centre. The venue offers a unique blend of urban vibes and soulful melodies, making it a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. The cafe offers a range of delicious food options, including vegan and vegetarian dishes, and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the evenings, the venue transforms into a lively jazz bar, with local musicians taking to the stage to entertain the guests. The Urban Soul Cafe & Jazz Bar has a laid-back atmosphere and offers stunning views of the ocean, making it the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy some excellent music.
Phone: 066 598 1709
The Athletic Club & Social 🕯️
The Athletic Club & Social is a hip, modern venue located in the CBD of Cape Town. The venue offers a unique blend of fitness, entertainment, and culinary delights, making it a popular destination for those looking for a night out with a twist. The Athletic Club & Social features an indoor cycling studio, a boxing gym, and a functional training area, providing guests with the opportunity to work up a sweat before enjoying some delicious food and drinks. In the evenings, the venue transforms into a buzzing jazz club, with live music performances by both local and international artists. The Athletic Club & Social offers a trendy, vibrant atmosphere, with sleek decor and a stylish bar area, making it a top spot for those looking for a unique and memorable night out in Cape Town.
Phone: 084 087 5566
Cape Town’s jazz scene has a rich history, and today it is home to some of the best jazz clubs in the world. Whether you’re a seasoned jazz enthusiast or a newcomer to the genre, there is something for everyone in Cape Town’s jazz clubs. So whether you’re visiting Cape Town for the first time or you’re a local looking for a night out, be sure to check out one of the city’s many jazz clubs and experience the vibrant jazz scene that Cape Town has to offer. 🎷