Where to hear live jazz, blues and soul music in Brisbane

If you’ve got Georgia on your mind and want to find your own brown-eyed girl, perhaps you’ll find her at one of Brisbane’s live music bars – specifically those with a little more soul...

Forget the cover band playing Wonderwall at your local pub, pass on the soundscape artist at the nearest gallery space, and don’t bother with underground indie band – it’s time to get your groove on and put those jazz hands to good use.

Brooklyn Standard, Brisbane City

With free live music six nights a week, there is never a bad time to visit Brooklyn Standard. As the beers flow and the pretzel bowls empty, hit the dance floor to the funky tunes. Funk, soul, blues, jazz, swing – Brooklyn serves it all.

Tip: Wednesdays are dedicated to the blues. First Wednesday of each month is Jam Night. Find out what's on via its Facebook page.

Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Paddington

Lefty's Old Time Music Hall

We’re happy to admit we were wrong – when we first heard that the bar opening in an old gentleman’s club would play country music we didn’t expect it to become one of our best. Taking out a variety of awards over the years, the next award should go to their house special, a whiskey and fresh apple juice – it changes lives.

Tip: Check out its Facebook page for the weekly lineup. 

Brisbane Jazz Club, Kangaroo Point

It’s perhaps our most underrated bar. This riverfront jazz club has million-dollar views of the CBD and serves up live jazz every week. Catch the free CityHopper ferry over from Eagle Street Pier and soak up the atmosphere from the deck with drinks at pub prices.

Tip: As Brisbane’s dedicated jazz club, this place has all sorts of cool festivals and events running through it. Check its website for gig details and tickets.

JMI Live, Bowen Hills

Jazz Music Institute (JMI) is the only school in Brisbane that offers classes and courses specializing in jazz performance so it seems only right that they have an epic jazz sesh on Thursday nights. The intimate setting allows for great acoustics and atmosphere so go along to hear some of Brisbane's resident or up-and-coming jazz performers. 

Tip: Live jazz starts at 8pm, but head along early or stay a little late for the two jam sessions that start at 6pm and 10:30pm.

Vieille Branche, Albion

Vieille Branche

Every Sunday in the industrial backstreets of Albion, an eclectic warehouse space known as Vieille Branche opens the doors for its Sunday Hot Club. From 1-6pm the space turns into a jiving mash of gypsy jazz, French cheese and flowing wine. Entry is $10.

Tip: Arrive early to grab a good seat and do wear your dancing shoes.

Seymour's Cocktails & Oysters, Caxton St

Peel back the red velvet curtain to reveal a not-so-secret cocktail and oyster bar that's a slice of New Orleans circa 1910. Seymour's claims to serve the best jazz, fresh oysters and super top cocktails. Drop in to test that out yourself while someone tinkles the keys on the upright piano hidden at the back.

Tip: the oysters pair extremely well with a 'smokey' whiskey

Doo-Bop Jazz Bar, Brisbane City

This two-level live music venue in the heart of Brisbane’s CBD serves cocktails, tapas, and a whole lot of soul. The Doo-Bop Jazz Bar has live jazz every night of the week, with ticketed shows and dinner from 7.30pm to 10pm. Head upstairs to the Doo-Bop Brasserie and Piano Bar and dine against the backdrop of a classic grand piano and art deco vibe. For casual dining and contemporary jazz, swing, soul and funk, journey downstairs to the basement.

Tip: New bars get busy. Book ahead and find out about gigs on Doo-Bop's website.

Port Office Hotel, Brisbane City

Skip on down to the Port Office Hotel in the city for it's Thursday Club. From 5pm there'll be a live electro swing band keeping the mood alive in the upstairs Colonial Bar where gin cocktails will be on the cart. Yes really, a cocktail cart will roll up and down the expansive veranda servicing those kicking back in wicker chairs.

Tip: Use this as your excuse to start the weekend early. Cheers to that.

The Bowery, Fortitude Valley

Wednesday night is jazz night at The Bowery. Slide into one of the wooden booths with a classic cocktail in hand and tap your foot or get up and dance to the sounds of Mal and the Hot 5 from 9pm. On Thursdays and Sundays the bar hosts live bands, with DJs spinning tracks on weekends.

Tip: Make this your after-dinner go-to bar every Wednesday.

The Press Club, Fortitude Valley

Press Club

Since 1998 The Press Club has been bringing its own brand of funk to Brisbane’s bar scene. Step through the doors and into the steampunk-esque cocktail bar for a wild night of live entertainment. Tuesdays are RNB, Thursday is roots 'n' rockabilly, Friday's are live bands and across the weekend it mixes it up.

Tip: Check the music line-up online

Remy's, Paddington

Every Thursday, Remy’s hosts live jazz to soothe your soul so you leave feeling loose and jazzy fresh. They also do great burgers and brews to really loosen you up.

Tip: It starts at 6pm, but get there early for a good seat.

New Farm Bowls Club, New Farm

Every Tuesday night Brisbane Unplugged takes over the bowls club with a short line up of live music. Generally it's folk or acoustic in nature, but often blues and soul get a look in. Entry is $10.

Tip: Take a look on the organiser's Facebook page for more details.

Green Jam, QPAC, South Bank

Wrap up the working week by winding down on the green at QPAC. The lawn hosts free live gigs featuring local artists and jazz students from the Queensland Conservatorium from 5.30pm each Friday.

Tip: There's a cheap menu of street eats to tide you over to dinner.

Cobbler, West End

This whisky bar in West End stocks more than 400 bottles of the spirit and features live jazz every Friday night from 8pm to midnight. Even better, keep it going on Saturdays when DJs spin funky old-school soul tracks.

Tip: It is staffed by one of the top 25 bartenders in the world – leave your drink choice to the professionals.

Cardigan Bar, Sandgate

Cardigan Bar Live Music

Cardigan Bar is Sandgate's neighbourhood laneway watering hole that provides a great place for people to meet and sip delicious drinks. The boho atmosphere is complemented with folk, jazz, and blues music nightly from Thursday to Sunday and the odd Wednesday. 

Tip: There's often food trucks on-site or you can BYO food.

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