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 seven 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: Sundays is 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 Australian Gourmet Traveller’s Bar of Year gong, order a whisky and fresh apple juice (house speciality) and get your toes tapping.

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.

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.

Destination Blues, Roma Street to Glass House Mountains

All aboard the blues express – this old steamer is headed for the hills. About once a month Destination Blues takes passengers on an unforgettable journey in one of Queensland's oldest steam locomotives. Board the blues train at Roma Street Station where the musicians will serenade passengers as the train chugs towards the Glass House Mountains. 

Tip: Book well in advance. These epic train journeys sell out.

Madame Rouge, Fortitude Valley

Madame Rouge Bar & Bistro

Pairing classic French with live jazz is a recipe for the perfect Sunday so step through the red curtain and into another world. There's a different act every week starting at 12pm, and the restaurant offers a la carte or three courses for $59pp. Skip lunch or opt for one of the liquid kind by pulling up a pew at the bar. 

Tip: Keep and eye on its Facebook page to find out who is playing.

Doo-Bop Jazz Bar, Brisbane City

A grand new jazz bar is about to open in Brisbane CBD – and she's throwing the doors open until the wee hours of most mornings. Taking over two levels on Edward St, Doo-Bop will be throwing out sweet brassy sounds once she opens on June 17.

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.

Sonny’s House of Blues, Brisbane City

Sonny's House of Blues

If it’s the blues (and beyond) that get you in the mood, head to Sonny’s. Little sibling to Lefty’s, the underground laneway bar features a live music bill five nights a week and serves an American-inspired fast food menu. There is no cover charge.

Tip: Check its Facebook page for the line-up. The menu has different specials for days of the week.

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: Mondays equals half price wine by the bottle for all bottles worth more than $100. 

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.

Jazz & Food Trucks, Newstead Park

River views. Sweet Jazz. Food trucks. Licensed bar. Can you imagine a more perfect Sunday afternoon? On the first Sunday of each month, Newstead House hosts its Sunday by the River event in the park from 11am-4pm. BYO picnic rug and find a spot to while away your afternoon.

Tip: Bring friends, family and fur babies to the park – everyone is welcome.

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, Wednesday is jazz night, Thursday is swing, and across the weekend it mixes it up.

Tip: Check the music line-up online. 

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. 

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

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