The Sounds of Detroit: Live Jazz Music for Every TasteModified: April 27, 2023 | Story by Max White
Detroit is known for its music. We’re the home of Motown, techno, and the city thrives in all other forms, with plenty of places to see a show.
Nearly every night, there’s an opportunity to catch live music, but some may love the smooth sounds of jazz to accompany them. Here are some of the best spots for jazz in Detroit.
While Cliff Bell’s has been open since 2006, there’s a long history of John Clifford Bell, who started operating his first club in 1930 in Detroit. Now, the bar one block away from Woodward Ave. in what’s now known as The District Detroit is a great spot to listen to music.
There are shows throughout the week at Cliff Bell’s, and you can get tickets for dinner and a show. There’s a full dinner menu, a drink menu, and even desserts. For a full list of events, check out their website.
Baker’s Keyboard Lounge
On Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion in the northwest part of the city, Baker’s says it is one of the longest-running jazz nightclubs in the world, and it originally opened as a beer and sandwich restaurant in May 1934.
Legends from the jazz world have performed at Baker’s, and they have music playing often at the bar.
It also features a full menu with sandwiches, appetizers, entrees, and lunch items.
Aretha’s Jazz Cafe
Named after one of the most iconic artists from Detroit, Aretha’s Jazz Cafe is located inside Music Hall Detroit. The secret space has photos of jazz and Detroit and Detroit legends lining the walls and has shows during the week and weekend.
You can also order food and drinks while listening to the music.
Bert’s Market Place
Bert’s is an iconic spot in Eastern Market and has an entire entertainment complex. They have music shows and comedy shows, and it has four different areas of the club – a jazz room, Motown room, a warehouse theater, and Hasting Street Hall.
Willis Show Bar
Willis Show Bar originally opened in the Cass Corridor in 1949 but closed in 1978. In 2018, the bar reopened with shows throughout the week, and they’re not always jazz.
You can get table and bottle service for the show, or just order off the regular bar menu.
Motor City Wine
Located in Corktown, Motor City Wine has shows throughout the year inside and outside on their beautiful patio. During the summer, grab a bottle of chilled wine and listen to music on the patio, but you can also check out shows in the fall, winter, and early spring inside. They often have jazz music on Friday and Saturday nights.
Detroit Jazz Festival
For over four decades, the Detroit Jazz Festival has been taking over Downtown Detroit on Labor Day weekend. They have stages around the city, including at Campus Martius, Cadillac Square, Hart Plaza, and more.
It’s also free, so you can explore Downtown and listen to music during your holiday weekend.
Dirt Dog Jazz Cafe
While not in Detroit, the Dirt Dog Jazz Cafe is about 20 minutes east of the city in Grosse Pointe Farms. The jazz cafe opened in 2008 and has shows during the week and weekend. You can make reservations for a table, and they also have a full food and drink menu.