Date Ideas

The Best Jazz Dates in New York City

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There’s a little Gatsby in all of us. At least, there should be. The gilded opulence, romance, glamour and rebelliousness has never gone out of style. For a date that embodies the spirit of Henry and June, Ella and Louis, or Daisy and Gatsby, try some of these jazz events:

Anywhere The Hot Sardines are playing, ever.

The Hot Sardines are a local band that channels New Orleans by way of Paris during Prohibition. Led by the enigmatic Miz Elizabeth and stride-piano virtuoso band leader Bibs Palazzo, the brassy horns section and foot-stomping percussion section (including a fast-footed tap dancer) round out a raucous show that gets the crowd dancing with renditions of jazz standards and original tunes that embody the spirit of the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Get on their mailing list, follow them on Facebook and Twitter and go see your new favorite band immediately (Joe’s Pub shows highly recommended). Guaranteed evening of hot jazz and sultry swing.

Clover Club

210 Smith Street, Cobble Hill

Heralded as one of the best bars in New York, Clover Club is known for talented mixologists in a city of many fine cocktails. Make a reservation on a Wednesday night, snuggle into a leather banquette, and order one of their elegant bespoke drinks. You’ll be immersed in the Roaring Twenties vibe with the old-timey jazz stylings of Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra (also house act for the Governor’s Island Jazz Age Party).

Governor’s Island Jazz Age Lawn Party

Ladies, practice your finger waves, gents, shine those shoes and start scouting for the perfect bowler hat and suspenders — the wildly popular Jazz Age party on the lovely island off the tip of Manhattan is the apex of summer in New York (dates TBD but save the date for the middle weekends of June and August). Take the ferry over early and spend the day learning to do the Charleston and drinking in the sun and cocktails with the best-dressed New Yorkers since those all-night parties at Gatsby’s mansion. It’s a day of “heightened sensitivity to the promise of life.”

Wits End

205 West 54th Street, Manhattan

This monthly Jazz Age party (last Saturdays) at Flute Midtown will transport you to an underground speakeasy of decadence and sin. Featuring some of New Yorks best jazz acts (including The Hot Sardines and Dandy Wellington and His Band), and hosted by burlesque star Kita St. Cyr, the crowd will be dressed in their prohibition best and you should, too. Fine drinks, vintage attire, dancing the night away…romance is alive and well in the city yet.

St. Mazie

345 Grand Street, Williamsburg

The beautiful reclaimed-wood space and fantastic music make this Williamsburg bar a gem of a date spot. With live music nightly — from honky-tonk Tuesday to Flamenco Fridays — you’ll find something interesting and different every time you walk in. Follow them on Facebook to keep up with the music calendar, or make a reservation for brunch and spend a long afternoon enjoying foot-stomping New Orleans jazz from the Baby Soda Jazz Band. They also have a lovely yard with crawling vines for warm spring afternoons and the elegantly rustic St. Charles Cellar (below the bar) is perfect for a private dinner.

Little Branch

22 7th Avenue, Greenwich Village

A speakeasy-style mixology den that uses eight different types of ice, depending on your drink. This underground space is an intimate, sophisticated spot to lean in close and hear the inhibition-melting groove of live jazz (Sunday through Thursday at 10:30 pm). Seating room only, so prepare for a wait (they don’t take reservations) and dress appropriately for a date night with that classy gal or guy on your arm.