Hey, cool cat! Ready to explore some of the best places to catch live jazz right here in Grand Rapids? I’m here to break it down for you.
I played trombone in high school (third chair, no biggie), so I know a thing or two about making beeps and boops. And I love me a jazz club. They feel so adult – you sit there with your fancy cocktail, listening to musicians belt out jazz standards, soaking in the music, the ambiance, the booze.
Also: a jazz club is a great spot for a first date – I’m just saying. Show that Tinder hottie what a sophisticate you are and take them to a jazz spot. Trust me, gang. It’ll knock the socks off whatever lame chain restaurant or movie you had in mind.
Alright. Let’s hit the best jazz clubs in West Michigan.
- Map of the Best Jazz Clubs in Grand Rapids, MI
- The best jazz club in Grand Rapids: GRNoir
- The best Sunday brunch jazz: Turnstiles GR
- The best restaurant with live jazz: The Old Goat
- The best jazz on the lakeshore: Sandy Point Beach House
- The best live jazz outdoors: Tuesday Evening Music Club at Fredrik Meijer Gardens
- For jazz with a tropical flair: JungleBird
Map of the Best Jazz Clubs in Grand Rapids, MI
The best jazz club in Grand Rapids: GRNoir
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. GRNoir is the premier spot to catch some jazz music in Grand Rapids. The musicians are tight. The ambiance is exquisite. It’s everything I’m looking for in a jazz club.
Besides live jazz, GRNoir is known for its expansive wine list. If you’re looking for one of the finest pours of wine in Grand Rapids, head there pronto.
Expect a cover. It’s also worth noting that weekend performances here sell out weeks in advance – plan out when you want to visit and score your tickets ahead of time.
- Address: 35 Division Ave S, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
- Website: GRNoir
The best Sunday brunch jazz: Turnstiles GR
I love Turnstiles. They’ve got so many different fun music options, from karaoke to open mic night to bands and more.
If you want to elevate your Sunday Funday with some Jazz, head over to Turnstiles. They’ve got live jazz every Sunday from 2-5, and the musicians know how to get things swinging, baby.
Like any good music joint, there are drinks. The food is supremely tasty, and the menu items are playful cultural references. You can order a “paint it black [and bleu] burger” if you’re into the Stones or a salad called “obligatory strawberry fields reference” if the Beatles are more your speed.
- Address: 526 Stocking Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
- Website: Turnstiles
The best restaurant with live jazz: The Old Goat
Ah, The Old Goat. No, I’m not talking about your mother-in-law. I’m talking about the restaurant.
P.S. I love my mother-in-law!
If you’re sitting inside, The Old Goat has live music (not always jazz) going all the time. The last time I was there, a talented pianist serenaded us as we feasted. Jazz is a staple here for Sunday brunch and on Sunday evenings. There are also various weekdays where you can hear some jazz at The Old Goat – head to their website or Facebook page for the latest. The artists who play the Old Goat are supremely talented, and they’ll have you nodding your head and snapping your fingers.
Bonus: the food here is fantastic – many Grand Rapidians would rank it as their favorite spot in town. Grab a mushroom Philly or their brisket sandwich and make your mouth happy.
- Address: 2434 Eastern Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507
- Website: The Old Goat
The best jazz on the lakeshore: Sandy Point Beach House
On Thursday nights from 6-9, there’s jazz in the air at Sandy Point Beach House.
Expect a rotating cast of some of the finest jazz bands and musicians in West Michigan. Enjoy the tunes as you eat and sip some of the best food and drink you’ll find on the lakeshore. (They’ve got a killer whiskey selection if you’re into the brown stuff.)
While Sandy Point Beach House is upscale dining, it’s also casual – there’s no dress code.
Note: Sandy Point Beach House is in West Olive – about 45 minutes from downtown GR. They opened a satellite location in town on Ottawa Avenue that is closed as of this writing.
- Address: 7175 Lakeshore Drive, West Olive, MI 49460
- Website: Sandy Point Beach House
The best live jazz outdoors: Tuesday Evening Music Club at Fredrik Meijer Gardens
It’s not a “jazz club.” It’s an outdoor amphitheater.
But if you’re a member, admission is free for the Tuesday night concert series, which is held all summer long. Non-members are welcome for a reasonable price. And you’d better believe that Meijer Gardens enlists some of the best local and regional jazz groups to perform here.
Outdoor concerts at Meijer Gardens are special. Bring a chair or blanket to sit on, some outdoor food and drinks (sealed, no glass, and no alcohol), and get ready for a night of pure jazz bliss. It’s also an extremely family-friendly spot to catch some jazz. Raise ’em right, and let them get bitten with the jazz bug. Young kids (including mine) love rolling down the nearby hill, exploring the children’s garden (a quick walk away), and remarking on the massive horse statue’s male anatomy. Seriously. Kids these days.
Concessions and alcohol are available at Meijer Gardens, as well. The prices are high, like most concert venues.
- Address: 1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
- Website: Meijer Gardens
For jazz with a tropical flair: JungleBird
On most Sundays from 6-9, Junglebird’s got live jazz. Head to their site or Facebook page to check their schedule and confirm there’s jazz when you’ll be there.
What can you expect besides some swinging tunes? Well, JungleBird is a riot of tasteful colors – the interior of the restaurant looks like a sunset. It’s all warm reds and yellows, like a sepia filter. The design was inspired by joints in Miami and the Caribbean. The food menu skews heavily towards Cuban dishes, and drinks here invariably contain things like rum and pineapple juice. Order whatever pleases you and enjoy as the sounds of an upright bass and trumpet transport you to a tropical land. Just my kind of joint.
JungleBird is in Kalamazoo, an hour or so south of Grand Rapids.
- Website: JungleBird