French is nice, but jazz is the true language of love. Like French, jazz is accented, nuanced, and beautiful. Unlike French, everybody can understand it. Whether you’re from Burgundy or Brooklyn, a well-played jazz standard awakens a whole range of emotions, conveying more with a trumpet, saxophone, or upright bass than words ever could. So if you’re looking for a romantic spot for your next date night in New York, check out one of the city’s top jazz clubs, where the music says it all.
The Village Vanguard is the mecca of jazz in New York. The place smells like an old book and looks like an old record, with dark walls decorated with photos of music legends. The Vanguard stage has been graced by almost every jazz great, from John Coltrane to Branford Marsalis. There’s a 125-seat capacity and a two-drink minimum, so get there fast and order a couple old fashioneds. Snuggle up close and sway to that first smoky horn solo — but don’t exchange sweet nothings while the music is playing. The language of love speaks boldly and clearly here.
Smalls Jazz Club
Tucked in the basement of a Greenwich Village side street, Smalls Jazz Club feels like your college buddy’s living room. Grab a couple glasses of red wine and sidle up to some mismatched seats near the tiny stage. The freewheeling atmosphere is strong in this historic bohemian spot (it dates back to 1993), and people gather every night and stand shoulder-to-shoulder just to be a part of it. This is the spot to enjoy talented up-and-coming musicians, so see them here first before they take over the (jazz) world.
You will have no trouble finding The Blue Note Jazz Club. Just look for the giant black awning in the shape of a grand piano. This granddaddy of a club has been attracting big names for decades, and as such, it’s a bit more dressed up — people tend to polish their look when they go to hear legends like Chick Corea take the stage. Sit at a nice, raised table near the back, order some lobster ravioli, and start in on a cool bottle of sweet rosé. With good food and great music, the evening’s events will leave you on a high as you float out the door.