Venues are listed in alphabetical order. For information on when a venue will be hosting live jazz, blues or gypsy swing, please consult our Gig Listings Guide.
The Alley Café has been a name on the local vegetarian and vegan food scene for over 11 years. Discreetly located in an alleyway off Angel Row, the café is also a haven for live music fans who can enjoy intimate performances from ensembles and solo artists.
The venue draws a friendly mix of customers and prides itself on being a beacon of independent trade and culture within the heart of the city. This ethos extends to actively supporting local musicians including a number of Nottingham’s jazz and blues acts.
Locally based American jazz vocalist Charles Washington will be performing regular sets with his quintet from the 11th of August.
Steeped in local history and vying with the Ye Olde Salutation and the Ye Olde Trip for the title of the oldest pub in the country, The Bell Inn is also noted for its longstanding connection with jazz music.
From 1276 monks brewed beer from a well carved into the caves underneath the pub and in 1437 existing stables were converted into the two taverns that flank the main bar area today. A timeline of all the previous landlords and ladies since the mid eighteenth century is charted on the wall opposite the bar.
Live jazz comes courtesy of local stalwarts The Johnny Johnston Quartet and The Omega Band who draw a mix of music lovers with weekly performances.
The Broadway Cinema is Nottingham’s pre-eminent point of call for independent and world cinema. It also runs a popular café bar that is often arranged to host a variety of live bands and solo artists.
The space-age design of the café bar provides a unique setting for musical events with jazz occasionally heard amongst the mix on the bill.
One of the congregation in attendance during the cinema’s former existence as a Wesleyan Chapel was William Booth, who was inspired by a preacher to found of the Salvation Army.
Having hosted live music for over 10 years, the Broadway has sought to maintain Booth’s altruistic spirit and actively promotes local artists.
Though Café Rouge has restaurants in locations around the country, it has been careful to source its musical entertainment locally. Diners at the Parisian-themed bistro can enjoy the superlative gypsy swing ensemble Swingologie* playing an aptly European take on jazz including many Django Reinhardt favourites as well as other standards of the genre.
The restaurant has been running monthly musical evenings for over a year now. The use of an established live band, in favour of a CD of generic background music, is a refreshing choice and provides patrons with a taste of the kind of evening that defines café life on the continent.
* Formerly The Hot Club of Nottingham.
The recent construction of the Nottingham Contemporary gallery has helped place the city on the national arts map whilst its café bar downstairs is establishing itself as a venue in its own right with weekly live gigs and popular house bands.
The café is keen to provide a blend of musical styles that are accessible to all customers, whether they have been visiting the exhibitions or have come exclusively for the entertainment.
A broad spectrum of jazz music forms an integral part of the billing, with notable past performances from bluesy, vocally lead four-piece Me & Mr Jones, the internationally influenced Jazz Junction, vocalist Charles Washington and gypsy swingers Manières des Bohémiens.
Starting its commercial life back in 1866 as a brewery, the Hand In Heart became a public house with the addition of a shop front during the Victorian era. Today the pub is established as an essential stop on Nottingham’s musical map.
Energetic gypsy swing ensemble Manières des Bohémiens are a regular fixture and fans of the genre will find a comfortable home within the cave walls. Traditional jazz and blues also thrives, as does a selection of other world styles including samba, klezmer and folk courtesy of recent visitors such as Brazilica, Valduna and Deli.
Local piano maestro Pete “the Feet” performs a repertoire of ragtime, jazz, blues and boogie-woogie (plus the odd request) every Sunday lunchtime.
The Jam Café has quickly become one of the city’s favourite independently owned meeting spots. Deep in the heart of Hockley, the café aims to provide a range of live entertainment from local singers, poets and instrumentalists.
Since its arrival over two years ago, the café has fitted neatly into the cosmopolitan blend of the district. Live music has been integral to the performance roster from the time the doors first opened. The owners feel an obligation to represent regional talent and frequently work closely with Nottingham based label Farmyard Records.
Previous notable events include blues jams, jazz bands and acoustic performances from local blues and folk singer Will Jeffery.
The Lincolnshire Poacher is a real ale and whiskey drinker’s oasis on the city centre end of Mansfield Road. The pub has existed in its present form since 1989 after a smaller pub, The Old Grey Nag’s Head, merged with a television shop next door. Visitors will be unlikely to sense how recently the transformation occurred as the pictures, ornaments and vintage bottles adorning the walls bestow the notion the pub was established long ago.
For the past six years, The Poacher has been providing a variety of musical entertainment tailored to suit the tastes of the regular faces propping up the bar. Jazz bands often visit as does blues-influenced guitarist and singer Tony Crosby.
The Malt Cross can proudly boast to be the only Victorian music hall in the country still operating as a live entertainment venue. The remarkable painted ironwork and unique layout of the balcony and stage area provide an insight into the bygone days of live performance whilst providing a platform for current local artists and musicians.
The jazz, blues and swing contingent of the wide musical spectrum on show is represented by regular appearances from local names such as Manières des Bohémiens and singer-songwriter Natalie Duncan along with past visits from national and international acts Portico Quartet and The Hot Club of Cowtown.
The Navigation is an emerging name on the local blues, rock and folk music circuit and after a recent refurbishment, including the construction a larger stage, it is now fully geared towards hosting an array of live bands.
Sitting directly opposite the lock, close to the Canal Street Bridge, the building was purpose-built to cater for warehouse workers during the heyday of trade on the Nottingham and Beeston canal.
Nowadays, the venue intends to serve the needs of real ale drinkers and music lovers. In addition to the regular blues gigs throughout the week, the owners are also proposing to run jazz afternoons on Sundays.
The Running Horse has been turning up the volume for local blues and rock bands since the 1960s. In a previous life as a coach house, the building included a stables and storage level in the caves underground. The 1920s saw the addition of the remarkable tile façade that is now protected as a listed feature.
Current owner Leigh Duffield has been hosting live music at The Running Horse for over two months though he and his father have been enjoying live music at the pub for decades longer. In addition to its hard rock nights, the pub retains an established connection with blues music with local band Phil Tanner’s Blues Dog performing lively regular sets.
Located on the corner where Thurland Street meets Pelham Street within the town centre, the decorative glass windows of the Thurland Hall house a recently redecorated bar area where live jazz bands now feature alongside regular DJs and acoustic performers.
The large double doors, often open onto the street, allow passers by to sample the sights and sounds of the performances occurring inside. On entering, visitors will find an ornate interior that provides an apt setting for the sounds of the jazz ensembles who occasionally appear. The vocally lead Kit Mason Trio are a notable name on the bill, performing a range of popular jazz standards as well as interpretations of current and classic chart hits.
The inspiration to create an inner-city venue based exclusively around live blues music came to owner Neil Dollochin after a visit to Atlanta in the States over 2 years ago. Though Nottingham may not be the home of the blues, Tilt patrons could be fooled into believing otherwise by the array of local bands and duos performing their own take the genre.
The building has played host to a number of nightclubs and was even an umbrella vendor during the glory days of the Lace Market, though its current incarnation seems most likely to endure as the combination of cocktail acrobatics and blues music regularly attracts a healthy mix of customers.
Situated under the tall blue facing of the Castle Rock Brewery on Queensbridge Road, the Vat and Fiddle provides a tempting combination of hand-pumped real ales from next-door and live jazz and blues from local musicians.
The building is much older than the brewery it belongs to, dating from the 1930s and built in a distinctive Art Deco style. The Vat also has an extensive history as a live music venue with over ten years of jazz, blues and folk gigs.
Several locally prolific acts have graced the stage including trad jazzers The Johnny Johnston Quartet and the internationally influenced Deli. Swing ensembles Swingologie and Manières des Bohémiens are currently booked to play monthly.
Though the Ye Olde Salutation is known primarily as a rock and heavy-metal orientated venue, Wednesdays make way for a night of blues courtesy of the Colin Staples Blues Jam.
Their powerful vocals and electric guitar licks resound throughout the timber-framed tavern and draw an ecceltic crowd of music lovers.
Along with the Ye Olde Trip and The Bell Inn, the Salutation believes itself to be the oldest pub in England. It certainly possesses a rich and extensive history, having begun its life as a leather tannery back in 1240 AD, though the caves below the building are thought to date back to the ninth century when they were likely to have been inhabited by Anglo Saxon dwellers.