Finding traditional jazz clubs in Austin can be elusive. Austin is not New Orleans and no establishments offer traditional jazz entertainment on a nightly basis. However, some locations do offer jazz or something very close to it on a weekly or sporadic basis. This is a guide to those places. Bookings change, so consult Other Local Events on this website or call the club before going.
Capitol City Comedy Club
8120 Research Boulevard
Cap City is located in a shopping center at the intersection of Research Boulevard and Anderson Square. It is truly a comedy club, and most of the time is not a music venue at all. However, it is the home of events offered by the Austin Traditional Jazz Society. One Sunday afternoon a month, it comes alive with hot jazz.
Capitol City Comedy Club is a good venue for jazz. Ample free parking can be found in the shopping center parking lot, and there are other shopping centers nearby if an event fills the lot up. The main room is spacious, with seats for more than 300 patrons. There is a large stage, with a good sound system, good acoustics and good sight lines. Austin Traditional Jazz Society has installed two dance floors.
Cap City has a full bar and a kitchen. Menu items are lunch or snack items (sandwiches, quesadillas, nachos and the like), and they are good and reasonably priced.
5621 Airport Boulevard
Quality Seafood is located on Airport Boulevard just south of Koenig Lane. It is located in a small shopping center. Parking is adequate most of the time, but large events can fill the lot. Try to come early to music events.
Quality Seafood is an informal seafood market and restaurant. The food is very good. Seating is at a bar, tables and booths. Quality Seafood recently took over an adjacent store and has been expanded and refurbished. Aunt Ruby’s Sweet Jazz Babies play there every Monday night as a quartet.
315 Congress Avenue
The Elephant Room is Austin’s only real jazz club, furnishing jazz nightly in a variety of styles. The Jazz Pharaohs play from 6 to 8 p.m. every Wednesday and other traditional jazz-oriented bands play other nights as advertised.
Street parking can be a real adventure in downtown Austin during rush hour, but there is a lot with early-bird parking a half-block away on 3rd Street. Don’t be put off by lines of waiting patrons—these invariably are waiting to go upstairs to the Kyoto. Go downstairs and immerse yourself in the basement atmosphere of the Elephant Room.
The Elephant Room is strictly a watering hole—beer, wine and mixed drinks. Patrons occasionally bring their own food or have it delivered.
1315 South Congress Avenue
The name “Continental Club” sounds posh and sophisticated. The reality is quite different. The Continental is basically a concrete box with a stage and a bar. It is pretty strictly a watering hole—eat before you go. Parking is on the street and can be an adventure, although both sides of South Congress are lined with diagonal parking spaces.
The current jazz attraction at the Continental Club is the western swing band Hot Club of Cowtown. Check listings before you go, but they play the early show most Wednesdays.
1110 East 52nd Street
The Carousel Lounge is a piece of Austin entertainment history. It is little changed since the 1960s. It is another watering hole—beer, wine and mixed drinks. Carousel is decorated in a bright circus motif, including a large paper-maché elephant. There are double rows of parking spaces in front of the club. People who find themselves parked in will come back inside to ask the outer parker to move. There are a few spaces at the business next door and some street parking.
The Chaparral Dixielanders play at the Carousel about once a month from 7 to 9 p.m. Other bands run the gamut of popular guitar-based styles. If traditional jazz is your music, check before you go. As at Flipnotics, bands play strictly for tips, so please support the musicians.
East Side Showroom
1100 East 6th Street
The East Side Showroom is a bar and restaurant featuring a variety of music styles. Jazz performers include the East Side Dandies, the Cats and the Canary, the Hollywood Revue, the Velvet Crown Serenaders and the Swingsters. Parking is on the streets and is free, but on busy nights you may need to hunt for a space.
The Nomad Bar is a neighborhood hangout located at 1213 Corona Drive just off Cameron Road in North Austin. It features a very good Sunday Brunch which at times features the Chaparral Dixielanders.
Main Street Grill
116 Main Street, Round Rock
The Main Street Grill is an upscale restaurant in the first block of old downtown Round Rock, next door to Star Coffee. Most patrons attend for the dining experience, but in recent months a jazz trio led by guitarist Jimmy Vence has been playing there on Friday nights. Other Austin-area jazz musicians have played at Main Street Grill from time to time. Parking in Round Rock is free, and there is a free parking garage on South Lampasas Street about a block away.
201 Main Street, Round Rock
Star Coffee was a Round Rock jazz mecca for five years at its old location before its untimely closing. It has re-opened across Main Street in the next block east. This puts it very close to the free municipal parking garage. Jim Ivy has two groups playing there on first and third Thursday nights. This schedule is always subject to change, so check out Local Jazz Events before going.
Star Coffee offers coffee, beer and a variety of food items. Bands don’t get paid by Star Coffee so please support the musicians with tips.