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Arists on stage at Super Sonic Jazz Festival 2021 in Paradiso. Steam Down.
Image from Jelmer de Haas

Best jazz bars and venues in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has built a name as one of the leading European jazz cities. In this guide, we will cover the best jazz venues across the city. From intimate jazz cafes and restaurants to stages that welcome international competitions and festivals. Get ready for a night of swinging jazz in Amsterdam!

Major venues


Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre exterior, including Muziekgebouw and BIMHUIS.
Image from Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre

Bimhuis is one of Amsterdam’s largest pioneering jazz venues. It regularly welcomes acclaimed artists, international and local, to perform jazz and improvisation. The concert hall is also home to the most prominent Dutch jazz prize, the Boy Edgar Prize. There is much to discover, whether you prefer jazz, blues or a blend of genres. Aside from a vast array of daily performances, you can join the free Tuesday jam sessions happening in the Bimhuis cafe.


People in line for Paradiso during Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) 2022.
Image from Jan de Ridder

Established in 1968 in a former church, Paradiso is an irreplaceable star in Amsterdam’s musical landscape. Its foothold in the jazz world is significant: Paradiso has something to see and listen to almost every day of the week. Most performances carry a particular experimental spirit that is the heart and soul of this venue. From piano mixes to funk, alternative pop, and swinging jazz, you won’t be able to remain still.


People in line for the Melkweg Rabozaal during Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) 2022.
Image from Jan de Ridder

While primarily known for its place in Amsterdam’s nightlife landscape, the iconic Melkweg is no stranger to jazz. You can expect to find all manner of artists performing fusion jazz, neo-soul, as well as folk and electronic jazz blends.

The Royal Concertgebouw

Image from Ronald Knapp

The world-renowned Royal Concertgebouw is known for its exceptional classical music offering and highlighting and uplifting jazz musicians. One of the initiatives that the Concertgebouw is involved in is the Dutch Jazz Heritage. This concept revives concerts by jazz legends of the 1950s and 60s performed by the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw in collaboration with the Dutch Jazz Archive. The Concertgebouw has seen iconic performers such as Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong. Now, the new wave of jazz talent is taking to the stage, and it’s the perfect time to become part of this living history.

Jazz festivals

Red Light Jazz

Image from Gerhard Richter

Red Light Jazz is an annual jazz festival hosted in various venues throughout the Red Light District, from cafes to restaurants to churches and iconic theatres. It was initiated by local entrepreneurs to highlight Amsterdam’s rich tradition as a jazz city. 

Jazzfest Amsterdam

Jazzfest Amsterdam showcases the best of Amsterdam’s dazzling jazz scene. Jazz musicians from various movements are united together under one roof in Amsterdam Oost for one evening. The JazzFest Amsterdam also organises JazzFest for Kids, the JazzFest Neighbourhood Concerts, JazzFest Talks and JazzFest Minifest, with a small number of performers taking the stage at Bimhuis.

Super-Sonic Jazz Festival

Super-Sonic Jazz Festival is a talent development platform that provides a stage for the new wave of contemporary jazz musicians. They organise concerts throughout the year in various venues, from Paradiso and Bitterzoet to SkateCafé and De Brakke Grond. The Super-Sonic Jazz Festival happens once a year, usually in November. It includes a lot of genre-blending and experimentation with the contemporary nature of jazz and hip-hop, neo-soul, R&B and electronic, truly pushing at the definitions of jazz culture. 

Jazz bars and cafés

Café Alto

Image from Facebook Jazz café Alto

Live jazz awaits you every night at Jazz Cafe Alto, a jazz cafe on the Korte Leidsedwarsstraat hailing back to 1953. Doors open at 21.00 and the music starts at 22.00 and goes till 02.00 (and till 03.00 during the weekend). Early Monday evenings are reserved for jazz sessions, from 18:00 to 20:00. You can expect a range of artists in jazz and blues, from young up-and-comers to experienced professionals performing in a cosy bohemian setting.

Café De Engelbewaarder

Café de Engelbewaarder is known for almost 40 years of weekly live jazz sessions. The cafe has hosted legendary musicians such as Woody Shaw, David Murray and Archie Shepp. Nowadays, the sessions go on every Sunday afternoon from 16:30 to 19:00. The permanent backing band consisting of Leo Bouwmeester on piano, Jacko Schoonderwoerd on double bass and Victor de Boo on drums invites a different guest player every week. 

Café van Leeuwen

Every Sunday at 20:00, you can expect a jazz concert at Cafe van Leeuwen. The cafe often welcomes artists to share their latest releases, and you’re guaranteed to enjoy energetic jazz, hot vocals and cool grooves. The entrance is free.

Café van Leeuwen, Keizersgracht 711


The interior of restaurant Pllek at NDSM.
Image from Jan de Ridder

Stop by Pllek in NDSM every Sunday afternoon to enjoy their Laidback Lives starting at 15:30. The entrance is free, so chill with a drink and enjoy the city views to improvisation sounds, with something different awaiting you every week.

Zaal 100

Zaal 100 is a neighbourhood cultural centre established in 1984 as a squat. Nowadays, they organise everything from art exhibitions to theatre and modern jazz evenings every Tuesday evening. The performers unite into new combinations every time to keep the groups and their improv fresh. The performance starts at 21:00 and is also streamed online.

Maloe Melo

Image from Facebook Maloe Melo

Maloe Melo is the oldest blues cafe in Amsterdam. Based in the heart of the Jordaan, it has live music any day of the week from 21:00 and into the early morning hours. The entrance is always free, and jam sessions take place every week.

House of Jazz

Every Sunday afternoon, TenClub Amsterdam turns into a playground for live jazz accompanied by champagne and oysters for House of Jazz. Hosted by Bas van Lier, House of Jazz presents the best musicians from home and abroad, from Dulfer to Sister Sledge, Michael Varekamp to Benjamin Herman.

Honourable mentions

  • Cafe de Pianist - Acoustic live music is played weekly at Cafe de Pianist, starting with its co-owner Rob on the piano. The night continues with jazz, gipsy jazz, singer-songwriter duos and more. Keep an eye out for the lazy Sunday afternoon sessions and the Fun Fridays on the agenda: they will often have jazz, as well, and don’t miss the Jazz night every Thursday from 20:00 to 23:00.
  • Studio/K - Every last Wednesday of the month, enjoy jazz at Studio/K for their regular event Jazz in /K. A group of musicians fills the restaurant with some swinging and magical sounds. So, make your dinner or movie night even cosier by watching and listening to the band!
  • Brasserie Nel - What better way to start the week with jazz? Brasserie Nel Sessions happen every Monday between 21:00 and 01:00 and feature the best of Amsterdam’s music scene. Nel’s lineup includes a mix of jazz, Latin, soul and funk, so check the agenda to make sure there’s something for you.
  • Zoku - Friday jazz nights at Zoku on Weesperstraat are arguably one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Come by in the evening and enjoy the music on the 6th rooftop floor. Zoku serves gin cocktails for a special rate. No entrance fee is required.