In search of the best clubs for Blues & Jazz along the east shore of the San Francisco Bay, we asked
Saxophonist Jeff Tauber for his advice and got the whole story. Some clubs are listening rooms and others are bars and lounges. Easy links to their websites will get you to their music calendars.
Ashkenaz – is still happening at 1317 San Pablo Ave in Berkeley. African, Blues, Hip Hop, Reggae, World Beat and other genres. Ashkenaz is dedicated to providing dance and music from traditional cultures all around the world, featuring local and international bands.
the backroom – 1984 Bonita Ave in Downtown Berkeley – books all acoustically-based genres, including Jazz, Blues, Folk, Bluegrass, Americana and more. It’s an intimate, comfortable venue with no food or drink other than water or soft drinks. Adults can BYOB. Local musician Sam Rudin wants to keep the music venue small and comfy with a Steinway grand piano on stage and thrift shop overstuffed chairs below.
Britt Maries’ – 1369 Solano Ave in Albany – The owner is turning Britt Marie’s Wine Bar & Restaurant into a community music venue so local musicians have an opportunity to play and customers can enjoy a Jazz supper club type of venue, much like in the 1940s. Dancing also. Tauber on sax and Craig Browning on keys played there recently. They are two latter day jazz men committed to playing the songs the way they were written – soft, melodic and lyrical.
The Cheese Board Collective & Pizzeria (2 doors down) – 1504 and 1512 Shattuck Ave in Berkeley – Offers up Blues and Jazz and even during lunch! The Pizzeria backs up, but the line moves quickly. “Kickin’ the Mules Blues Band” plays there.
Chris’ Club – at 656 Benicia Road in Vallejo is dubbed the world’s best eclectic dive bar. Call (707) 552-2916 to find out when they will have a Blues Jam. They have live Music every Thursday, Sometimes on Friday and Saturday (Check their Facebook). Thursdays include Live Blues 7-11pm, with World Famous Do It Yourself NY Steak BBQ and BBQ Oyster Bar on the Back Patio.
Everett & Jones Barbecue, located at the entrance to Jack London Square at 126 Broadway in Oakland, hosts Saturday Night Blues from 9pm – 1am. On Fridays there are two venues: Q’s Lounge – 8pm-12midnight – a relaxed environment with the latest in live Soul and Jaz