If you have a passion for live music then you are in a city that has it all.
The Electric Factory and TLA are great places to see some of your favorite bands and musicians who may only come around once a year. But if you’re just looking for a place to chill, have a bite to eat and treat your ears to some smooth jazz or blistering blues then head downtown to some of the hottest clubs around.
Not too far from Temple’s main campus is Ortlieb’s Jazzhaus (847 N. Third Street, near the corner of Poplar.)
Ortlieb’s hosts live jazz six nights a week and is closed on Mondays. The club has been open since 1987 and has had performances from the legendary Branford Marsalis and George Benson. Bootsie Barnes, Jimmy Oliver and the Mickey Roker Quartet often play at Ortlieb’s and most sets start at 8:30 p.m.
The Jazzhaus doesn’t look too impressive from the outside, but the inside holds a small bar and a long room lined with trail lights where there is dining and a small platform for the band.
Pictures of jazz legends cover the walls. The vibe is good and the sound of the music coming from the makeshift stage is raw.
“It’s a very mixed crowd and some of it depends who the artists are … the rest is sort of a built-in following for the place,” said owner Pete Souders, who plays the sax himself. “People come here all the time and come from all over the place.”
Heading over to the Avenue of the Arts, Zanzibar Blue (200 South Broad St.) offers live jazz and international cuisine. Zanzibar Blue, Warmdaddy’s, and Brave New World are all owned by the Bynum brothers, Benjamin and Robert.
“We wanted to develop an environment where you could partake in a full evening of entertainment; you could come out for dinner, you could stay and see a show or you could choose to do either,” said Ben Bynum.
Zanzibar Blue is a more upscale club but affordable for everyone; a place where you can spot the average Joe or Allen Iverson having a good time.
Zanzibar is one of the most impressive clubs as it has a separate bar room and a two level dining area that surrounds the stage. The menu is wide with influences from Caribbean, African and French cuisine. Recently the club has played host to Jill Scott, Acoustic Alchemey and many other jazz vocalists and bands.
Over on Front and Market streets, Warmdaddy’s is in a class of its own. This blues club/restaurant/bar attracts a wide variety of people from college students to grandparents. The atmosphere can be loud, especially during the sets, but it can also cater to the more reserved couple out on the town.
The restaurant has a lot to offer with Gospel Sundays, comedy and poetry on Mondays, and national and local acts, as well as some open-mic nights. The menu is rich in southern flavor and the drink specials are mouth watering.
“Warmdaddy’s is accessible to everybody,” said Hary Hayman, director of operations for all three Bynum brothers’ clubs and restaurants. “Bringing people together here is unparalleled.”
What all of these places have in common is that they are nearby, affordable, fun, and present blues and jazz how it ought to be: enjoyable for everyone.