Buster’s Ice Cream & Coffee Shop
1006 Mission St., South Pasadena
Music Sun. evenings
It’s hard to go wrong with a walk or ride on the Gold Line to Buster’s for ice cream and the Nairobi Jazz Trio on a Sunday. They start at 4:30 and play until closing at 7. Yum.
322 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre
Music Wed.-Sun.; closed Mon.
Café 322 likes to serve its jazz with a nice antipasto, or maybe a little pasta. Sundays are opera nights; Tuesdays are the only nights there’s a cover ($10), to help pay for the twenty-piece big band; Wednesday are for jazz jams; and you take your chances with blues, world music or maybe a jazz trio on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Jax Bar & Grill
339 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale
This is a club committed to its jazz. A jazz act—a trio or more—plays every night of the week starting between 8:30 and 9. Thursday nights are packed for L.A. trumpeter Jack Sheldon, so you might want to make a dinner reservation and stay to enjoy the show. Jax is your typical cozy, low-light-and-brass neighborhood bar, if your neighborhood dishes up a side of great jazz with every drink. The meters on Brand are free after 6 p.m., so settle back and enjoy the show.
510S. Arroyo Pkwy., Pasadena
626.795.1001, the theparkwaygrill.com
The bar at this destination restaurant is a hands-down favorite for a Friday-night jazz outing, when piano/bass duos play. Whether seated at the bar, a table or on one of the comfy couches, you’ll be able to hear world-class jazz at a volume that doesn’t overwhelm conversation. Partake of the award-winning wine list or savor a cappuccino and dessert. Skilled solo pianists play all other nights (except Sunday and Monday). A class joint.
70 S. Raymond Ave., Old Pasadena
Nightly live jazz is the draw here—Sunday through Wednesday, three sets a night and one at Sunday brunch happen in the front room; on other nights, music lovers head to the Bluezz room behind the restaurant in the alley off Green Street for white-linen service and live jazz. Both rooms serve a full menu (of what they call “cutting-edge American”), as well as sampler flights of wine, cheese, chocolate and charcuterie.