116 E. 27th St.
A world away from the low-ceilinged, cramped clubs of the West Village, the sleek Jazz Standard is one of the most upscale and civilized spots to view jazz in the city. Located in the basement of Danny Meyer's similarly designed Blue Smoke restaurant, the club features the down-home country cooking of its upstairs neighbor, as well as its vast selection of wine and spirits, including about 20 varieties of tequila. Although it lacks the raucousness and character of veteran haunts like The Village Vanguard, the Jazz Standard makes up for it by enticing patrons with unobstructed views of some of the hottest jazz performers. And while the covers, which range from $25–$40, may seem hefty, the lack of a drink minimum means clients don’t need to speculate how heavy the tab will be by the end of the night. Be sure to survey this huge space with its red leather benches and exposed filament bulbs dotting the walls from the elevated back bar’s vantage point, and while you’re there, try out Blue Smoke’s original ale, and let the music do the rest.