Two excellent places are JJ Smyths
and Sweeney’s, but they are the most known ones, and there are many more that are also interesting. Here’s a few which I know first-hand:
- Weekly Sunday jazz brunch with Stella Bass – starts every Sunday at 2pm. Vocals, piano, double bass and drums. Mainstream jazz, they take requests, but they won’t play Led Zeppelin (a friend tried). You’ll have more luck asking for an Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone or Roberta Flack song. The venue has superb acoustics.
- Louis Stewart plays first Wednesday of the month in The House restaurant in Howth. It’s a guitar + double bass duo, sometimes joined by a sax player. It’s the best jazz guitar I heard in Ireland.
- The Essential Big Band – I saw them when they played in Bleu Note on Capel Street (photo). These days they play in the Grainger’s pub on Malahide road on Mondays.
- Monday Jazz jam session in The Grand Social – starts at 9pm, runs until midnight. It’s an open stage jam, so anything can happen. Acoustics are so-so.
- Hot House Big Band plays in Bad Bob’s in Temple Bar, admission €5
There’s a jazz night in the Bello Bar on Sundays, but I haven’t been there yet.
There’s also the Bray Jazz Festival 2014 coming up on the bank holiday weekend in May.
UPDATE 2016-08-16: Mercantile is in Bad Bob’s now, Sweeney’s closed, and the jam session is on Mondays.