The Blue Note has the most corporate feel of all the clubs (perhaps because it’s now a chain, with four clubs in Japan and one in Italy). Tables are jammed together, the bar area is even more crowded, and the second floor is given over to a huge souvenir stand of such kitschy items as jazz golf balls and bubble-head figurines of musicians. But it still attracts some genuine talent, so it can’t be overlooked, and it does have a terrific late-night series for newcomers. Ticket prices vary widely and can go as high as $50 plus drinks; it’s cheaper at the bar (though I’d recommend avoiding the bar at all costs; you’re too far from the music here and the atmosphere is like Grand Central Station at rush hour).
- Pauline Frommer