It's well-known that Seattle has a historically awesome jazz scene. But being the dumb idiot rockist that I am, I rarely experience any live jazz in this city, save the time I stumbled upon a jam session at the Owl N' Thistle while waiting for the ferry late one Saturday night. Not even the New York Times' breathless article about our burgeoning "young people" scene (which focused mostly on Cafe Racer's Racer Sessions and high school jazz bands) got me to reform Marshall stack ways.That being said, I highly recommend you check out Lucid Jazz Lounge in the U District, if not for the jazz alone, then for the great happy hour in a surprisingly swanky environment for the Ave.
Here's the deal. Lucid features live jazz daily from Wednesday to Saturday (coincidentally, the only days they are open). There's never a cover. And they frequently have music during the aforementioned happy hour. Case in point: Tonight, the Alika Lyman Group takes the stage at 6:30. During the happy hour (which is not really an hour at all, more on that in a minute) a be-vested, probably mustachioed bartender will make you a delicious cocktail like the Hot Thelonious (brandy, Cointreau, lemon, maple syrup, honey and hot water, served in a snifter with a caramelized cardamom sugar rim) or the Smoke and Honey (vodka, elderberry flower liqueur, Lillet with a Chartreuse rinse) for five dollars. That's half off. All the cocktails on their amazing list. Did I mention this happy "hour" runs daily from 5 to 8:30? And again from 12:30 to 1:30?Okay, now that I've spent way too much time describing the drinks (shows you where my priorities lie), let's move on to the other cool things they do. They have a gallery of local art which changes quarterly, and they recently started recording performances in their space, which can be heard at their Bandcamp page. In conclusion, I recommend you head to the Ave for a cocktail garnished with some hot jazz licks.
Lucid Jazz Lounge, 5241 University Way NE, (206) 402-3042 or www.lucidseattle.com