BEST JAZZ CLUB Minneapolis 2005 - Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
The Artists' Quarter is funkier, cheaper, and a better spot to hear up-and-comers, and there are certainly other small and mid-sized spots in town where one can hear great jazz, but the Dakota is this category's perennial winner for a reason. Hearing world-class live jazz in a small setting is one of life's great joys--especially when the acoustics are as good as they are here; the Dakota is simply one of the best-sounding rooms in the country. The downtown Minneapolis spot consistently brings in well-traveled titans and young poll winners. Ahmad Jamal, Les McCann, Rene Marie, Dave Holland, Patricia Barber, Dave Douglas, Bill Charlap, the Bad Plus, the SF Jazz Collective, John Scofield, and Matt Wilson have all played the club in the past year or so, just to name a few. Locals are also routinely showcased, and the club also sometimes ventures beyond jazz into blues and roots music. The Dakota's size and relatively conservative clientele keep the bookings from getting too far out into jazz's left field, but owner/jazz lover Lowell Picket isn't afraid to take chances from time to time. Plus, the food is superb.