The Joy of Jazz

The hip international vibe at Shanghai Jazz in Madison has made this cultured gem a prime location for romantic couples seeking a fun night full of music.

Shanghai Jazz in Madison.
Courtesy of Shanghai Jazz.

Fun and romantic, with an international vibe, Shanghai Jazz hits all the right notes. That means the food, service and ambience—plus the live music—are consistently in perfect harmony.

“Shanghai Jazz is a place to celebrate world-class jazz without going into the city,” says co-owner Martha Chang. “We share our joy of music by presenting something different every night—Brazilian jazz to Duke Ellington classics to cabaret style.”

Traveling, working and studying in Asia, Chang and fellow owner David Niu were inspired particularly by Shanghai’s romantic history as the “Paris of the Orient” in the 1920s and ’30s. They returned to Martha’s hometown of Madison in 1995 to create a neighborhood venue infused with “jazz and joy.”

Arrive early to sample a signature cocktail at the bar, or choose from a full wine list and more than a dozen beers on tap, including Shanghai Jazz’s own microbrewed ale. Then sit at a cozy table and dine on gourmet Asian cuisine.

Visit Tuesday through Sunday evenings and experience world-class jazz, pop and blues in an intimate atmosphere while you dine. On Friday and Saturday evenings, the club has two shows and two dinner seatings. You can move to the bar area after the first seating to continue listening to live music. Or come early and pull up a seat at the bar until your table is ready at the second seating.

Seasonally inspired menu items include firecracker beef, three-chili chicken, pad thai noodles, a dim sum appetizer platter and a special dessert sampler with red velvet cake, chocolate mousse cake with hazelnuts, warm brownie sundae and Fuji apple cobbler.

The club charges food and drink minimums ranging from $15 to $35 per person (plus tax and tip) during dinner. A music cover charge also applies during designated special events. The next special event is a Mother’s Day brunch and dinner May 8 with legendary guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli’s trio. Reservations are required and details are at

“It’s not unusual for Bucky to play at the Paris Opera House one night, then at Lincoln Center and then right here at Shanghai Jazz,” says Chang. “We are particularly proud of the friendships we have built with great artists and wonderful customers over the years.”

Shanghai Jazz
24 Main Street, Madison

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