When i was growing up in Chicago, hanging out with GK, Jess and Megan, it seemed like we were always looking for an authentic, cheap place to hear jazz without being carded.
It wasn't until i moved to Oakland that i found the best one yet - Dillard's in macarthur near fruitvale.
Dillard's is a family place - the names of the Dillard family annoint each of the dishes. Little kids and families surround the jazz players, keeping time with the standards and breaking out into respectable but tight jams. Folks arrive, play a little, and enjoy some good ribs.
Jon Wilner and his roommate Drew first sampled the food from here during a party of ours, they brought by some Dillard's take out. The Texas sausage will kick your ass hot, and the beans side dish is divine. Yep.
The music ranged from Mingus to Ellington, the night I was there. 6 nights a week you'll see the windows steamed up by a quintet rocking the neighborhood. And what a lucky neighboyhood it is!
(or rather, was - Dillard's closed in 1999, to be replaced by The Southern Cafe, a soul food restaurant with the same bad flourescent lighting and no music).