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Creme Cafe and Lounge is a small, chic place across from the Ellington Apartments at 1322 U Street NW. The lighting is low, the mixed drinks are strong and spectacular, and if you get there before 11:30 on a Friday or Saturday night, you can have probably the best blue-cheeseburger in the area.

Which is all well and good, mind you, but the best reason to visit Creme is for the late-night jazz that starts at 11:00. The bands set up in the front window, and there are cushy benches set up around the bandstand if the bar or booths aren’t conducive to your listening. You’re not going to see name players, though – these are small local acts from the D.C. and Baltimore areas. (I once asked a particularly good combo what their name was – they didn’t have one. “Just a bunch of dudes, man.”) But their lack of fame doesn’t make them lesser musicians. I’ve yet to see a bad set at Creme. And best of all, there’s no cover!