The Forte Experience

Forte is defined as a thing at which someone excels. At Forte, we strive to excel at everything to make your musical experience a memorable one. Bringing you comfortable seating, local beer, great wine selection and, of course, the best jazz Charleston has to offer.


Forte Jazz Lounge is Charleston's only strictly jazz venue where jazz is always on-tap with the best musicians performing every week.



Artists play two live shows Thursday - Saturday nights with craft beer and bottled wine served throughout performances. The first show of the night begins at 7 p.m. with doors opening at 6:00 p.m. and the second starts at 9:30 p.m. with doors opening at 9:00 p.m. Our guests are welcome to come early.


The lounge offers three sections of seating:

  • VIP ------ couch style seating (16)

  • Premium --table seating (48)

  • General ---Seats are situated along the perimeter of the theater. (24)

There are no "bad" seats in this lounge. Our digital sound system is programmed specifically to each artists during soundcheck so sound is uniform and everyone can still enjoy a conversation with someone near them.


Being a smaller venue, every seat has a great view of the stage.  The VIP section is closest to the stage offering both intimacy and comfort with plush couches and pillows making for a great date night.  Premium is perfect for couples or large groups wishing to sit together. General seating is great if you're those who want to just try us out, check out sounds or need somewhere to relax solo for the night.

The Inspiration

Owner Joe Clarke has been entertaining the Charleston community for more than 30 years. As a local teacher and musician, he has both taught and performed his craft of big band style jazz with students and musicians from all over the Charleston area.


It has been his life’s work to create a venue for jazz artists to showcase their talents to the community and for visitors to enjoy leaving with a sense of Charleston life. Jazz music is his passion and he wishes to share it with the community and tourists of Charleston.

Owner, Joe Clarke
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The Location

We are located on at 475 - 477 King Street, Charleston, South Carolina.


We're right across the street from Basil Thai and directly next to The Macintosh.


Only street parking is available.


If you have any trouble finding us, just give us a call and we will do our best to help 843.637.4931