Given its reputation, you wouldn’t think the Jazz Café was such a newbie on London’s music map, but the venue was only converted from a branch of Barclays in 1990. In those days (and until recently), the support pillars famously boasted the audience command of ‘STFU’ – a relatively cryptic move in the pre-textspeak era – which left the crowd in no doubt that this was a venue that took musical appreciation seriously.
These days, the venue’s interpretation of jazz is somewhat loose, stretching to intimate shows by US hip hop legends (such as De La Soul) and racing certainties (such as Aloe Blacc’s incredible UK debut), as well as shows by soul and funk legends such as Marlena Shaw.
The Blues Kitchen Shoreditch
This Curtain Road venue is close in style and sentiment to its big sister, The Blues Kitchen over in Camden. Expect, then, a restaurant, bar and music venue with a hefty Stateside influence - from its bourbon and its barbecues all the way to its blues. Music does have a big part to play here. There's live artists pretty much every night of the week, with everything from rock 'n' roll to swing, motown, roots and even gospel complementing all that smokey blues. Keep an eye out for nights where food and music combine in happy harmony - think bargain ribs gnawed to a soundtrack of soul. An in-house barbecue, with meats smoked over fruit woods in their own fire pit, is kept busy - orders of beef brisket, smoked chicken, short beef ribs and burnt ends glazed with a beer and hickory barbecue sauce prove popular. Chilli,gumbo and a catfish jambalaya also feature.
Venue says: “'Free wing Fridays' between 5-7pm at the Blues Kitchen Shoreditch. Come down and get your wing on!”