The long wait for an authentic jazz bar is finally over! Ladies and gentlemen please give a big jazz hands welcome to Sarah’s Jazz Club. Since it swung open its doors in April, the club has been sold out most nights and the city has embraced the riffs, scats and licks of jazz and blues.
Owner and singer Sarah Fenwick has been wooing local and international shores with her jazz sounds professionally for 25 years, so it’s only fitting that she opened a venue dedicated to this much adored music genre. It’s no ordinary bar, yes, it has live jazz played by professional and talented musicians from around the island and abroad but above that, it has a vibe different to anything I have felt elsewhere here.
Tucked away below OXI roundabout, the discreet venue is indoors only. It’s a large rectangular space with high ceilings, large windows running across one side of the room and a wooden bar opposite. The metal criss-cross shutters reinforce the jazzy edgy feel. From the moment you walk in and spot the slightly elevated stage, antique gramophone and traditional red curtain hanging from the wall, you know exactly what you’ve walked into: a real jazz bar. It seats 75-80 and attracts people of all ages and nationalities; the atmosphere is unique and alive. An assortment of tables and chairs including big homely couches and tall red bar stools decorate the space.
The club offers nine cocktails (generally classics,) the kind of drinks one could imagine ordering in 1920s New Orleans. Vodka Martini with muddled olives anyone? I ordered an Apple Martini; it felt like the classy thing to do. It was light, refreshing and deliciously ‘appley’ with crushed apples and sour apple liqueur. They also have nine different wines: three whites, reds and rosés (which they alternate for variety.) There are fresh homemade pizzas available to order if you fancy a nibble.
As the melody of the saxophone sweeps over, one is lost to the blues. Everyone’s body faces the stage, swaying gently side to side in appreciation of the sounds the musicians are sharing, in fact, it’s all very much a sharing experience; that’s what makes the atmosphere special. As sounds change between instrumental solos and vocals, you can hear a respectful gentle dialogue surfacing from time to time but the music is centre of attention and so it should. People looked happily engaged, without a mobile phone in sight! When the live music finishes, recorded jazz, blues and funk is played in the background. Fridays and Saturdays are live jazz nights with a €10 entry. Sarah’s Trio, who have been playing together for 25 years, perform on average four times a month. The rest of the time other professional musicians and bands are showcased. Wednesday nights are Jazz Lounge Experience for chilling out in style in the old city and Thursdays are for creative events such as small theatre groups etc. Thursday’s events are announced ad hoc, so check for them on the website. Booking is important, especially during the live events.
Sarah’s Jazz Club
Where: 35 Xanthis Xenierou, Nicosia
When: Wednesday (8pm), Thursday (9pm), Friday and Saturday (8pm – 1am)
Prices: Wines €18 – 30, Cocktails €8 – 9
Contact: www.sarahsjazzclub.com, Tel: 95147711