May Update – May 1st

What News?

Essentially, the update is that there is no update. Nothing has particularly changed, we are of course still closed, insurance is as useless as ever (shout-out to The Bridge Jazz Bar of yore), and we are exploring every possible avenue for assistance that we can. There has been no definitive announcement from government regarding lockdown timelines or lifting procedures, but it is generally expected, amongst venue managers now, that venues will be the very last to reopen. This will likely mean that we will be closed for a significant amount of time, past the initial 3-month period that current government support was intended to cover.

In fact, we would actually prefer to remain closed for a longer period, if it meant that people could socially-distance for longer, the virus rates could decrease further, and that we could then reopen to relatively normal conditions, without the need for 2-metre distancing. We certainly don’t want to put our staff, musicians, customers or community at risk by opening too early, and we also don’t want to put our small business at risk with the need to reduce entry or operations to an unsustainably low level.

We’re making a plan for how we can survive remaining closed and also what we could do when we reopen — by which I mean, we have a hundred different plans for a hundred different scenarios. We are keeping all of our options open, and after all, improvisation is the heart of jazz.

Here’s a wonderful video from Van Dam Brasserie in Amsterdam, demonstrating the delicate art of socially distant table service:

And that’s only 1.5 metres.

In order to stay closed, we will need further government support, as although it may seem like there has been a lot of support given already, only a fraction of it will apply to any one business, and it will not last long. The small business grant offered was never intended to last past a few months, so if the hospitality sector is expected to remain in lockdown for longer, there will need to be new measures taken.

In the meantime, we will continue to share music from our favourite artists and a peek at what our cancelled programme would have looked like. Our lovely security staff member, Pogo, has been checking in on the bar and lending a hand with some cleaning, DIY and paint touch-ups, so it should all be looking shiny and fresh when we eventually do reopen.

Beer Delivery!

IRow of beer bottles: Paolozzi Helles Lager, Untitled IPA, Z.E.E.P Mediterranean Pale, Futurism Modern Brown, Moonstrips Smoky Wheat, SOHO Jazz Cherry Saison.f you’re missing a good cold pint, we recommend checking out the Edinburgh Beer Factory online shop for contactless local delivery of Paolozzi Lager, Thistly Cross Cider (available in large bag-in-box, don’t mind if I do), spirits from Sweetdram Distillery, and a brand-new range of lagers and ales from their small local brewery. One of which is titled ‘SOHO Jazz Cherry Saison’, which we obviously have to try.

Edinburgh Beer Factory, Thistly Cross Cider, Sweetdram Distillery and 54EP are producing and distributing hand sanitiser free of charge during the COVID-19 outbreak. They have now successfully funded and produced the first batch of sanitiser, and now they are donating £1 from every online order to produce further batches while there is still need.

Plus, they have a sale on! 20% off beer and cider cases, and free local delivery. Perfect for a post-work-from-home pint.


The Music Venue Trust revealed some excellent news yesterday, as Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan pledged £2.3 million to an emergency culture fund to protect cultural and arts institutions such as small music venues and LGBTQ+ spaces in London. £450k of this will go to Music Venue Trust’s #SaveOurVenues campaign, and distributed to venues on the brink of closure as an emergency fund. This is brilliant news for London that we hope to see replicated elsewhere in the UK.

As I mentioned a few days ago, #SaveOurVenues is a new major fundraising campaign from Music Venue Trust. They are asking artists to adopt their favourite small venues and support their fundraising efforts with live-streamed performances. At the moment we are trying to support the general #SaveOurVenues campaign without opening our own fundraiser as we hope to keep that option as a last ditch solution in case of emergency. Whether that emergency is months away, or only a week, we can’t say, but we are exploring all avenues of funding and support to keep afloat.

Groove Thursday

The amazing group running the monthly Groove Thursday sessions (normally last Thursday of each month), recorded a special Bill Withers tribute since they couldn’t be with us in person last night. ❤️
Featuring Toni McVey (drums), Amy Reader (vocals), Luke Cunningham (keys), Mochi Robinson (bass), and Fraser McMillan (guitar).

Bandcamp Day

Today (and the first Friday of the next couple of months) Bandcamp are waiving their fees for all purchases made up to Midnight. This means that 100% of the money you pay for any music or merchandise purchased on Bandcamp today will go to the artists who made it. We highly recommend checking out Michael Janisch’s Whirlwind Recordings label for some fresh sounds and emerging jazz talent.


You can continue to support us and the professional musicians who are struggling right now, by donating what you might usually spend on an entry fee or a drink, or any other amount that you wish. Professional musicians and all hospitality/event staff are facing an incredibly difficult time, having seen months of steady work disappear over-night. Any donations would be extremely appreciated to help us to continue to pay our staff through our closure and support our local event staff community in any way that we can.

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