Although Alfie’s nightclub might conjure up images of wine bottles and blue lights dancing through our heads, the University’s largest student bar is broadening their horizons to provide a something a little jazzier. The offer of a regular couch, a usual drink and some crooner tunes has convinced me to make Monday Night Jazz Lounge at Alfie’s a weekly routine.
The usual Wednesday night bump and grind atmosphere is getting a makeover that boasts live entertainment and a classy, relaxed environment. The event debuted Sept. 28.
The featured band last Monday were members of the Queen’s Jazz Band who have dubbed themselves the King Street Jazz Band. Though there were kinks in the technical underbelly of the performance, the event had good bones. Despite technical difficulties, the event possessed a mysterious charm. It may have been the fedoras and pinstripes, but it goes far beyond costumed buffoons.
Monday’s chill atmosphere was refreshing after a weekend in the hub, where sloppiness, deep-fried delights and techno usually prevail over jazz and suave cocktails.
The band’s keyboardist Khalil Rawji said he’s happy there’s finally a medium for their music to be heard.
“We’re used to playing background music for restaurants and conferences,” he said. “We get a lot more reception here.”
What distinguishes Monday night at Alfie’s from most of the nightlife on and surrounding campus is the intimacy. Despite a healthy turnout, a low-key and mellow community vibe was strong throughout the set.
Rawji said he thinks jazz should be a staple in students’ musical curriculum.
“Jazz needs to be on campus,” he said. “It’s a different set of culture.”
The Lounge presents variety for anyone tired of a regular bump and grind routine. A penchant for jazz music shouldn’t be the only motivation for attending. The environment alone is worth visiting for an hour or two.
Step into the Jazz Lounge and you may not recognize your regular Wednesday and Friday night haven. The transformed space offers mounted Miles Davis posters and a new cocktail menu making the joint reminiscent of an old-world luxury. I’m contemplating buying a box of cigars and demanding to be called Deano upon my return next week.
The bizarre but welcome transformation from DJs to saxophones provides a new perspective on campus bars. The confusion last Monday that caused a microphone to cut out and the speakers to make odd noises shouldn’t be a deterrent. And those who dismiss it as unappealing to their musical palate are losing an opportunity to feel like a new-age Sinatra.
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