I recently discovered* an exceptional jazz club in London with a unique atmosphere, brilliant musicians, friendly staff, and memorable cocktails. What else could you wish for, now that long summer days allow us to make the most of our evenings?
Today, DOYOUSPEAKLONDON brings you to The Piano Bar Soho, one of the most exciting places for jazz lovers in London!
*PR invite. We were guests of The Piano Bar, which included live Jazz tickets & cocktails. All thoughts & opinions in this review are my own.
The Piano Bar in Soho, London
The story behind this place is quite stunning.
At the beginning of beautiful stories, there’s always someone passionate. Here, Impresario George Hudson, who was very fond of Jazz music, was looking for a venue to entertain. He just fell in love with this little townhouse in Soho, ideally located in London to attract music enthusiasts. Hence the common entrance to a not-so-common venue…
He created the Piano Bar overnight and guess what, TripAdvisor awarded them top spot as the number one Jazz Club in London this year!
And there’s more: The Piano Bar Soho is THE place that promotes Jazz and supports the live music scene in the UK. It is indeed home to Recording Studio (Soho Live Studios, managed with a resident pianist at the bar Nathan Britton) & Soho Live Artists (a live talent agency). Didn’t I say everything is made with passion here?
The Piano Bar: different rooms, unique atmosphere
I’ve been to several London Jazz Clubs in recent years and love to see how they all offer a distinctive atmosphere.
The Piano Bar is unique because you won’t see such an intimate stage anywhere else! Musicians and the audience are very close, in the center of a dimly lit room. It gives a special character to the place and you can feel the jazz vibes at their best!
You’ll find a few tables scattered around the room, small ones for couples or bigger ones to welcome groups. We sat at one of the biggest ones and met a nice couple we had a lovely chat with about London and Jazz. After this long pandemic, it felt so good to be there and enjoy every single moment of freedom and joy, and even share it with total strangers at our table!
There are several rooms at The Piano Bar, which give this special character to the place.
The Library, on the ground floor, offers all the comfort you can think of and at the same time, you’re very close to the stage so you can enjoy the music differently, more quietly if you wish.
There’s also The Snug, where people can gather and enjoy drinks in a cozy room with music in the background as well.
And the screening room with its 18-seater 180-inch screen with spectacular sound.
In case you’re wondering, yes, these rooms are available for hire. You can take over the whole bar if you like for up to 80 of your closest friends or go intimate with one of these private rooms. Only I’ll let you see The Piano Bar about tariffs 🙂
Live music with jazz masters
As I said, the size of the venue makes it very intimate. It was actually what we loved there: the proximity to the band makes you feel part of it! You feel every note and all the good vibes so intensely!
Another very palpable thing that night was the obvious pleasure these musicians had to play together. Each of them showed a happy face while -I was extremely surprised to discover that -The Piano Bar mentioned that they “rarely book standalone bands and often pair highly skilled musicians that have not played with each other before live on stage”. In such a context, the musicians were obviously having a (contagious) blast!
Another clever thing about this place:
“in order to take away the barriers to live music for young audiences, the founder made the bar affordable and curated a style of jamming session that continually wows audiences and is great fun for the musicians playing.”
How inspirational is that? It did foster collaborations between a few musicians and helped some others further their own careers. This is why Nigel Williams from Jazz FM advocates that “The Piano Bar Soho has been a vital component of the London scene in recent years.”
If you think you’ve seen it all, you are very wrong. Live music at The Piano Bar is awesome, but their cocktails are equally striking (certainly as the Mocktails, and Wines & Spirits I spotted on the menu as well).
The cocktail menu contains a few renowned ones (like The Espresso Martini, one of my favourites), but there’s a signature cocktail we could not resist called Smoked Old Fashioned. For its taste, said my husband (there’s bourbon in it), for its theatrical effect did I add! See for yourself…
You can’t say you’re not tempted, can you?
As a major supporter of the Jazz scene in London, The Piano Bar will take part in the Soho Live Jazz Week next September. Save the dates in your calendar!
“The festival will showcase the UK’s leading and emerging music and artistic talent across both the physical live performance programme and new digital platforms.”
I’d like to thank The Piano Bar for their kind invitation, this place & atmosphere are undoubtedly unique, and it won’t be long before we come back!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found inspiration here. If you are about to book a live concert at The Piano Bar soon, please share your experience and opinion on DOYOUSPEAKLONDON’s blog!