177 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
The Uptown Jazz Café is a fine establishment just north of the Melbourne CBD. Surrounded by pubs and boutique shops, it is a little hard to find- a small white sign next to an open doorway is the sole visual cue- but the sound of jazz pouring down the stairwell is a giveaway.
Climbing the stairs you enter the bar and are immediately taken to another time and place. The décor is warm and inviting, candles cast a red glow over the tables, and a wall-length mirror gives a feeling of space.
The staff are friendly and the bar is stocked with the usual array of spirits and bottled beer. Peckish patrons can also order Japanese snacks and meals at the bar, with Uptown billing the traditional flavours of the fare ‘Tokyo style’.
What you really come here for, however, is the music. With live performances from 8.30pm Wednesday to Saturday, Uptown is one of the more happening jazz clubs in Melbourne. Local and interstate acts perform here regularly, and international artists like George Garzone drop in when they tour down under.
The bandstand is small and surrounded by chairs and tables, so snagging a seat here will put you mere inches from the performers on any given night. The atmosphere bubbles as the music plays, and while you can’t light up a cigarette inside there is still a smoky feel to the venue as bands jam on stage.
Perhaps not the ideal venue for an intimate date, Uptown is a fantastic place to see live jazz. The clientele are amicable, the music is great and the setting is just right. It’s probably time you headed Uptown.