Servant Jazz Quarters

This cocktail bar and concert venue tucked away at the bottom of Bradbury Street in Dalston was opened two years ago by Alice Passey. It has organically grown finding its own identity and place on a fast evolving street, in a even faster evolving area of London. You will find the basement stage hosting a varied program of live music ranging from Monk Jazz to experimental electronica.


traum SJQ

What first struck us about Servant Jazz Quarters is how completely unpretentious it is. It’s not trying to be anything or attempting to attract a particular crowd. It’s understatement is self-selecting and that I imagine is exactly what Alice was hoping to achieve. The bar setup  looks like it’s always been there although I was assured that the space was once a storage area and everything had to be built to measure with a a decor of nick-knacks gradually being added to the bar area on the ground floor. The basement, where the music happens is more stark, as it should be, so the focus is entirely on the musicians.


Sowing the Seeds of Servant Jazz

Alice Passey began using the then unnamed space for one-off events over several years and establishing a loyal local crowd and a network of musicians in the area. Tucked behind the Vortex Club they could often hear the sounds of jazz drifting from above inspiring the name and the direction of a new venue; The Servant Jazz Quarters. With support from the local development cooperative – HCD who own and manage the properties on Gillett Square and on one side of Bradbury Street, the next step was to get all the appropriate licensing an legal requirements to make the space into an official bar with a late drinking license. The building and decor was more a case of getting friends and contacts involved rather than signing it over to a specialised team (one of the things that adds to the charm of the space).  Slowly the sound system and lighting for concerts has been added to and improved on and many of the bands and labels have remained loyal over the past 2 years.

The Plot

Officially open now for just over two years The Servant Jazz Quarters hosts concerts in the basement nearly every night covering a wide range of genres and musical set-ups. Alice has help behind the bar and continuous support from Adam Bickerton who has been really instrumental in the development of the concert side, but she is very much still the heart and energy behind this seed.
An amazing range of bands and musicians have played here so far,  from unknown unsigned acts to more established names. It’s become one of those places where you can drop by unplanned and you are more than likely to come across something worth listening to.


Whether it’s intentional or not SJQ feels like it’s inspired by a more continental style jazz café and concert space rather than the more British pub concert basement or music ‘venue’. Le Baiser Salé in Paris, although it has a more jazz and world music focus, has a very similar vibe as a small unpretentious concert café with a very strong focus on the music. This cub has been running for over 20 years now but they have remained true to their identity and have carved themselves a niche in the Parisian jazz scene. SJQ actually does feel more sophisticated in it’s presentation than Le Baiser Salé but the intention feels similar.


The plan for the future remains firmly on continuing to improve the bar with improved cocktails with the view for Servant Jazz Quarters to also become known as a great local cocktail bar. Opening during the day is another goal, with the aspiration of a daytime café serving some food and good coffee. Alice Passey is growing small so expect some occasional daytime events at weekends to begin.

Useful Stuff

 facebook page

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe Scroll to Top