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Every Jazz fiend that steps into the city has dreamt, heard or queued outside Ronnie Scott’s thanks to its legendary reputation. If your budget is smaller, and the desired vibe more intimate, we recommend turning to the East. A short walk away from our Hoxton pads lies London’s beloved Broadway Market, home to our favourite weekend market by day, and a buzzing spot of nightlife in the afterhours. East London jazz lovers have made a habit of following the glow of the neon sign of Kansas Smitty down into the basement of the Off Broadway cocktail bar for candlelit nights soundtracked by the house band.
What makes the adventure so special is that the joint is, in fact, run by said house band. After years of rotating between numerous local pop-ups and popular jazz houses, Kansas Smitty’s House Band has found a permanent residence in this hidden little gem, gathering crowds of jazz lovers between every Wednesday and Sunday. That happens given that they’re not busy playing jazz festivals around the world, of course.
All this talk about music almost makes it seem as if we’ve overlooked the drinks situation. Whilst Smitty’s is, first and foremost, an experience, the occasional ticketed nights making it stand out from your usual bar, the selection of (almost exclusively) juleps is not to be dismissed. So raise a glass of bourbon to the city that ignored the Prohibition and channel some of the charm of that bygone bebop era.
Kansas Smitty’s is here to bring the ultimate jazz experience to a younger crowd, bringing the bohemian kind of hedonism of the American city to London’s speakeasies. If that doesn’t have you convinced to head on down to Broadway Market, we don’t know what will. We won’t be surprised if you’ll find the band taking over your Spotify playlists afterwards. Oh, and on top of that, we hear that there’s a chance of running into Michael Fassbender or Alexa Chung while you’re at it.
Kansas Smitty's, 63-65 Broadway Market, London E8 4PH, is open Tuesday to Sunday 7pm-12am.