5 Live Music Spots in Jamaica
October 29, 2010 at 9:56 pm
Jamaica is well known for it’s vibrant night life and with street dances on every other corner on almost every night of the week it is easy to find yourself in the middle of one. However, though there is also a huge live music presence in Jamaica, if you’re looking for live jazz, blues, dub, reggae or otherwise you might want to know exactly where to find it. With that in mind here is a list of 5 Live Music Spots in Jamaica.
Blue Beat (Montego Bay)
Martinis and jazz music are the order of the day at Blue Beat located right next door to Margaritaville on Montego Bay’s “Hip Strip”. The only bar of its type in Jamaica, Blue Beat serves up live jazz and blues music in a cozy setting with atmospheric lighting and cool blue decor to help set the tone. Since its opening in 2004 it has become a well established watering hole (not to mention the extensive menu). A decidedly more upscale place, elegant, with comfortable couches and lounge chairs to the side and a small, crowded patio out back overlooking the harbor. The outside lounge area is the best place to be on a typically hot, humid Jamaican night, a patio with couches and chairs just a handrail away from the dark ocean below.
Weekly fun includes live jazz from the resident band, live DJ music nightly, Friday night’s Copacabana Latin Flare, and Saturday’s Guest List. Blue Beat also hosts an unplugged series featuring international and local artists.
Jamnesia (Bull Bay)
Located just about 30 mins east of Kingston in Bull Bay the bi-monthly Jamnesia Sessions is one the most entertaining live music events in Jamaica and is steadily increasing in popularity since its birth 3 years ago. Jamnesia serves as a platform for many rising and already established musicians, poets and even dancers to perform in a laid back outdoor setting with food and drinks just a few steps away and the beach just a tiny bit further. The open mic event is held at the Jamnesia Surf Club, and hosted largely by the Wilmot family, headed by ‘Billy Mystic’ Wilmot. This authentically Jamaican event is often followed by a 3-4am bonfire and best of all it’s free!
Redbones Blues Cafe (Kingston)
Redbones Blues Cafe in Kingston offers up a mix of Southern/US and Jamaican fusion cuisine with Jazz, blues, and other arts events all in open-air ambience. Located at 1 Argyle Road in Kingston this is not only a great place for live music, the food is excellent as well. The Jamaican-contemporary menu offers a wide variety of international dishes with a local touch. A fully stocked bar adds to the offerings. The spot features elegant dining rooms, intimate terraces and enchanting private gardens. Redbones also plays host to art exhibitions, foreign films, theatrical productions, worldbeat music evenings, vibes verse poetry nights, and some of the best live music in town.
Jonkanoo Lounge (New Kingston)
For live roots/reggae, jazz and dub music (and poetry) in the New Kingston area The Wyndham Kingston hotel’s Jonkanoo Lounge is the place to be on a Friday night. The lounge hosts a weekly event called “Plug N’ Play” and different bands and acts take the stage each Friday night from 10pm till 2am. If somehow the music isn’t enough the setting will get you. The entrance to the Jonkanoo Lounge overlooks the pool garden at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel and it has developed a reputation as a great place to hang out. There is a large bar with tall, rotating stools around its circumference, and large, cozy, cushion-seated booths offer the ideal setting for relaxing or for a romantic rendezvous.
Bourbon Beach (Negril)
Located on Norman Manley Boulevard in Negril Bourbon Beach has been described as the best spot for live reggae music on the Negril strip. This is made all the better by the savory jerk chicken and pork on the menu at this beachfront restaurant and bar. Bourbon Beach offers live reggae concerts every Monday, Thursday and Saturday night as well as special concerts other nights of the week. Past concerts have included names like Bunny Wailer, Gregory Isaacs and Bobby Dread. Evenings are especially lively, with local reggae artists playing late into the night under the glittering stars.