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Vortex Jazz Club (Bar, Club)

Picture of Vortex Jazz Club in Dalston, London

11 Gillett Square, Dalston, London, N16 8AZ
Cuisine: [Other/Unclassified]
Tel: 020 7254 4097 | Email to Vortex Jazz Club | Transport: Dalston Kingsland | Write review

Vortex Jazz Club Review

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Passing a bizarre row of structures akin to the seaside huts that sell boat trips and offer parasols and deck chair for hire, we come across a slick new glass-fronted building and peer inside. Reggae music is being played and acts as the perfect complement to an already relaxed atmosphere.

A warm and strangely comforting array of mismatched furniture creates a lived-in homely feel: old wooden chandeliers combine with modern low-level lighting resembling Death Star trooper helmets hanging from an industrial ceiling; burgundy, teal and scarlet painted walls marry with original stonework; a chaise-long, an arm chair, a chesterfield, a bar stool, all are scattered across a tiled floor; menus are scrawled on blackboards encased in old gold gilt picture frames.

With such a visual feast, it’s hard to focus on the menu. We find ourselves compelled to play a game of spot the matching furniture, but fail miserably, deciding the only uniform items in the whole restaurant are the daffodil-filled vases. Our table appears to be ex-Wetherspoons and next to it is the leather padded section of what was once most probably a 70s bar, now covered in decks. In the corner there’s an old piano littered with paper flyers advertising local events, with a pile games stored in Tupperware next to it.

Finally satisfied that we’ve thoroughly surveyed the scene, we’re able to select from a much less daunting menu that offers a reasonably priced selection of tapas and a handful of mains. Opting for the former, we then settle into a quick bout of people watching, fascinated as one shell-suit-and-shirted man takes the floor, moving from seat to seat clutching two passports and pacing the room, unstraightening chairs as he passes them. He stands out among a diverse clientele of mostly arty types wearing suit jackets and jeans, flat caps and trilby hats - all lost in conversation.

The food and service are very much alike: fast, quietly modest and unobtrusive. We opt for the crispy cooked chorizo; light fluffy hand-cut chips and homemade Aioli; delicious spinach and blue cheese wontons; barbecued meatballs in a tangy tomato sauce; chilled green rolls of Greek Dolmade stuffed vine leaves; and salt and pepper calamari.

Downstairs is the perfect place for a chinwag – something the Director of Vortex, Oliver, is happy to oblige with. He’s clearly passionate about music and proud of the club. Accompanying us upstairs, Oliver explains the history of Vortex as well as tonight's act, The Gannets – a side project of Fyfe Dangerfield from the Mercury Prize nominated band, Guillemots.

At the bar, it's clear that upstairs is the place to be once you're all talked out – a quiet crowd of fellow music lovers are virtually sitting on each other's laps, sharing small intimate candlelit tables, which clutter the floor of the dimly lit room. Large glass windows overlook the square, abstract prints line the white walls and unlike the restaurant, everything coordinates in minimalist monotones. A five piece band begin playing free-form jazz to an intensely appreciative audience, the clarinet player's frenzied performance is mesmerising and looks exhausting. Observing his scarlet cheeks and frantically tossed blonde mop, I start to worry he might keel over as I happily sip on my Cider Longueville.

Music and cider happily absorbed, we head out into the crisp night, planning to sample Gypsy Jazz on a return visit, as well as experience some of the ingenious World Cup plans and perhaps some of the great nightly deals on offer.

Tucked away down a side street off Kingsland High Street in a gleaming new square, Vortex Jazz Club is a place of two halves: downstairs, a chilled out restaurant; upstairs, a self-assured without being pretentious club.
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Customer Reviews for Vortex Jazz Club

Average (based on 1 votes): 1 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Vortex Jazz Club.

“Cheap good quality food and fast service. Drinks are pricier upstairs but Jazz performers were great so it was worth the money.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Jeni White, London (7 years 2 months 10 days ago)

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