Ending 2021 on a high note: New cocktail & live music lounge ‘The Blue Room’ to open in time for the season

The Blue Room @ Grub & Vine is the latest addition to Chef Matt Manning’s stable; a live music and cocktail lounge that pays homage to the soulful sounds of the blues.

Located on the ground floor at 103 Bree Street, the Blue Room acts as an extension to Manning’s bistro Grub & Vine, while forming part of a collaborative venture with Buddy Wells. Wells, a prominent jazz artist, will manage the venue’s live music element, which will see the Blue Room regularly host top local musicians.

Manning explains that his vision for the space – which was formerly the Red Bull Music Studios – was born from a desire to resuscitate the local music scene, another casualty of the pandemic. “A few months ago, I was chatting to a musician whose electrifying performance I had just witnessed. With tears in his eyes, he shared how good it felt to play again. I connected to this feeling – it reminded me of when my team and I returned to the restaurant post Level 5 lockdown…it was so energizing to be doing what we loved again.

“As with dining out, music is one of those things that add magic to life. Through marrying my experience in hospitality with my passion for jazz, I wanted to provide an exciting platform for local talent, which would breathe new life into Cape Town’s music scene.”

Live sets by some of the country’s top jazz, soul and blues artists will be a regular evening occurrence at the Blue Room, with the festive season line-up including the likes of Nobuhle Ashanti, Darren English, Tefo Mohala, and Hilton Schilder’s Goema Club, to name but a few.

Says Wells, “We’ve set out to create a space in which our finest artists can focus on making beautiful music; a space where the music becomes the focal point of attention, taking the listener on a wonderful journey.”

Overseen by Wells, the building retains the original recording studios, which are available for artists to book. Blue Room patrons will be able to catch these recordings in action from time-to-time, through the studio viewing window which faces the venue’s main seating area.

Manning also intends for the Blue Room to be regarded as a destination for exquisite cocktails, and his menu features delicious concoctions such as the ‘Ella Fizzgerald’ (gin, lime, rhubarb, fennel, and Brut MCC) and ‘Muddy Waters’ (bourbon, dry sherry, vanilla maple, and naartjie) – as well as a delectable selection of small plates for guests to nibble on, which will be served from the Grub & Vine kitchen.

As is the case with Manning’s other offerings located at the same address – Grub & Vine, Culture, and the Chef’s Studio – the Blue Room’s elegant interiors are the work of Monya Eastman of Stokperd.

“We wanted the Blue Room to exist in harmony with our other spaces, and so you’ll see familiar details such as our signature circular mirrors, leather banquettes, and striking floral features. However, it still retains its own identify, with moody lighting, blue and blush interiors, and a grand piano dominating the space.”

Manning says that he is hopeful about the upcoming season. “After months stuck at home, people want to get out and get together. Every day, we’re seeing more and more locals and tourists in the CBD. At 103 Bree Street, we want to give our patrons more than enough opportunities to reconnect with each other, over extraordinary experiences they can share in.”

The Blue Room is open for lunch from Monday – Friday, brunch on Saturdays, and tapas and cocktails at night. To find out more and to view the Blue Room’s upcoming performances, please visit https://www.grubandvine.co.za/events/the-blue-room/ or @theblueroomct on Instagram.

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