New Venue: Jimmy's Jazz & Blues Club Opens September 30 in Portsmouth, NH

The legendary bebop drummer Art Blakey once said, "Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life."  And now, after the past year-and-a-half, there is a longing to rejuvenate, to reconnect with others, to remember who we are, and, at the same time, to dust off and start fresh. Jimmy's Jazz & Blues Club, in historic Portsmouth NH, has created the perfect gathering space for celebrating the joy of music, good food and the best of human will, spirit, and creativity.

Situated in one of New England's most scenic port towns, this century-old, spectacularly restored, state-of-the-art music venue, is the perfect getaway for safely reconnecting with the pleasures of life. You don't have to travel far. It's all right here in Portsmouth, with no compromise for quality.

Jimmy's Jazz & Blues Club is not just about tradition. It's about showcasing some of the greatest living artists out there. Just take a look at the Fall 2021 lineup. On almost any given day of the week, on the Jimmy's stage you'll see GRAMMY award winners and nominees, legends, and some of the most talked about up-and-comers.

Looking for legends? How about Mavis Staples, Charlie Musselwhite, Charles Lloyd or the Blind Boys of Alabama. Maybe something more contemporary? Check out Christian McBride, Nate Smith or Eric Harland. Perhaps you want to make a discovery? Then come hear the likes of Amy Helm or Samara Joy.

And those are but a few of the artists that will be appearing. For the complete list and tickets, please visit Jimmy's Online Event Calendar.

At just a little over an hour's drive north from Boston, you'll easily find yourself in the charm of Portsmouth, NH. By day, you can explore museums and historic mansions, wander through the garden of Prescott Park or shop the boutiques of Market Square. And in the evenings, you can watch the sunset over the Piscataqua River before strolling up Congress Street to number 135, the site of the 1905 YMCA building, now beautifully restored as Jimmy's. Pause before entering and take in the bay windows with custom decorative molding and copper roofs that recall Portsmouth's heyday.

Once inside 135 Congress Street, you'll find a visually breathtaking environment that welcomes you into that perfect nexus of the traditional and the contemporary—old world architecture appointed with modern design. In the main room, original wooden beams and trusses, brick walls and fireplaces retain the original feel, while natural light streams through a stylish two-story glass addition in the rear of the building.
Start off with signature cocktails, and then move on to the southern-inspired menu, enjoying a culinary experience that matches the quality of the A-list musicians. And once these masters take the stage, with sound and lighting technologies that rival the world's top jazz and blues venues, you'll find yourself lost in the joy of live music and its affirmation of the importance of connection and shared human experience.

Four years in the making, the club – named for local businessman James Labrie, who died in 2016 – is the brainchild of his sons, local restaurateurs/developers and jazz and blues enthusiasts Michael and Peter Labrie, co-owners of the Labrie Group, a real estate corporation. The company also owns Atlantic Grill and River House restaurants.

"We wanted to make a valuable contribution to jazz and blues music and felt the best way to accomplish this was to create one of the best jazz and blues clubs in the world — right here in the Greater Portsmouth, NH, seacoast community my brother and I love so much, " Michael says.

Inspired by a Moulin Rouge-style cabaret ambience, the venue boasts a multi-level, brick-and-beam interior with original stained-glass features, two majestic bay windows, and a new, multi-floor glass and steel addition in the rear.

"Our vision is for Jimmy's Jazz & Blues Club to represent the highest standard of excellence in music, food, and service. We want to create the most positive and memorable live music experiences for every guest who comes through the door at Jimmy's."

COVID-19 Protocol

Jimmy's Jazz & Blues Club puts safety first for guests, artists and staff, including the use of top-of-the-line sanitizing equipment. Everyone must present physical or digital proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours prior to attending a concert, along with a government ID. Children under 12, who cannot be vaccinated, must wear masks. Tables are spaced apart and guests are encouraged to wear masks when not eating or drinking. Visitors are also urged to socially distance themselves when moving about the club and to sanitize or wash hands upon arrival and departure.

Photo: Christian McBride & Inside Straight

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