When it comes to jazz clubs in Europe, London’s 606 Club is right there at the top.
Located in Chelsea and owned and run by musician Steve Rubie since the 1970s, it has welcomed pretty much every big name in British jazz and has been a vibrant spot of the city’s buzzing nightlife.
Even though 606 Club officially opened in 1976, its history goes back to the 1960s, according to owner Steve Rubie.
“I first set foot in the 606 Club in the late 60’s after a gig with my friend, singer/guitarist Dave Lipson,” says Rubie on a note published on the club’s website. “Still in my teens I was fascinated by this tiny basement venue where some of the most outrageous characters I had ever met rubbed shoulders with a variety of visiting musicians and local celebrities.“
“Situated at 606 Kings Road (just by Christopher Wray’s Light Shop) it was a unique venue which boasted 7 tables and a log fire, the only heating during the winter months,“continues Rubie.
“I was then still at school, although already playing venues, and it was a year later when I started at University in London that I became a regular visitor to the Club. Whilst the rest of my friends were going to parties every weekend, I was off to do gigs! And inevitably, afterwards we would end up at the ‘6’. It had been taken over in 1969 by an ex-actor and remarkable character called Steve Cartwright who did much to establish the 606 Club as a jazz venue.“
Chelsea’s High-Profile Jazz Venue
Since relocating to its current venue, 606 Club has established itself not only as one of London’s finest jazz venues, but also as one of the most prominent clubs of the international jazz scene.
“In the 30 years since we have moved to grander surroundings at Lots Road and I have met and worked with many of the finest musicians in the world, a significant number of whom are British or UK-based,“ adds Rubie , who was asked to take over the club by Cartwright in 1976 as Cartwright was about to relocate to France.
” I immediately said ‘Not a chance!’ And the rest, as they say, is history.”
And what a history it has been.
DownBeat Magazine included 606 Club in its list of the world’s top jazz venues, referring to it as “A treasured Chelsea hunt […] [that] presents the finest UK straighthead, including veterans Peter King and Bobby Wellins“.
606 hosts a total of 10 acts a week, plus occasional Sunday lunches. The employment of 2 bands a night on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a different act each night from Thursday to Monday, makes the venue the biggest employer of UK-based jazz artists in the country.
Because of the club’s popularity, especially on Fridays and Saturdays, booking in advance on weekends is strongly recommended.
According to what is stated on its website, 606 Club aims at presenting the best UK-based jazz available in the most relaxed surroundings possible, with the best food and at an affordable price.
Food and Private Events
Good food indeed.
Every week Head Chef Jean-Pierre and his team create a wide varitey of dishes with European and Middle-Eastern influences. The menu – a selection of starters, main courses and delicious homemade desserts – changes regularly, but you can be sure that a visit at 606 is going to be a pleasure for all of your senses (if you like what you’re reading, make sure to share this post).
In addition to providing great live jazz and high-quality food, the 606 Club also gives guests the opportunity to organize private events at the venue. Accomodating up to 175 people in a unique atmospheric restaurant, it’s the perfect choice for pretty much any kind of event. Planning a business presentation, photographic sessions or office celebration? Then go for the Daytime hire (from 9am to 6pm)!
If you’d rather have an exclusive evening use, 606 can accomodate you as well. However, while the daytime hire is available seven days a week, evening hire runs only from Sunday to Thursday (no weekend, sorry!). In case you’re contempleting the idea of booking 606 for your next event, here’s what you can expect:
- personalized set-up: the room can be arranged according to your exact requirments, whether you’d like to create space for a dance floor, are planning a more intimate dining evening for your guests or you’re having a lavish feast with big tables. Table linen, balloons and pretty much anything else you’d like can also be provided (at an extra charge).
- high-quality food: the chef offers a wide range of canape, buffet and sit-down menu options and can cater for all tastes and dietary requirements
- entertainment: here’s something you probably didn’t know: the 606 Club runs a music agency with more than 800 musicians on the books…pretty crazy isn’t it? For you, this means that you can choose among a very big roster of talented artists, or go for a DJ. Entertainment doesn’t mean live music only. In fact, the venue can also provide other high-quality entertainers, from magicians and dancers to bingo callers. Your choice!
- staff: a minimum of two door/floor staff and one bartender will be provided at £95/person for the first 8 hours. For any extra time worked by the staff, you’ll be charged an extra £10 per hour.
Top-class live jazz and talented roster of performers, delicious food and private celebrations…606 Club really does it all. If you’re in London and are looking for the best UK jazz players, 606 is definitely the place to be.
90 Lots Road, London