All that Jazz in Kennington - a review of Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Club
Updated: Mar 10
Now that we are again in the Roaring Twenties, it seems apt to appreciate the radical change in music that jazz brought to the world. But if you don't fancy the trip uptown to Ronnie Scotts, where to go? We may have found the answer. The Toulouse Lautrec in Kennington is a short walk from either Kennington or Elephant & Castle tube stations and on numerous bus routes.
It is arranged over three floors; the ground features a restaurant, the first floor a piano bar, and the top floor is turned over to a jazz club. The jazz club features a different act on every evening ranging from cabaret, singers, jazz bands, to art classes using unusual life models. The club serves some lovely bar snacks (we enjoyed the blinis with smoked salmon), but if you're looking for something more substantial you'd be wise to book a table on the ground floor pre-show.
We were there to celebrate a friend's birthday, and were greeted by the friendly staff dressed in true jazz age style. I thought that they looked great. Others in the audience had also gone to some effort to wear vintage clothing - but that's purely optional.
The evening we attended was a recreation of a live show performed by Ella Fitzgerald at Zardi's sung by the excellent Louise Messenger. We were given a wonderful insight into how Ella had friends in the audience who made requests and appaulded loudly, and we were given gold envelopes with instructions to do the same.
I was amazed when Louise said at the end that it was the first time that she'd sung with the complete trio, the bass player was completely new; they sounded as if they'd been together for years.
All in all, it was a highly enjoyable evening. A lovely intimate venue, characterful staff, and great entertainment. A proper London night out.
If you wanted a more immersive experience of the jazz age, read our review of the Great Gatsby here:
140 Newington Butts, Kennington, London SE11 4RN 0207 582 6800 firstname.lastname@example.org