Searcy’s at St Pancras is billed as the longest champagne bar in Europe. In fact the bar itself is about 16-foot square, but the seating runs for an incredible 96 metres, alongside the Eurostar platforms.
The bar is host to a superb program of weekly Sunday afternoon jazz, courtesy of Sound Generation, a teaching and talent agency keen to promote young London-based singers. Sound Generation started off its work in Yorkshire as a music teaching agency and soon grew its roots into London, promoting live music in venues such as Sam’s Brasserie, The Yellow House, and Bar Boulud.
With predominantly singers on their extensive books, the Sound Generation agency does a good job supporting young jazz acts.
Today I went along to Searcy’s to enjoy a delicious lunch with my companion, accompanied by the dulcet tones of singer Anesha Blair and Norwegian guitar maestro Werner Christiansen. The atmosphere created by this understated jazz duo was perfect for a Sunday afternoon sipping champagne, although the music was sometimes lost to the chatter around, even when sitting quite close to the band. The long set (1-5pm) means that there’s plenty of opportunity to catch the live music.
Anesha’s spellbinding tone and gorgeous vibrato were complemented well with Werner’s incredible guitar playing. The repertoire choices stayed with the ‘safe’ standards rather than branching out too much. More individuality in the material would have been welcome in what is promoted as a jazz gig.
Nevertheless, the restaurant is an ideal setting. It’s a relaxing and sophisticated way of spending an afternoon – either waiting for a train, or just making an excuse to listen to some good jazz. There is even jazz in the toilets (not the live jazz, unfortunately!) but this is clearly a restaurant which is promoting its live music as a major Sunday afternoon feature, and with good cause – class London jazz acts for no entrance fee.
So whether it’s waiting for a departure, a loved one, or for an excellent meal with champagne to boot, Searcy’s is a great place to spend your Sunday afternoon.
Acts already booked over the next few weeks are:
Sofia Wilde Sunday 27th March
Elisa Caleb Sunday 3rd April (Mother’s Day Special)
Alexander Stewart 10th April
Natalie Williams 17th April
Sarah Ellen Hughes 24th April