The Hotfive Jazz & Blues Club has opened a second venue, called Hotfive Uptown, in a former movie theatre near to Boavista Avenue. It is within walking distance from our apartment, so it’s a convenient location for us. We visited for two successive Saturdays to enjoy a couple of tribute performances.
We have been to the original Hotfive club (now called Hotfive Downtown) a few times. We enjoyed the music but found the seating and tables to be somewhat cramped and uncomfortable. We much prefer the layout of the new uptown location.
The new club occupies the building that was once the Cinema Nun’Álvares on Rua de Guerra Junqueiro. The cinema opened in 1959 but was forced to close in 2006. Hotfive has breathed new life into the old building whilst retaining features and fixtures from the cinema, as a nod to its history. The entrance lobby features the cinema’s original movie projector as well as rows of seats and a montage of historical photos of the building. The theme continues in the inner lobby, where a popcorn cart stands next to a small wine bar. Inside the main room, the musicians perform on the old cinema’s half-moon stage whilst pairs of old cinema seats are arranged around small tables on the tiered sections that rise to a bar at the back of the room. All of the tables-for-four have good views of the stage and the cinema seating is comfortable.
Tables can be reserved in advance, via the club’s website. No advance payment is required and the tables will be held until 10.30pm (the club opens at 9.30pm). If guests have not arrived at their table by 10.30pm, the reservation will be cancelled and the table offered to those who were unable to reserve a table. Those without a table reservation, can stand at the rear of the room.
Upon entering the club, each person receives a card which is used to record what drinks have been consumed during the evening. When leaving the club, the cards are handed in and payment made for the drinks and the €10 per person cover charge.
On our first visit to the club, we were entertained by Budda Power Blues performing a tribute to Jimi Hendrix. We previously saw Budda Power Blues play a normal set at the downtown club, so we already appreciated the excellent musicianship of the trio. They did a marvellous job playing Hendrix songs, some clips of which can be seen in the video below.
Our second visit was an Aretha Franklin tribute. Unfortunately, the name of the vocalist and her band was not advertised. The young lady had a good voice but, unfortunately, the sound mixing wasn’t the best. The vocals needed more volume whilst the drums could have been turned down a bit. The result was that her voice often got drowned out by the instruments. The band consisted of a guitarist, bass player, drummer and keyboard player, who all performed well. The group played two sets covering a variety of Aretha’s songs. Despite the challenge with the volume of the vocals, it was an enjoyable evening. This video montage gives a taste of the performance.
We had two enjoyable evenings at Hotfive Uptown and will certainly return for future performances.