Rome Travel Guide

Rome Architecture, History, Art, Museums, Galleries, Fashion, Music, Photos, Walking and Hiking Itineraries, Neighborhoods, News and Social Commentary, Politics, Things to Do in Rome and Environs. Over 900 posts

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

RST Top 40. #32: Alexanderplatz Jazz Club

We're almost embarrassed to have Alexanderplatz on the RST Top 40 list, because it's in the Rome-the-first-time guidebooks; even Rick Steves knows about it, and Rick defines the word "square." It's on the list because it's very groovy (another word from the 1950s, visions of hipsters digging a wailing sax, of Jack Kerouac hammering on the table in ecstasy at having discovered the soul of the Negro), the kind of place no longer found even in New York: a dimly-lit, stuccoed rathskeller, its walls inscribed with the names of the jazz greats (and not so greats) who have blown their guts out on the tiny stage in the tiny center room (see our photo above).

And there's the rub: if you're in that center room, which seats about 12 people, you're in for an evening of Kerouacian ecstasy, and the bar right behind (photo right) offers views almost as good for a few more patrons. The side rooms, with most of the seating, are fine for sound but offer somewhat less intimate, more distanced, arch-framed views (photo above left), and folks sometimes talk more than listen and (women especially) seem to want to confirm what a fine time they're having by sending video of Stefano Di Battista to their friends. Still, these side rooms are satisfactory. Avoid the upstairs balcony, to the back of the club.

Our best experiences have been in that center room, at the table in the foreground of the photo that opens this post. It's perfect. But to get that table or another in that room, you'll likely have to make a reservation, arrive an hour before the time of the performance and have dinner. We've done that twice, and both times the food was very good--on a par with a good Rome restaurant--and reasonably priced. The last time, as we finished eating and were congratulating ourselves for another coup of perfect positioning, a huge Italian guy sat right in front of us. Luckily his girlfriend recognized our visual plight and changed places with him.

Alexanderplatz dates to 1982 and bills itself (see their website) as the oldest jazz club in Italy. That could be, but there may be some places in Bologna and Milan that would take exception. Oldest or not, it's worthy.

The club is located at via Ostia 9, in the Prati district. Its season opens in September and closes in late May or very early June.


1 comment:

Crystal said...

I've been listening to a little Jovanotti as part of my must-learn-Italian obsession and he has a song where he's referring to Alexander Platz. Now I understand!