This underground venue has bags of charm and is bigger than it first appears from its deceptive low ceiling. The diligent folks who launched Jam are pretty hot on their roots music, though there's all sorts else, including dubstep and electro, plus stand-up comedy too. The last time I visited it there were several bands of of the roots-reggae and jazz-funk variety, mostly bright young musicians and dreadlocked druids. The most notable thing was how downright firndly and jolly everyone was, a nice relief from either the nonchalant scenesters of Audio, or the steaming meatheads at Tru. Irish folk singer Fionn Regan, made a comeback/homecoming of sorts (he used to live here) not too long ago, an outstanding and intimate performance that served as a great showpiece for Jam's cavernous allure.
The former Water margin, famous to students for their 'secret' end of term party nights. Now Jam, with the same impressive lay out, yet it has the same grimy and unimpressive atmosphere. I've never found this place to appeal to me. I've always gone away slightly dissapointed.
At first glance it looks very attractive - the layout is great, it has a flash upstairs area and then a windy staircase down to an underground basement-style club with a dance floor and another bar. They have various nights going on here from jazz to punk to electric, however which ever one's I've been to, I've always felt the atmosphere is slightly dull, slightly lacking, slightly dry. Another annoying thing is how difficult it is to get served, or get to the toilet if you're upstairs! I must also point out the drinks - they taste rank! I don't know if it was just that batch, but the spirits are obviously knock off ones and you can taste it, I actually started to feel a bit sick. I know they're cheap but you don't expect to actually feel ill! I don't know how it stays so busy, maybe I'm missing something but in my opinion it's not somewhere I would reccomend.
Formally the Water Margin, I've always like the layout of this venue. As you walk in you are greeted with a sleek bar that runs up of the length the first room, only containing a few leather couches it's more of place to get a couple of drinks before heading on. There's a decent area outback for smokers or just extreme weather drinkers. At the Kinema EP launch I realised how much of a good basement it is for live music. Quite small and low ceiling but what do you want from a show? Character? Intimacy? It has it.
We stumbled across Jam whilst out on a walk through the Lanes. The outside looked very cool, and the place emitted a very funky, chilled out ambience, so my friends and I decided to head inside to check the place out. Inside, the music was great, the seating was very comfortable, and there was a good vibe, however the drinks prices left a little to be desired. A Kronembourg costs £3.50, the cheapest beer - Fosters - is £3.20, and a coke is £2.70. As a result of these prices, although I may visit Jam again, as it also doubles as a live music venue featuring local unsigned bands, I won't be using it for its other function as a pub, as the expense of beverages precludes student activity.
Located snugly in the south lanes this place is popular mostly with students and hip twenty-somethings. Since its refurbishment it's had reasonable success but I'd say it's better as a music venue/ club than a bar. The reason for this is that its general aesthetic seems to be caught awkwardly between trendy wine bar and stylish chill out pad. Let's just say that if you pop in for a weekend drink at the upstairs bar you're going to have trouble with conversation, as the music is typically loud. In terms of price Jam is fairly competitive with pints at approximately £3.50 and a single JD & Coke only slightly more expensive. As one of many places on a night out it's perfectly satisfactory but I wouldn't spend all night here.
It was Saturday night. My friend and I had gotten word of a Brazilian party that was kicking off somewhere in the South Lanes. We had intended to go to a free party hosted by Brighton Source Magazine and had gone to Audio, only to discover it was the wrong place. Lost, and rapidly losing the merry jacket alcohol had provided, we stumbled upon a queue of face-painted young folk: "This looks interesting", we thought and joined the line. When we got to the front we were enthralled to discover that this was in fact the venue for our free Source party. High fives all around! We entered Jam (for free, did I mention it was free?) and started to take in the venue. We realised that we had stood where we were one year previously when this bar/club was operating under a different moniker. When we descended the staircase we therefore knew what to expect. Or so we thought. This was a night with a difference. There were bands, DJs, signposts and even tents pitched, creating a real festival vibe. It was quite bizarre but worked well. This might have been a special night, but it shows the versatility of the place. Upstairs there was a well-stocked bar and out-door smoking area, leaving the open-plan downstairs area for dancing and live performance. I think Jam works well as a late-night venue and its neutrality means it can be easily transformed, as we discovered on Saturday night.
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