One of the country's foremost clubs for jazz, acoustic, folk, funk, blues, world and soul live music, this place was renovated and re-launched in 1992 ... More
One of the country's foremost clubs for jazz, acoustic, folk, funk, blues, world and soul live music, this place was renovated and re-launched in 1992 with an adventurous regular line-up of local and international musicians. There are cabaret-style tables close to the stage or an elevated bar at the back. It has functional decor, with wood panelling and unattractive carpeting. If you are not looking for live music there is an admission-free bar and Mediterranean style bistro serving snacks and supper. Weekdays 4:30p-6:30p is happy hour so it is popular for after-work drinks. Performances are held 9:30p onwards.
The Basement is not what it used to be. The Manager is rude and doesn't care about his customers. I’ve used to go for years, both in its previous and current incarnations, but the last few years have been disappointing, and a recent night there was the last straw for me. I bought dinner & show tickets for an act that was billed as "the finest acts in the country...". It was woeful: the singers couldn't even hold a note. The web site and the printed dinner menu offers a choice of four entrees and four main courses as part of the dinner package, yet we were given no choice at all about the entree - a platter for four was the only entree offered to us and our query about other choices was ignored. Even the staff there agreed it was shocking and advised me to write to the manager. I did and he admitted that that evening was and "exercise" in "exposing less experienced performers ..."!! SO MUCH FOR "THE FINEST ACTS IN THE COUNTRY..." HE REUSED TO ANSWER ANY FURTHER CORRESPONDENCE, SO YOU CAN JUST IMAGINE WHAT SORT OF "HOSPITALITY" HE OFFERS.... GIVE IT A BIG MISS
Loved the place! The club's been there for more than 30 years and all the jazz greats from Dizzy G onwards have played on the stage. Great music ... the program has some really famous names on it. I found the level of service from staff and security courteous and efficient. It's atmospheric and very, very cool. Can't wait to go back. Someone told me Tony Joe White and Kinky Friendman are playing there soon.
The music was ok, but that's the only thing about this place that was! Pay $25 admission fee to eat expensive, poor quality food, washed down with overpriced drinks. Add rude obnoxious security staff to this equation and you have a night out at 'The Basement'. The place is a dump, sorely in need of renovation. Don't waste your time at this establishment. We will most certainly never return there.
I too fell victim to the 'no talking in this club' rule enforced by the rudest security I have ever encountered (and i'm fairly well versed). I was so embarrassed to be publicly berated for having a chat in a club.. and then to be introduced to the most obnoxious manager I have ever encountered, Daniel, when we decided to voice our shock at the way we were spoken to... Irony took a whole new life at that point. Well, needless to say we were literally in dumb-struck as myself and my mother were yelled at for literally doing... well, I'm still baffled to this point. I will never go back again. Even after deciding to leave the empty club with no-one dancing, no seating, and pre-performance, they refused to refund the $50 entry. In my life, I have never experienced anything like it. On no level would I recommend this over the hill bar. For live music I will continue to instead visit places like commons where people are cheerful, social banter is encouraged, there's actually a few people and you aren't met with pretentious hostility.
Policy of no talking during performances. Paid $25 to get into a half empty bar at 10pm Saturday night. Nobody danced. Abrasive security guards, albeit lovely bar staff. Food sits up the back of the bar, no number or buzzing system, you need to keep returning intermittently to see whether it is ready to go and collect with your receipt, we clearly picked the wrong 5 minute intervals, food was cold. We will never go back. I took my friends saying how 'cool' it would be and how there'd be great music, atmosphere and dancing... I was embarrassed to have made the recommendation. A once trendy underground hub for good music seems to have turned tired, empty and I have never been treated with such disdain by security on a power trip yelling at you to shut-up if you speak during a set...
Iconic Stage with a great line up of music. New Bar at Street level is friendly and has outdoor seating.
Sure its not a seated Concert style venue - the music is up close and late night - Muisc for grown ups perhaps?
Every City should have a Venue like this and some do - think Ronnie Scotts, dingwalls, Blue Note, even CBGB's (back in the day) some nights.
Unless you are here for dinner then don't expect to see anything. The two tiers are great when the bottom tier is free, but when it is chocked full of tables and the plebian general admission patrons are not allowed anywhere near this space, never mind the stage, this place is horrible. Only the front row of the second tier can see anything; everyone else is squashed in behind them straining their necks. There is no clear space for them to stand anyway, as the whole of the second tier is a thoroughfare for barstaff and patrons. Our 40 dollar tickets effectively enabled us to see the artists head a few times. We asked for our money back but were told as it was a live music venue we couldn't expect to see anything and should have arrived earlier. This would have got us the privelege of being squashed against the front row of the second tier as other patrons pushed past. The fact that the Basement doesn't guarantee you will be able to see the musicians makes a mockery of the fact that this is supposedly one of Sydney's premier venues. As I said, don't bother unless you are in for dinner; but have a serious think about whether paying through the nose is worth it just to sit in the one spot and watch a musician - just buy the DVD and do the same in the comfort of your own home.
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In order to make our reviews more helpful, we ask that they contain at least 25 words. Need Tips? Try writing about when to visit, who would enjoy it, and what the overall experience was like.
A venue displaying great music with many flaws.
The staff are pretentious and 'cool' to the point where service is almost non-existent. The pretentious change on a plate (expecting a tip) is laughable given the detached service of the bar staff.
The drink prices are high, and seating is virtually non-existent unless you pay the provocative prices for ordinary pub-standard food.
As mentioned, the music is well chosen and presented with a wide range of roots, jazz and local offerings. Why Oh Why does it need to start so late? Most visitors to Sydney would like to be in bed by 10:00pm - which is often when the main act is warming up. Could it be that the longer we are there the more over-priced drinks we can buy?
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