Best Upstart Jazz Club (2000)

Champagne's Restaurant and Jazz Lounge

At Champagne's the finest jazz in Miami is served with a Kreyol flavor. "Remember, this is not just a music club; this is a restaurant," reminds owner Frantz Olivier, who recommends the griot pork seasoned with sour oranges. He might add that this joint, which opened in November 1999, is a bit of an art gallery, too. An enormous mural depicting a trumpet-blowing Dizzy Gillespie (among other legends) decorates the walls. Bathroom doors feature paintings by local Haitian artist Joseph Wilfrid Daleus. When musicians break, two televisions screen archival-type footage of jazz masters, courtesy of musician Jesse Jones, Jr.'s personal collection. Jones himself, regularly featured at this venue, is a pleasure to watch and hear, blowing his enormous black bass clarinet (and assorted woodwinds) or scatting in his signature falsetto style. You can join him onstage as you dine at a half-dozen tables on the bandstand. Or, if you prefer, listen from a table off-stage. Either way, there is no escape from Jones's playfully impassioned rendering of Ellington-Tizol-Mills's "Caravan." Hearing it, you will want to follow. Champagne's is open Friday through Sunday nights. Dinner begins at 6:00 p.m. Music begins at 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 8:00 p.m. Sunday.


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