First Impressions: The Django

Dezron Douglas Trio at the DjangoBack story: The Roxy Hotel, formerly known as the Tribeca Grand, converted some cellar event space into an L-shaped jazz bar called The Django. It’s being operated with an assist from Joseph Schwartz and Vito Dieterle, who had the Silver Lining jazz bar on Murray.

The Django entranceThe vibe: You enter the Django right off the staircase from the lobby, and even if the designer(s) went a little crazy with the faux brick, the room itself is pretty appealing, with vaulted ceilings, curved banquettes, and pretty flowers. There are bars at either end of the L, and the stage is in the crook.

Adam and I went on Wednesday, Dec. 23, because I had just recently learned that the music starts at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, rather than the usual 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Perhaps because the holiday was looming, the only other patrons were a group of six who might as well have been up in the lobby—they talked loudly over the music. (They appeared to be getting comped, so no one was going to tell them to shut up.) All of which is to say that I have no idea what the vibe is normally like, but the band, the Dezron Douglas Trio, was terrific.

The Django barThe Django banquette viewMenu: There’s scant mention of it online, but the Django does serve food.

The Django food menuGold star: One of the things I admired most about Silver Lining was its ability to be the kind of jazz bar where you could have a quiet conversation while the band was playing; I do hope the Django ends up being like that, because there are enough places to just have a drink (and enough places where you have to treat the jazz like it’s church). The Django has neither a cover nor a minimum, which is admirable, but what those do generally accomplish is weeding out the people who don’t care about the music.

The Django stageRoom for improvement: Communication about the venue could be better. Do an Internet search for “The Django” and you’ll get the Roxy Hotel’s website, which has no schedule or menu; states the music starts at 10 p.m.; and claims that reservations are “essential.” (They’re not.) There’s a link to the Django’s actual site, but to get a schedule you have on click on “Events”; despite sounding like info on private parties, it takes you back to the hotel’s website, where all hotel events are listed on one calendar. Also, on an unrelated note, our bill was unitemized, which forces you to pay attention to what you’ve ordered or put a lot of faith in the staff.

Anything else? The music started at 8:25 p.m., but that wasn’t a huge surprise. Jazz musicians aren’t known for punctuality. Also, I’m dying to throw a party at the Django. It’s perfect for it.

Contact: The Django is inside the Roxy Hotel (formerly the Tribeca Grand), 2 Ave. of the Americas (at White), 212-519-6600;

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  1. I have to admit, they got my attention with Dezron Douglas – he’s the real deal. And it would be nice to have real jazz down here in my nabe. But it would help a lot if they’d put the listings in the New York Jazz Record or at least somewhere online where you could figure out who’s playing and when the sets are. I’ve been put off by expecting it to be packed, too expensive and not featuring serious talent. And frankly, if someone like Douglas is playing, I’m not going to be talking – I have too much respect for a musician of that caliber to talk while he plays. But that’s a call the presenters have to make – is this a real jazz bar, in a town with the greatest musicians in the world? Or is this place where people talk over the artists? But that’s the eternal struggle with jazz – it’s our contemporary classical music, the most exciting thing happening musically in the world right now…but it’s also a way for musicians to earn a living while some drunks chatter away, ignoring what they’re doing. I suppose both have their place, but (especially in NYC) you have to decide which crowd you’re after. The really top musicians won’t tolerate being talked over, and the other musicians aren’t going to attract the jazz loving crowd (they’ll be at the Vanguard or the Jazz Gallery or Smalls.)

  2. Will,
    I’m one of the people behind the place and my partner and Music director Vito Dieterle takes jazz every bit as seriously as you and musicians with the well earned respect of their peers populate our calendar. Until our full website is up and running (it’s coming) check our FB page for updates on performances.
    While the reverent nature of your appreciation is understood, our belief in no cover, no minimum support of the form often means a little room noise. And to be honest we like our jazz as heard on some favorite live vinyl: with the rich layered sound of the occasional fork or glass, laugh or love – like a great solo in the bigger song we see the music as one (beloved) element of a night well lived.

    We hope to see you there for a drink and listening pleasure.
    The Django

  3. Very happy to have a jazz spot in the neighborhood. I look forward to checking out and supporting. Keep the faith!