Strolling along St-Denis St., you begin to hear a whisper of tenor saxophone, gently guiding you down a narrow set of steps. As you pass through the door, you’re immediately engulfed by the rich tunes of Diese Onze, a cozy basement jazz club that is part bar, part French restaurant.
Intimate dining tables are nestled around a small stage, so close that the diners feel almost on-stage with the players as they sway with the rhythm. The best view, however, is at the bar, which is directly in front of the stage. At the far end of the club, diners are provided with a flat screen feed from the stage, ensuring that no one misses the show.
The food offered at Diese Onze is deliciously exquisite, and the menu is changed regularly. The friendly waitress is always ready to give recommendations and wine suggestions. Main courses are between $15 and $22 and include dishes such as the jarret d’agneau and morue à la provençale, and an interesting variety of tapas such as the salmon tartare, and a sumptuous foie gras, ranging from $7 to $12. This is certainly not a restaurant for students on a budget, and the delicate serving sizes, while beautifully presented, might leave you hungry by the end of the night. However, fans of fine dining will appreciate the rich flavours and skillful execution of these dishes. I recommend ordering one or two tapas to share for a sophisticated yet affordable date night, or simply skip the food, and enjoy a pint at the bar for $7.
The main attraction, of course, is the live music. Each night, Diese Onze features two bands, the first playing at 6 p.m., and the second at 8:30 p.m.. Their calendar changes regularly, providing a variety of jazz styles throughout the week. Conveniently, you can read a detailed schedule on their website.
The earlier bands are usually lively swing players with a bit of funk in their rhythm. You’ll definitely be bobbing in your seat. By the end of the evening, the music mellows out to a much smoother and mature, sensual sound. This is when the club gets really crowded, and conversation is drowned out by the music. Service also becomes much slower as the wait staff struggles to serve all of the clients. Evening shows incur an $8 cover charge, which isn’t ideal for students. The earlier show is recommended as there is no cover charge, not to mention the music is a lot more fun and the atmosphere is more casual.
“I liked the first band better,” said Kara Crabb, a creative writing student at Concordia University. “The second one was kind of flat. It sounds like hotel lobby music to me.”
Diese Onze is a sharp and intimate jazz club. A place to appreciate the music, and if you can afford it, the food. It’s the perfect setting for a fancy date or anniversary night. It may hurt your wallet, but the experience is worth it!
Diese Onze is located on 4115 St-Denis St.