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Getting jazzed

The Ashland A Street Market Place is ...

Jazbo's Lounge in the center's courtyard becomes the city's newest jazz club

When the lights go down and the first notes float from the small stage, Jazbo's Lounge, Ashland's newest jazz club, comes to life in the A Street Market Place.

Since May, club owner Jason Gallagher has worked to carve an unconventional music venue out of the courtyard-like common area in the middle of the A Street center. He is fine-tuning the concept now, and plans a grand opening later this month.

Gallagher has produced music and art festivals through another Ashland business he owns, Mobius Productions.

He also owns Off the Grid Waffles, which serves up organic breakfasts and lunches in the A Street Market Place. Jazbo's provides an opportunity to combine his interests in good food and live music.

— Music is an essential component of the life we wish to live with our family, so we strive to create what we enjoy, said Gallagher, whose wife, Crystal, also works in the family businesses.

He said he wants to make Jazbo's a culturally oriented hangout for all ages and interests.

For Jazbo's, Gallagher leased an uncompleted restaurant space next to Off the Grid. His two ventures and the separately owned Cozmic Pizza share seating in the marketplace's common area. With its share of space on the main level and a mezzanine, the lounge can accommodate up to 100 people, he said.

Gallagher built a stage, installed lighting and sound systems, and finished the partially completed bar and food prep area behind it. He declined to disclose costs.

Jazbo's will open nightly at 6 with music usually starting at 7 p.m., he said. The lounge has a small wine list and is seeking a full liquor license so it can offer cocktails. It also will sell elixirs which Gallagher describes as Asian-inspired herbaltonics that can be served hot or cold.

It's an alternative to coffee or alcohol, Gallagher said of the elixirs.

Executive chef Jeremy Middleton will oversee Jazbo's ever-changing menu of organic foods. His menus will focus on an array of appetizers and small plates, but also will include entrees for customers who want to linger over a four-course dinner. Jazbo's will serve dinner specials on Friday and Saturday.

The tentative performance lineup calls for jazz on Wednesday, Celtic music on Thursday, jazz on Friday and Saturday and classical music on Sunday.

The jazz nights will feature live music during the dinner hour and a disc jockey playing danceable, ambient music into the night, Gallagher said.

On Monday and Tuesday, Jazbo's plans to host open-mike nights or other local events such as lectures or readings.

Jazbo's dark wooden bar will dispense coffee drinks and tea 24 hours a day, every day.

We want to give people an after-hours hangout and get them out of Denny's, Gallagher said.

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Brad Curran carries drinks to the upper level of Jazbo's Lounge in Ashland's A Street Market Place.