Southside Jazz Bar


  • ITN Architects
  • rodine construction


The Southside jazz bar is a hidden venue tucked into leftover space from the Classic Cinema expansion done in the previous year. The venue serves as a much needed intimate, south of the river Jazz room, and can also cater for stand up comedy and independent film screenings- a welcome adjunct to the thriving Elsternwick cinema complex.

Key Features


The available space for the jazz bar was long narrow “leftover” space between the heritage original Classic Cinema, and the new neighbouring apartment building. The space was also enclosed by cinemas above and a restaurant below, so the acoustic challenges were great.

The number 1 priority was that the musicians could play with confidence that they would not be interrupted by cinema or kitchen noise, and would also not be affecting their neighbours. This necessitated strict isolation in all directions, and also the ideal balance of hard/soft smooth/rough surfaces in the interior for excellent sound quality for audience and performers.


The client is a fan first- so the room had to be one he wanted to enjoy regularly. State of the art sound quality for the performers and audience was a must, but the room also had to have soul- with layered references to earlier great jazz eras. It needed to be a space you would enjoy before or after a performance as well.


Flexibility was also crucial, so a cinema quality projector and retractable screen were installed, for the regular art cinema nights- where films can be enjoyed in an intimate less formal cinema space.

The entry experience was designed to reinforce the speakeasy feel- either down a dark corridor behind the original cinema, or up the old fire escape with minimal signage on the street.


The venue fills a gap in the Melbourne Jazz scene. Theres a good choice of small venues in the inner north, but nothing like this in the south.


The reduced width has been relieved by bronzed mirrors strategically placed down both sides- with cutouts in the acoustic panelling to echo antique mirror shapes. This gives the illusion of depth and allows framed glancing views of the performers and patrons from anywhere in the room.

The colours are deep greens and blues, with gold highlights in the curtains at both ends of the room, and the brass barfront. These relate to the connected cinema complex, but also give the Jazz room its own unique identity.

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