Discover more from Jazz of Japan
Sometime, one of the must-visit jazz bars in Tokyo, perhaps derives its name from an old Glenn Miller jazz standard, or perhaps from the paraphrased Mae West quote “Come up and see me sometime,” a slogan which can be found on Sometime’s t-shirts and other merchandise for sale here.
This jazz club is a well-run local live house that features excellent shows and a great kitchen in an all-around authentic Tokyo jazz atmosphere. Local musicians are mostly scheduled here, yet international acts also occasionally pass through, and support for up-and-coming artists is paid worthy attention here. Also, this is not an elitist diehard-buffs-only environment, but curious listeners without a deep knowledge of jazz are also welcome. Sometime will also sometimes offer specially-priced events as a welcoming invitation to all to experience friendly live jazz.
Down through the stairs, the striking room itself sports a nice layout where the band sits in the middle and the audience seating wraps around them on various floor levels, from directly around the musicians, to a below basement-like alcove, and to an upper balcony as well. The best views are on the floor level where the seats may be quickly filled by customers with reservations, and the balcony and basement sections may feel a bit removed from the action.
The interior decor and overall atmosphere of Sometime portray a classic underground, industrial feeling. Antiques and old-fashioned machines are strewn about, including rotary phones, brass sewing machines, and claw-footed wooden furniture. All this, surrounded by rough brick, creates the feeling of hanging out in an anonymous underground turn-of-the-century subway station.
Exposed brick walls and ceilings with clocks and classic lamps adorn the walls and surround the musicians’ stage area in an in-the-round configuration, an ideal layout and design that gives Sometime a lot of its personality. Also adding to the allure are metal grid tracks running overhead, heavy-bolted steel beams and girders, and a staircase running structurally through the place, creating an almost dangerous, steel-works factory feeling. Iron pipe railings and handrails with U- and T-turn pipe fittings and connectors complete the picture, with heat-lamp style drop lighting fixtures, and in the middle of it, an illuminated sign boldly advertises “Miller Beer: the champagne of beers”.
Besides having a great live sound and a great menu, Sometime is very reasonably priced considering the overall quality and atmosphere. There are usually two nighttime shows, and if you can’t get into the first set, you may be able to have a quick dinner elsewhere and then check in again later for the second set.
Sunday afternoon shows are easy to love, and on occasion, lucky, early-arriving customers may catch a warm-up rehearsal for a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how it all comes together.
One last note: While the name Sometime is short and sweet, there are other similarly-named clubs in Tokyo (like Someday, Somethin’, and others), so it’s always a good idea to double-check that you are headed to the right place.