Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Jazzy Place to Cap Your Saturday Night

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Jazzy Place to Cap Your Saturday Night

Article excerpt

Byline: Laura Capitano

Around the 10 o'clock hour on the last Saturday night of the month, the remaining diners at Copeland's Famous New Orleans Restaurant & Bar straggle out with bellies full of jambalaya and syrupy hurricanes. But a new batch of people begin to trickle in past them.

The late-night crowd comes for SoulTop Saturdays, a jazz and poetry hour capped off with a dance party.

Darryl Joseph, a partner with the event's organizers, explained that the SoulTop concept grew from his group's want to provide more upscale social functions for young professionals, often those in the black community. And what's with the name? The earliest SoulTop events played out on the top floor of the Humana building.

The scene at Copeland's was just the right amount of upscale, and the crowd possibly exceeded the "Cosmopolitan Attire" dress code (no athletic wear allowed). I saw no jeans or T-shirts, I barely even saw a beer among the fancy cocktails, and when I did, it was a Heineken. This was no Bud draft bar party; it was a classy night out.

The lights were dim, the jazz played low enough so that you could still hold a conversation. The tables in the dining room are open to guests, but the bar area is far more crowded. That's where the jazz and open mike poetry action goes down, and people like to be in on the action.

The efficient mixologists seemed to keep up with those lining up for drinks, so there was none of the pushing and shoving that can happen at crowded bars.

Since we arrived early, my group was able to claim a much coveted bar table, and we ordered the "it" drink at Copeland's, the Crash and Burn.

I guess it qualifies as a drink even if it doesn't come in an actual glass. Instead, the barkeep fills a fishbowl-size container (which you can take with you as a souvenir if you remain sober enough to remember it, which I didn't) with boozy pink stuff from a giant unmarked jug under the bar. …

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