International travel enthusiast and expat from New Zealand, currently living in Germany. https://indie-road.com
Published March 8th 2017
Coffee with a dash of smooth Jazz
In Moray Place, in the heart of Dunedin and just a stone's throw away from The Octagon is a small cafe called "The Dog With Two Tails". As with most independent coffee shops in New Zealand, the coffee is always perfect. There's also a selection of craft beers on tap and a menu to satisfy all dietary requirements and allergies. Breakfast is served from 8.00, lunch from 11.00, and dinner from 5.00. The interior is very homely and inviting, albeit it somewhat quirky with a model train that constantly loops the cafe.
If that's not enough of a reason to visit the cafe, then perhaps some live music might entice you a little more. The cafe regularly hosts live performances from musicians of all varieties. Thursday nights are particularly special because the cafe hosts a Jazz evening organised by Jazz guru Brendan Christie from 8.00pm. Each week, Christie will select a chamber group of talented local musicians to create an ensemble, sometimes with a specific theme such as "Gypsy Jazz" or "Funk Night", and the group will play a number of classics with enough energy and enthusiasm to capture and maintain the attention of everybody in the room.
While this is happening on stage, something else goes down on the floor. The tables and chairs are moved to the side so the locals can jive and shimmy and show off their swing dancing. There are dancers of all abilities (I only say this because I can't dance but it didn't stop me from trying), and some of these people are by no means amateurs, and they will entertain you as they throw each other into the air and spin in ways you didn't even realise were possible. It's impressive, to say the very least.
At the end of the night, Christie invites musical members of the audience onto the stage to get involved to 'jam' out the rest of the evening, just in case you weren't already having enough fun.
It's like stepping into a time machine and stepping out sometime in the Golden Age of cigar bars, Broadway and ratpacks, and an absolute must-have experience for all musicians, dancers, and anybody with an interest in Jazz music.