Located on the second floor of a historic building in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, Basin Street Lounge oozes a kind of easygoing sophistication at every turn, from the artful murals in the stairwell to the silk wallpaper and Victorian detailing throughout.
Known for its live jazz, this parlor-like establishment draws a mostly older crowd of eclectic sophisticates who wear black turtlenecks and sit around small tables drinking scotch while enjoying some truly topflight performances. Live music fills the establishment Tuesdays through Saturdays; expect soloists and combos playing a wide range of styles, including swing, straight-ahead jazz and blues.
The setting in the front of the parlor is intimate and well suited for enjoying the subtleties of acoustic jazz. Patrons in this area on a recent night listened with rapt attention to a mesmerizing piano and sax duo, keeping their voices low so as not to break the spell. The crowd at the back of the bar - which is sunk down a few steps and generates more of a let-the-good-times-roll ambiance - was not so gracious. This area can get boisterous and somewhat distracting. Suggestion: If you come for the music, arrive early as seating in the front is limited. The music starts at 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, when a $5 cover charge is required.
The bar offers the standard array of drinks, and the food menu features a wide range of moderately priced French Creole and Cajun dishes from two connected kitchens: Two-Nineteen Restaurant and the Bayou Room restaurant, located downstairs. Basin Street Lounge is a perfect place to take in some great jazz, display your good taste - and show off that new cashmere sweater or wool crepe blazer you bought in New York.
-- Neal Learner