Dudley Square Will Get a New Jazz Club and Restaurant

JazzUrbane Café is headed for the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building.

Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building. Designed by Mecanoo Architecten (Delft, Netherlands) with Sasaki (Watertown, MA). Winner of the Harleston Parker Medal in 2016. / Photo: ©Anton Grassl | ESTO Photo © Anton Grassl | ESTO

A fixture on the Boston jazz scene is opening a music venue and restaurant in Dudley Square. A new venture by Berklee professor and record label owner Bill Banfield, JazzUrbane Café is headed for the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building. Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the project last night in his State of the City address, promising a family-friendly restaurant, entertainment venue, and meeting space for the Roxbury neighborhood.

“We’re working to create opportunity in every neighborhood and every community in Boston, and the JazzUrbane Café will serve as a place for families and friends to gather for community conversations, civic meetings, entertainment and so much more,” the mayor said. “I’m proud to have this new venue in the Bolling Building, and continue creating spaces and opportunities for all.”

The city invested $115 million to help open the Bolling building in 2015. Incorporating three historic facades in the heart of Dudley Square, it was set to spark a revitalization effort in the once-bustling neighborhood. It’s home to 500 employees of the Boston Public School district and other offices, and ground-floor tenants include Dudley Café, and a casual neighborhood restaurant called Soleil.

But retail has struggled to thrive in the new Dudley Square, despite new liquor licenses created by the city specifically for Roxbury. Bolling Building businesses Dudley Dough, a profit-sharing pizzeria from the non-profit Haley House; and a location of Tasty Burger both closed within two years. Beloved Haley House Bakery Café just suspended its restaurant operations because “contextual changes [in the neighborhood] have impacted Haley House Bakery Cafe’s business, resulting in losses that Haley House cannot sustain indefinitely.” The non-profit is reevaluating its business plan and hopes to return to Dudley Square with a more sustainable social enterprise.

JazzUrbane is taking over 7,800 square feet on the first floor of the Bolling Building. Its dining options will span affordable to high-end, according to the mayor’s speech. Boston has reached out to Banfield for more details on the restaurant.

“JazzUrbane Café is designed to bring neighbors together and celebrate through the shared love of food, art, and community in a warm and inviting venue,” Banfield said in a press release.

The new endeavor shares a name with Banfield’s record label and performance collective. The Jazz Urbane encompasses a decade of collaborations between Banfield and other Berklee faculty, students, and guest artists, across contemporary genres of jazz, R&B, funk, and soul; and had a regular gig for more than a decade at South End mainstay Darryl’s Corner Bar. As its own venue, JazzUrbane Café will host live performances from local and internationally known artists, not just limited to musicians but also theater companies, dance groups, and more.

“I’m grateful to Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston, and I am excited for the opportunity to create a truly unique experience in Roxbury, to bring back jazz to Dudley Square, and build an establishment that will become a destination for all residents and visitors,” Banfield said.

Stay tuned for more about JazzUrbane Café.

2300 Washington St., Roxbury.