January 16, 2005
BJ’s is described as the only true jazz club on Malta, and as a nightclub, it does seem to cater for a more mature audience. Be clear that it is a nightclub and the action does not even begin to happen until at least 11pm, and like the jazz clubs that I remember from my youth, you can never be absolutely sure when the session will start. There is a laid-back, chill-out feel to BJ’s, and although it promises to be slick and well organised (that is, they have a programme), our experience was that the "best laid plans" do not always come to fruition.
A small bar area welcomes you, and you can either balance on the bar stools, find a small table, or make your way to the main hall. I think "hall" suggests a size that BJ’s doesn’t have because the stage area is extremely compact and the audience can relax on comfortable upholstered seating. It’s hard to estimate how many the place can hold, but it can best be described as an intimate venue.
One of the surprising features about BJ’s is that we were never asked to pay an admission charge and the price of the drinks was extremely reasonable. Indeed we have paid much more in less salubrious establishments. There was not a fantastic choice of beers, but at least it made no attempts to pander to British tourists by stocking badly kept fizzy English beers. This is a "what you see is what you get" club with a friendly staff who will want to chat and are in no hurry. If you’re in a rush for a drink, don’t go to BJ’s.
We saw some great local acts. Some regularly played together, but one night it was a drop-in jam session where individuals formed a band and played for their own satisfaction. Music was being formed in front of us with an outstanding array of local and imported talent. It seemed from some of the introductions that these musicians had travelled, with their instruments, in the hope of finding an audience. Four on the stage was one too many, and it seemed as if the enthusiastic drummer would cause so much vibration that the performers would be shaken off the dais. The only problem was that there had to be an awful lot of discussion between numbers, as the musicians decided on their performance protocol for the next piece. Still, it really didn’t matter – this is a club with ambience and with attitude. To be cool, don’t rush anywhere!
From journal Malta - A Last-Minute Holiday