Old-World Comfort in an Old-City Hot Spot:
Boyd's Jig and Reel has the Potential to Stand the Test of Time
A pint and a cello. A scotch and a fiddle. Stovies and a banjo. Macoroni pie and a mandolin. Shoot the Moon wtih Fish and Chips. Old-world comfort with fireplace bliss.
Across the street 20-somethings are dancing in clothing innapropriate for 40 degree wearther. Why don’t they at least wear a jacket into the club? A man is preaching on the corner and a drunk patron of the here-one-day-gone-tomorrow club scene is yelling at his girlfriend. Bouncers stand across the street with their beefed-up shoulders and chest puffed out like blow fish in a polluted ocean. Sometimes I hate downtown.
Maybe my disgust is a sign of my age. I’m glad I’m sitting Inside Boyd’s Jig and Reel where friends are gathered around a lantern-adorned tables with cushy chairs. I love my Ecuadorian wool sweater and the delicious seasonal black IPA I can’t remember the name of. Where else in this city can you sit down to enjoy a pint and allow your inner musician out in a safe and warm environment? Oh, you didn’t know? That guitar hanging on the wall is up for grabs. So is that drum, that harp, and the newly added cello. You can’t take them home but you can play them as long as you like. Picks adorn the tables and a tuner is never hard to find.
In fact, you may catch owner Jenny Boyd tuning the instruments herself. The truth is that the Jig and Reel was her vision. Not admitting this in our interview, she explained the germination of a seed that was planted acorss the great pond. She took lessons in traditional Scottish music at Taybank in Dunkeld, Scottland and returned with the desire to replicate the intimate experiences she revered. Jenny described a space where patrons could pick up an play instruments while others were having lessons in the halls above...and they could enjoy a pint while doing so. She spoke of her instructor as in high regard. Hanging on the walls are portraits of her idols and teachers. Above the piano on the stage hangs a portrait of her own mother. You can even hop up onto the stage and nobody will yell at you.
Stepping in to Boyd’s Jig and Reel you will notice that the old bar that used to be Manahattan’s has not changed much. Round the corner and you step into that old world charm. Pull up a chair and pull down and instrument. The owners and staff WANT you to play the instruments! YES! The part of Jenny’s vision is the idea that music can and should be communal. You can come and practice or learn something new from others around you. You can start and impromptu jam session. The word Jenny used was "non-intimidating." Imagine that? Allow all your inner voices to quiet down...just pick. Just play. Have fun. Nobody’s a professional and music is fun. MUSIC IS FUN!!! What??? Yes...at the Jig and Reel music is fun.
I just finished off an entire plate of Fish-N-Chips. I’m usually a vegan veg-head who won’t touch a piece of fried food with a chop-stick. TESTIFY! That stuff was good. I ate the whole thing. And I might even grab that cello with my greasy fingers...I may even eek out Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Maybe. You can too.
Check out the Jig and Reel’s website for information on Scottish Dancing lessons and Slow Bluegrass Jams. You may want to check out the music calendar while you are it. Jig and Reel has already had a host of amazing talent perform including Robinella, Pokey LaFarge, Malcolm Holcombe, and Ollabelle. Upcoming shows include Joy Kills Sorrow, Caitlin Cary (of Whiskeytown) and Lera Lynn, Hoots and Hellmouth, and the Naughty Knots.