A weekly spotlight on the fabulous Nottingham Independents, who make our city unique.
Introducing Peggy's Skylight
Fancy a night out in Nottingham? Somewhere with class? Somewhere that transports you to another land. Well that somewhere is Peggy’s Skylight here in Hockley. You will find it on George Street…and as you approach, the offbeat syncopation of live jazz will skip out across the street, accompanied by the rich smells of the Middle East. It is a unique and authentic experience. Peggy's Skylight was founded in 2018 by two local musicians with a passion for live music. There is an atmosphere that can range from an ultimately relaxing one, to an electric fizzle all in one night.
Inside Peggy’s Skylight, the decor is reminiscent of the 1930's in the front cafe spaces and takes you through to a cosy souk feel, with each area of seating named after Jazz singers and players. For example, there is an area of raised tiers of theatre seats named 'Dizzy' after the trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. Push button lights attract the servers to your table indicating that you need their attention. So, when the lights are dimmed for the performance, you won't be left out up there.
The menu takes inspiration from a journey that Duke Ellington, his Orchestra and Louis Armstrong took (they later became known as the Jazz Ambassadors). The group toured the Middle East in the 1960's promoting democracy. Peggy's reimagined that journey, wondering what the musicians would have eaten on tour and create many Middle Eastern dishes inspired from that region, along with their signature homemade sourdough flatbread and ice creams. There is an extraordinary rose flavoured ice cream and an orange blossom ice cream made with almond milk. It is worth noting that the chef sources local ingredients whenever possible. Their Halloumi is authentic, special, and made up the road in Yorkshire. Their sourdough is made from organic biodiverse, Lincolnshire grown flour at Tuxford Windmill here in Nottingham.
The food is not the only thing to shout about. Peggy's programme a wide variety of artists and world class musicians from soloists to big bands. Jazz is their speciality but there is also a programme of Blues, Soul and World Folk music. Peggy’s understand that not everybody jumps at the chance to see a live Jazz performance. There is a popular belief that Jazz is too high brow, inaccessible or too hard to listen to and leaves them cold, but what is interesting is how this particular space seems to warm people to declaring things like " I don't like Jazz but that ... that was great!"
Peggy’s Skylight is currently closed to live audiences, but they plan to re-open from 21st May. During lockdown they have been running live streamed performances directly from the club which you can watch for free on YouTube or Facebook. Lockdown has been a trying time for many musicians and Peggy's Skylight has provided support throughout these strange times. We particularly love that you can buy the musicians a drink through the website. Order food online on Fridays and Saturdays and collect safely from the venue or have it delivered by taxi. We recommend ordering and eating whilst watching a live stream for a taste of what Peggy’s has to offer.
Did you know?
The venue gains its name from the legendary saxophonist Charlie Mingus who wrote 'Peggy's Blue Skylight'. The venue was once a plant shop and there’s many skylights in the building you see.
Peggy’s owners Rachel and Paul often take to the stage to perform as Me & Mr Jones. Paul, also known as Paulus, has toured Europe and the UK extensively. He is noted for being a constantly inventive arranger in blues and jazz, and as a composer, making him a much sought- after player, performer, and collaborator. Jazz and pop chanteuse Rachel had chart success as part of electronic dance group Weekend Players. Alongside Andy Cato, who is currently one half of Groove Armada, they toured America and reached no.1 in the Dance Chart. When they re-open later this month, I’ll be there!