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Ibiza winter weekends - Santa Eulalia

Incredible live jazz at The Royalty, deep, underground house from Uhm at Guarana, free entrance, a friendly crowd and beautifully affordable bar bills. Welcome to winter weekends in Santa Eulalia.

Santa Eulalia, ‘the gateway to the north,' is the favourite town of many a discerning Ibiza visitor. Spotlessly picturesque and quietly stylish, it's full of cool little bars, a beautiful marina, a wide range of shops and boutiques and of course, it's home to Ibiza's legendary ‘Restaurant Street.' Winter weekenders often make a beeline straight to the town, as unlike resorts such as Playa d'en Bossa, Santa Eulalia remains very much open all year round.

During the summer, naturally its long, wide, award-winning beach takes centre stage, pleasantly, but not too full, with a wide range of nationalities, visitors and residents alike, giving the town a genuinely cosmopolitan feel. But during the winter, the focus moves onto Santa Eulalia's buzzing streets. Home to a large number of artists, musicians and creatives of all kinds, it's at this time of year, when the summer season's work is done, that many say the magic really begins…

So, hearing rumours of a live Jazz jam down at The Royalty restaurant led by acclaimed Cuban jazz guitarist Noberto Rodriguez, we decided to head down to Santa Eulalia for the evening and check out the town's Friday night action. Any excuse for tapas at The Royalty, ahem.

Arriving at around 10pm, the jam was already in full swing. The Royalty's warmly lit, cosy interior was full of mesmerised music lovers, completely carried away with the passionate jazz vibe. The band was comprised of no less than 9 musicians who interchanged throughout the evening. The level of musicianship was insanely high, bringing together the collective talent and influence of many nations, from Cuba to France, Holland, Africa, Spain and more.

Cañas, copas and tapas flowed as enthralled spectators, unable to contain themselves, formed an impromtu dance-floor in front of the band as the mellower tunes became more and more funky. There was barely an un-bobbing head in the entire room, dear reader. Waiters valiantly squeezed themselves through unfeasibly narrow gaps between dancers and tables and the whole merry shindig continued until 11.30pm.

After what only can be described as a magnificent performance, everyone tumbled out onto the street terrace to drink, chat and smoke until the exhausted staff finally closed the bar. It was a great opportunity to sit and chat to these passionate musicians, who, free from the sometimes gruelling summer schedules, have time to socialise with us fans. Since everyone was having far too much of a good time to go home, a collective decision was made to continue on to Guarana.

A five minute walk to the Marina later and we were surprised, at the relatively early Ibiza hour of 1am, to find the terrace of Guarana very busy and some damn fine deep house sounds emitting temptingly from the interior. What was this?!

It turns out that Guarana is home to Uhm, a new night of deep, underground house hosted by resident Ibiza DJ Skweeze and Dutch deep house maestros Loop Alley plus guest DJs, Friday nights, all winter. Loop Alley as you can see below, have been seen playing their edgy, live sets all over the island this summer and look poised for great things. Here they are doing a set at Kumharas, recorded live for Ibiza Sonica radio.

DJ Skweeze, aka Louise Yellowlees, with her background firmly in the underground music scene, is usually known on the island for her funk, soul and disco remixes and ability to stuff a previously empty dancefloor with happily shuffling bottoms within 5 minutes flat. Her deep house set was no different in that respect. The room, ladies and gents was rocking. Check out her Deep and Frisky Ibiza mix right here.

An avid collector of music for over 20 years, the Skweeze record bag is bulging with rarities and she brings some serious technical creativity to the table. This night is about seriously good quality, underground electronic music. The fact that all the Jazz musicians, famously intolerant of bad music, ended up there after their gig at The Royalty says it all really. Moreover, the atmosphere was fantastic - a really smiley, chatty crowd - the kind of night where you go to the bar for a (very reasonably priced) drink, make 3 new friends and bump into 3 old ones on the way.

Conclusion? If you're in Ibiza on a Friday night and you like your music with a gold seal of quality, head over to Santa Eulalia. Great Jazz at The Royalty from 9pm followed by some deep, dastardly tuneage with Uhm at Guarana until 5-6am. It's an absolute winner.

Tip: For a range of winter accommodation in Santa Eulalia, check out the Duquesa apartments and Parot Quality Apartments for great value winter breaks.

WORDS | Jane Charilaou PHOTOS | Jane Charilaou

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