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Rail Bridge Cellars launches jazz, blues series with intimate seating

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The tasting room for Sacramento urban winery Rail Bridge Cellars is an intimate, two-level venue at the top of the Elks Tower – a spot managing partner Michael Gelber said is the highest place in the city where you can eat and drink – and it will begin hosting live blues and jazz Aug. 11.

After being open for about six weeks, Gelber said, the tasting room has attracted a following, and Rail Bridge Cellars’ selection has grown from two varietals to about 12.

“We want to bring a speakeasy-style place,” Gelber said. “Sacramento has lots of great nightlife, but this is a different take.”

He said the two-level penthouse was called The Top of the Town shortly after the building’s construction in 1926, and it played host to some of the city’s elites.

Now, with the jazz and blues series, Gelber said he is trying to create a space with an intimate feel where people can go for an after-dinner drink and great views of the town.

“Maybe you go out to a nice dinner, and you want to go someplace where you can have a drink and talk and hear some local music,” Gelber said.

That’s the idea behind the weekly Blues and Jazz Unplugged, which kicks off this Saturday. Admission is $20, and tickets must be bought in advance online. Ticket purchase includes a glass of wine or beer and hors d’oeuvres. Additional glasses of wine are in the $5 – $6 range.

Entry is limited to 48 people so the area remains intimate, and people can book their spaces anytime until tickets are sold out, including the day of the event.

Doors open at 9 p.m., and the first musical set begins at 10, with a second set at 11. The doors close at 1 a.m.

Playing first in the series is Clemon Charles, a Sacramento musician originally from Barbados.

“I’ll be playing some eclectic music with some jazz and a little bit of world-beats blues,” Charles said. “I’m doing it with a lot of Caribbean influence because that’s where I’m from, and a lot of my music has a lot of island influence.”

Most artists in the series will play with an acoustic guitar, Charles said, adding that some will use pianos. Vocals will feature strongly in the performances as well.

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