After 40 years, owners of Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge are selling
After more than 40 years, Ryles Jazz Club is closing its doors.
In a brief telephone interview Monday afternoon, owner Gary Mitchell said he’s selling the Ryles property so that his family can focus its attention on the adjacent S&S Restaurant, which it’s owned for nearly a century.
“We’re still booking shows [at Ryles] and nothing is imminent, but, yes, we’re selling,” said Mitchell, whose family has operated the Inman Square jazz club for the past 25 years. “We’ve enjoyed every minute of it and it’s been very successful, but based on our age and our lifestyle, this is the decision we’ve made.”
Located on Hampshire Street in Cambridge, Ryles was opened by Jack Reilly in the late 1970s and has played host to a who’s who of jazz acts, including Pat Metheny, Grover Washington Jr., Arturo Sandoval, McCoy Tyner, and Maynard Ferguson, to name just a few.
After Mitchell’s family bought the business, it was expanded to include R&B shows, a Sunday brunch, and catering for special events, including birthday parties, corporate functions, weddings, and bar mitzvahs.
“Everybody wants to own a nightclub on Friday and Saturday night, but we’ve been successful because we didn’t rely on Friday and Saturday night,” Mitchell said. “We made this decision with a heavy heart.”
He said there’s no timetable for closing, but the Soul City Band, which performs frequently at Ryles, posted a note on its Facebook page saying: “We have some very sad news to share with our faithful followers. Our beloved venue, Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge, will be closing down at the end of June.”
Mitchell, who operates the club with his sister Aimee Baum, said he and his sibling are in their 60s and their parents are in their 90s. He said the family will continue to operate S&S Restaurant, which was opened by their great-grandmother in 1919. Mitchell predicted that the restaurant will be in business for at least another century.
“It’s an institution,” he said.
Ryles is among a small handful of Boston clubs that regularly host jazz shows. Others include Wally’s Cafe on Mass. Ave., Regattabar at the Charles Hotel, and Scullers Jazz Club at the DoubleTree Suites Hotel on Soldiers Field Road.