Best Recycled Jazz Venue
1610 14th St. NW, (202) 545-3459
Sotto is the name of the basement “smokery” in the basement beneath Ghibellina, an Italian eatery on 14th Street’s restaurant row. The cocktails and beers are strong. The food tends toward decadence: Small plates include pork belly with sunchoke tostones, brisket with fingerling potato salad, and buttermilk fried cod. As for the music, there’s some funk and soul on the agenda, but more often it’s jazz guitarist John Lee (who leads a Tuesday night jam session), vocalist Nicole Saphos, or pianist Michael Price. Sotto’s building is also rather historic. Before moving in 2011 to H Street NE and quietly closing a few years later, the building at 1610 14th Street NW was home for more than 15 years to the much beloved jazz club HR-57. Sotto doesn’t think of itself a jazz venue, mind you—but tell that to musicians and fans who get to open that door and be hit with a wild sax solo once again.