The Jazz Bar in Edinburgh has been saved from closure after being taken over as a social enterprise by former staff members.

The Chambers Street venue, which has operated for nearly 20 years, closed its doors last month with the owners citing the cost of living crisis coupled with operational challenges as factors making it impossible to continue.

However, the Jazz Bar has been saved thanks to the formation of a Community Interest Company (CIC) by former staff members, husband and wife Nick and Justyna Mushlin.

It will now run as a non-profit social enterprise, channelling all operating surplus back into the venue with all assets locked into and owned by the social enterprise. 

Mr Mushlin said “When it became apparent that The Jazz Bar would close, we couldn't just stand by.

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"With immense support from the music community, we took it upon ourselves to purchase the assets, the licence and the name and now look forward to continuing the legacy that has meant so much to us all.

"The Jazz Bar has always been a home for local musicians and music lovers, and we are committed to keeping that spirit alive.”

Co-owner Justyna Mushlin added: “We would not have been able to do any of this if it weren't for the love that runs deep for The Jazz Bar and all it stands for.

"Getting to this stage has been quite a complex process, but we are thrilled we’ve been able to do this in what has been a relatively short period of time. But this is just the start. We are now asking for support to get this new venture off the ground.

"We have set up a Crowdfunder to help with startup costs and to repay some of the short-term personal loans taken out so far as well as the generous donations by former staff, crew and musicians. We are well on our way, but we still need help from the community, especially with the Jazz & Blues Festival and the Fringe just around the corner.”

Oliver Melling, Scotland Coordinator, Music Venue Trust said "MVT has been supporting The Jazz Bar since the end of 2023, offering advice and support where possible until the point at which the previous limited company became overburdened with an outstanding Non-Domestic Rates debt and was forced to close.

"We have worked closely with Nick and Justyna to form their Community Interest Company, establish their crowdfunding campaign and engage local politicians. It’s been incredible to see the music community rally to support Nick and Justyna in this new incarnation.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "The Jazz Bar’s closure in April cut deep into the heart of the city’s cultural landscape, so it is a huge relief to see it reopening under new ownership.

"Sadly, The Jazz Bar is far from the only cultural venue and initiative, such as the Screen Machine and the Edinburgh Filmhouse, to have come under increasing threat on the SNP's watch.

“The SNP love to masquerade as advocates for Scottish culture. Yet, in reality, they are slashing the culture budget, cutting money from local government and failing to support businesses with the cost of living.

“The near closure of The Jazz Bar needs to serve as a warning sign for the state of Scottish culture under the SNP. We need to see the Scottish Government investing for the future to preserve Scotland’s proud musical, artistic and literary history, and working with the UK Government to help ease the strains on businesses struggling to stay afloat.”

You can donate to the Crowdfunder here