If you have not been to Jatra Restaurant & Bar on a Friday night, then you've missed a lot of musical evenings. Since its move from Satghumti to Thamel proper, next to the Ganesh Man Singh residence, Jatra has been known for live entertainment. It has also been one of the venues for Jazzmandu and many will remember the scintillating performance of Afro Dizzi Act, a band from Australia that was a hit in Kathmandu some years ago.
On our visit, we found Sushil Raj Panta and Smriti Bajracharya belting out crowd favorites. While Sushil enjoys singing Cat Stevens, Tom Petty, U2 and Bob Dylan covers, Smriti goes through the works of some of the best female rockers we have heard in the last decade. Smriti's repertoire covers a wide range of artistes like Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, Joan Jet, Norah Jones, Shania Twain, etc. The supporting band comprises of Sarad Shrestha on lead guitar, Ujwal Shakya on bass, Sanjay Dangol on rhythm guitar and Sanjay Shrestha (not the pop star) on drums. Sushil belts out with power, while Smriti has a voice that can take her places.
The ambience at Jatra is homely, with trees lining one end of the restaurant and the enclosure ensures good acoustics for the band. There is no shortage of space; there's the courtyard where the band performs, the rooms upstairs and the balcony, which is quite a good spot for a view of the band. Alok Maskey the proprietor informs, "We serve continental food, but quite a variety of Nepali snacks are also available to keep you chewing through the evening." You can also catch a seasoned band called "The Strings" on Saturdays. If you're looking for some entertainment on a weekend, head for Jatra; you will not be disappointed.