Sign of the times: The sign that hung above the legendary Hubie’s Bar on Angle Street.
Sign of the times: The sign that hung above the legendary Hubie’s Bar on Angle Street.

When the iconic jazz bar Hubie’s closed down earlier this year, a gaping hole was left in Bermuda’s cultural landscape.

The highly treasured jazz joint on Angle Street, ­Pembroke, attracted the best of the island’s musical talents as well as countless overseas entertainers.

Sadly, in May, it closed its doors for the last time but former Culture Minister and author of Music on the Rock, Dale Butler wont let it be forgotten that easily.

He has made a film ­documenting the final night of entertainment with footage of the house band Spirit as well as interviews with the musicians and many faithful customers who made ­Hubie’s what it was.

The central figure in the film is piano specialist ­Erskine Phillips who started the band Jaz with Michael Stowe, Dayton Wharton, Leroy Richardson, Jade Minors, ‘Doc’ Symonds and the most ­influential of all — Hubie Brown. They started up ­Hubie’s Bar some fifteen years ago. After Hubie died, his wife Eleanor ran the bar and did so right up ­until the final Friday night show.

“It became the Mecca of jazz,” recalls Mr. Butler. “You only had Cousin Juicy (the late Derek Symonds) promoting jazz on the various radio stations — there were a few other people, but Hubie’s was the only live venue with jazz on a regular basis — every Friday night.”

The hour-long film is called Chilled and Shaken — The Closing of Hubies ­under the distinguished ­patronage of ‘Molly’ Brown. It screens at Liberty Theatre on Union Square, ­Pembroke on Sunday at 4pm.

There is a ten-minute special feature before the film that highlights music veterans Chalkie Virgil, Ghandi Burgess, Lance Hayward and Milt Robinson.

Speaking of the Bar’s ­demise when the building was sold, Mr. Butler said: “I knew it was going to close — the sale of the building was a minor factor. During the last ten weeks people had shifted their tastes — other venues had become more popular. They were just using Hubie’s to show it off to guests from overseas and your regulars ­disappeared.

“Jazz hadn’t caught on with the younger groups and your older groups were no longer going out four straight Fridays — they might go out once a month.”

As the customer base got smaller and smaller, it must have been difficult for Ms. Brown to keep the business afloat. Mr. Butler added: “Molly should be saluted for carrying the band out of her own pocket.

“Hubie’s has since been taken over by Shine’s (at 91 Reid Street) so we have to rally behind it because if we lose Shine’s then we lose everything.”

Proceeds from the film will go towards the Angle Street Community Association which was founded by Mr. Butler.