Blu Jaz Cafe entertainment license saga (2018)

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The exterior of Blu Jaz Cafe located at No. 11 Bali Lane. Photo from Blu Jaz Cafe's Facebook.

Blu Jaz Cafe opened its doors at 11 Bali Lane, Kampong Glam in 2006.[1] Blu Jaz Cafe was known for its open mic nights and for its reputation as a live music venue.[2] On 31 August 2018, Blu Jaz Cafe received news from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) that its entertainment license would be cancelled. The notice did not state a definite date for termination. Following the notice, the management of Blu Jaz Cafe filed an appeal against SPF’s decision. The whole incident garnered significant public attention as Blu Jaz Cafe has become an integral entertainment hub for the creative scene in Singapore, grooming and hosting Singaporean entertainers such as Charlie Lim and Fakkah Fuzz.[3]

Details of incident[edit | edit source]

The second floor of Blu Jaz cafe. Photo from Blu Jaz Cafe's Facebook.

On 31 August 2018, Blu Jaz Cafe received their first notice from SPF. The notice informed the management that the cafe would have its entertainment license revoked due to the accumulation of demerit points from previous offences. The offences committed by the cafe are as follows:[4]

  • Excessive noise levels caused by "failure to ensure that windows and doors remained closed" in July 2016 and November 2017.
  • "Overcrowding by over 20 percent above the regulated capacity load" in April 2018 and May 2018.

Overcrowding[edit | edit source]

The overcrowding incident occurred on 28 April 2018 with over 150 people occupying the second floor of the three-story shophouse.[5] The maximum approved occupancy load as stated in the license was capped at 73 pax for 2 floors. At the time, the police had given the management of Blu Jaz Cafe a verbal warning. However, a subsequent check done by the police in the following week revealed that there were still around 200 people on the second floor.[6] SPF explained to The Straits Times that despite being informed of the breach, the "management did not put in any mitigating measures and instead allowed severe overcrowding to happen the following week" thus highlighting a matter of concern to the SPF.[7]

Blu Jaz Cafe response[edit | edit source]

Following the second police visit on 5 May 2018, the management of Blu Jaz Cafe implemented measures in order to reduce the capacity of people on its second floor. The minimum entry age for both men and women increased from 18 to 25 years old for men, and 21 years old for women.[8] This only applied for those seeking to gain entry to the second floor.


Blu Jaz Cafe also ceased its DJ nights and switched the music genre played on the second floor from hip-hop to pop and rock music.[9] According to a report by Channel News Asia, this was done "to attract a more mature crowd for the second storey of the premises".[10] The sales and marketing manager for the cafe Anuj Kumar also explained that the cafe has filed an appeal to the SPF and the independent Public Entertainment Appeal Board (PEAB) regarding the cancellation of its public entertainment license.[11]

Petition and appeal letter[edit | edit source]

The petition banner for Blu Jaz Cafe's campaign. Photo from GoPetition.
A poster for Blu Jaz Cafe's weekly comedy night 'Talk Cock Comedy' that featured local comedians like Sharul Channa. Photo from Blu Jaz Cafe's Facebook.

Blu Jaz Cafe[edit | edit source]

Anuj Kumar initiated an online petition on behalf of the management at Blu Jaz Cafe titled ‘Don't Let the Music Die’. The petition was posted on the website GoPetition and had garnered 4,806 signatures as of 12 March 2019.[12] The petition appealed on the grounds that Blu Jaz Cafe has provided "a platform for local, budding and emerging talents" and is the "ONLY place left for young musicians to hone their musical skills and perform in front of a large audience".[13]


According to the petition write-up, the Blu Jaz management has also been "commissioning and continuing to upkeep the wall murals of Bali Lane and Haji Lane", thus contributing to the overall attraction of the area as a "popular tourist destination".[14] The petition write-up ended off with an appeal for "personal letters of reference in support for Blu Jaz Cafe" that would be submitted together with the management's written appeal to the Appeal Board by 18 October 2018’.[15]

Performers[edit | edit source]

Singapore-based professional jazz musicians Greg Lyons[16] and Aya Sekine[17], who were both regular performers at Blu Jaz Cafe urged their Facebook following to sign the above petition. Local stand-up comedian Sharul Channa called Blu Jaz Cafe "a home to many artists" inclusive of "stand-up comedians, musicians, poets and artists".[18] She had urged her Facebook following to sign the petition as well.

One Kampong Gelam[edit | edit source]

On 12 October 2018, One Kampong Gelam, the neighbourhood association for the area that Blu Jaz Cafe was located at sent in a letter of appeal to the authorities. They hoped that the authorities would aid in the protection of "one of the last bastions of established home-grown jazz venues in Singapore".[19]

Further developments[edit | edit source]

Second notice[edit | edit source]

On 8 October 2018, a second notice was issued to the cafe’s management, highlighting that the cafe had garnered over 24 demerit points in the span of two years.[20] The notice stated that their license would be terminated, effective from 22 October 2018. The initial appeal sent had also been rejected, with the reason being that the cafe had a "poor track record of compliance" with licensing regulations.[21]

Postponement of cancellation[edit | edit source]

On 21 October 2018, the Public Entertainment Appeal Board (PEAB) informed Blu Jaz Cafe that the cancellation of the cafe’s Public Entertainment License would not take effect "on 22 October 2018 or any specified date".[22] This meant that the termination of the cafe’s license would be deferred indefinitely until the PEAB came to a final conclusion. Blu Jaz Cafe announced the news on a Facebook post dated 22 October 2018 and at its premises during the event ‘Blue Monks Sunday Jam...Hope It's Not The Last Jam’.[23]


The management of Blu Jaz Cafe stated that they were discussing the possibility of installing soundproof doors and windows with their landlord and exploring the possibility of adding an external staircase to the building in order to increase the number of accessible exits.[24]

Final verdict[edit | edit source]

On 31 December 2018, Blu Jaz Cafe’s appeal was officially rejected by the Public Entertainment Appeal Board.[25] From 1 February 2019, Blu Jaz Cafe would no longer be able to provide any semblance of public entertainment in its establishment. However, it can still serve food and drinks in its capacity as an F&B establishment. The SPF added that although there are "no restrictions" on parties who wish to re-apply for a Public Entertainment License, all re-applications would be accessed by the police.[26]

References / Citations[edit | edit source]

  1. Tan, Aileen. "ABOUT US". Blu Jaz Cafe. Accessed on 8 May 2019. Retrieved from: http://www.blujazcafe.net/about-us/
  2. Ho, Jovi. "Bye bye, Blu Jaz Cafe: It's the end of an era as the curtain comes down tonight". CNA Lifestyle. January 30, 2019. Accessed on 8 May 2019. Retrieved from: https://cnalifestyle.channelnewsasia.com/trending/jazz-gives-way-to-the-blues-blu-jaz-cafe-closing-11181140
  3. Sun, David. “Blu Jaz Cafe's public entertainment licence cancelled”. The New Paper. October 15, 2018. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from:  https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/blu-jaz-cafes-public-entertainment-licence-cancelled
  4. Ho, Jovi. “Bye bye, Blu Jaz Cafe: It's the end of an era as the curtain comes down tonight”. CNA Lifestyle. January 30, 2019. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from:  https://cnalifestyle.channelnewsasia.com/trending/jazz-gives-way-to-the-blues-blu-jaz-cafe-closing-11181140
  5. Kumar, Anuj. "Don't Let The Music Die". October 14, 2018 GoPetition. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/let-the-music-live-on-at-blu-jaz.html
  6. Yip, Wai Yee. “Severe overcrowding led to safety concerns at Blu Jaz: Police”. The Straits Times. October 19, 2018. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from:  https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/entertainment/severe-overcrowding-lead-to-safety-concerns-at-blu-jaz-police
  7. Yip, Wai Yee. “Severe overcrowding led to safety concerns at Blu Jaz: Police”. The Straits Times. October 19, 2018. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from:  https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/entertainment/severe-overcrowding-lead-to-safety-concerns-at-blu-jaz-police
  8. Cheng, Ian. “Blu Jaz Cafe was severely overcrowded, repeatedly flouted licensing conditions: Police”. Channel News Asia. October 20, 2018. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from:  https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/blu-jaz-cafe-was-severely-overcrowded-repeatedly-flouted-10844636
  9. Cheng, Ian. “Blu Jaz Cafe was severely overcrowded, repeatedly flouted licensing conditions: Police”. Channel News Asia. October 20, 2018. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from:  https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/blu-jaz-cafe-was-severely-overcrowded-repeatedly-flouted-10844636
  10. Cheng, Ian. “Blu Jaz Cafe was severely overcrowded, repeatedly flouted licensing conditions: Police”. Channel News Asia. October 20, 2018. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from:  https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/blu-jaz-cafe-was-severely-overcrowded-repeatedly-flouted-10844636
  11. Cheng, Ian. “Blu Jaz Cafe was severely overcrowded, repeatedly flouted licensing conditions: Police”. Channel NewsAsia. October 20, 2018. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from:  https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/blu-jaz-cafe-was-severely-overcrowded-repeatedly-flouted-10844636
  12. Kumar, Anuj. "Don't Let The Music Die". October 14, 2018 GoPetition. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/let-the-music-live-on-at-blu-jaz.html
  13. Kumar, Anuj. "Don't Let The Music Die". October 14, 2018 GoPetition. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/let-the-music-live-on-at-blu-jaz.html
  14. Kumar, Anuj. "Don't Let The Music Die". October 14, 2018 GoPetition. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/let-the-music-live-on-at-blu-jaz.html
  15. Kumar, Anuj. "Don't Let The Music Die". October 14, 2018 GoPetition. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/let-the-music-live-on-at-blu-jaz.html
  16. Lyons, Greg. Facebook. October 15, 2018. Accessed on 8 May 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.facebook.com/gregblyons/posts/10161295796030647
  17. Sekine, Aya. Facebook. October 15, 2018. Accessed on 8 April 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.facebook.com/ayasekineofficial/posts/10157773740013709
  18. Channa, Sharul. Facebook.October 15, 2018. Accessed on 8 May 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10155697243661630&id=501471629
  19. Sun, David. “Blu Jaz Cafe's public entertainment licence cancelled”. The New Paper. October 15, 2018. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from:  https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/blu-jaz-cafes-public-entertainment-licence-cancelled
  20. Sun, David. “Blu Jaz Cafe's licence cancellation put on hold”. The New Paper. October 23, 2018. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from:  https://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore/blu-jaz-cafes-licence-cancellation-put-hold
  21. Sun, David. “Blu Jaz Cafe's public entertainment licence cancelled”. The New Paper. October 15, 2018. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from:  https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/blu-jaz-cafes-public-entertainment-licence-cancelled
  22. Raguraman, Anjali. “Blu Jaz Cafe licensed to play on - for now at least”. The Straits Times. October 23, 2018. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from:  https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/entertainment/blu-jaz-cafe-licensed-to-play-on-for-now-at-least  
  23. Raguraman, Anjali. “Blu Jaz Cafe licensed to play on - for now at least”. The Straits Times. October 23, 2018. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from:  https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/entertainment/blu-jaz-cafe-licensed-to-play-on-for-now-at-least  
  24. Raguraman, Anjali. “Blu Jaz Cafe licensed to play on - for now at least”. The Straits Times. October 23, 2018. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from:  https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/entertainment/blu-jaz-cafe-licensed-to-play-on-for-now-at-least  
  25. Choo, Cynthia. “‘A big question mark’ over Blu Jaz’s future, after permit to hold live performances cancelled”. Today Online. January 4, 2019. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from:  https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/big-question-mark-over-blu-jazs-future-after-permit-hold-live-performances-cancelled
  26. Choo, Cynthia. “‘A big question mark’ over Blu Jaz’s future, after permit to hold live performances cancelled”. Today Online. January 4, 2019. Accessed on 12 March 2019. Retrieved from:  https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/big-question-mark-over-blu-jazs-future-after-permit-hold-live-performances-cancelled