Just off Spinola Bay, on St. Joseph Street, there’s a place that many people around Malta have become very familiar with down through the years. During the sunny months, people from all walks of life would flock here to experience the good vibes exuding from the place. I am, of course, talking about Juuls.
The last thing many people heard about Juuls is that beloved owner Nicki had closed shop, packed up and moved to Jamaica. What many people don’t know is that this very sanctuary has opened again under new management who are equally as eager to spread the love around Malta, while bringing something new to the island at the same time.
Introducing Jah Ruulz
Jah Ruulz, meaning God Rules, is a very apt name for this place. There is definitely some deity of love and good vibes ruling over this place.
I met up with Danka Vizicanin – event manager, bartender and all around amazing person – to clear up some of the confusion around the switch from Juuls to Jah Ruulz as well as to get an insight into what’s in store for this iconic establishment.
Danka, who I will be referring to by her first name because it’s awesome, has been working at Jah Ruulz since the middle of January. She’s no stranger to reggae music, but first got involved with planning reggae events in Malta last September at The Common Ground Festival in Funky Monkey which she helped organise.
“My point last year was to bring Serbian musicians to Malta, to introduce Serbian reggae to the rest of the world. The name of the event was “Common Ground”. I don’t know if you remember it, like September last year in Funky Monkey. It was a festival with street dancers, hip-hop, reggae, that sort of thing. So that’s how I got involved with the Reggae scene. That was my first start.”
So, What’s Changed?
The short answer? Nothing has changed, but everything has changed. Cryptic, yes, but it makes sense when you see that place and get an understanding of what’s to come. Entering Jah Ruulz, you’ll initially find a lot of familiarities, which is great because the ambience was, and still is, perfect. But once you look a bit closer, you’ll see start to notice the Jah Ruulz’s personality beginning to shine through.
Danka, of course, has a lot of exciting plans for the place too: “Different things are going on. So we’re going to try and bring something different as well. This is a chilled bar, we’re not going to go far from reggae but we’re going to start with hip-hop, open mic nights, etc. So, we’re trying to bring something different.”
Collaborating with Freedom Fighters is one thing she’s been busy doing. The Maltese Reggae duo has become a regular act at Jah Ruulz, namely for the Friday Sessions events held here. Urban Kaos Promotions, who played in Jah Ruulz this Saturday, have also begun doing some performances at Jah Ruulz, bringing an element of Drum Bass and Jungle to the place.
The kitchen is open again too, so you can get your fix for mouth-watering vegan dishes again. As well as that, the menu will be updated with some new additions that are bound to be massive hits – acai balls, for example, are being introduced.
“We’re going to start serving these acai balls. These are vegan breakfast, it’s very cool. So it’s an Australian project, totally vegan organic food, and all you need is fruits on the top to decorate it. It’s very healthy, very tasty.”
Did Someone Say Custom Papers?
One thing that Danka was very excited about was the custom Ziggi papers that are being made for Jah Ruulz. The papers will include the Jah Ruulz logo on them and will be completely unique to the place.
“We are going to make Jah Ruulz custom papers and then give a chance to introduce Jah Ruulz as the home of the reggae scene. So whoever wants to make their own papers with Jah Ruulz, they’re invited.”
These custom-made papers are completely unique and will be available in a limited number, for now. You’ll be able to pick up a packet for yourself at Jah Ruulz.
A Summer of Chilled Back Vibes Awaits
“There are lots of projects being organised. Summer is coming,” Danka mentioned, hinting at a number of events that will be taking place over the next few months. The aim is to plan something new each Sunday and if something is really popular it will become a staple part of the Jah Ruulz calendar. Danka organised a Vegan Buffet a couple of week’s back – which was extremely successful. There have also been several board game nights organised too. Future events that are in store include various workshops, yoga sessions and much more.
“We’re going to try to involve everybody. You know like workshops, to bring different things. Sometimes people need help to discover a talent they have. Malta is so good for this because it’s so foreign, it’s so international. There are such talents all around. You just have to look better and bring them out. Lots of people they don’t have space, they don’t have connections and we want to provide them with this.”
Summer, of course, wouldn’t be summer without a few beach parties and boat parties. Danka has some plans in store on this front. However, I cannot share anything as of yet as it’s still in the early stages. What I can tell you though is that there are massive plans in place. You should definitely keep an eye out for the official announcement of the events; you’re not going to want to miss these.
Check Out Jah Ruulz!
It’s safe to say that the future of the reggae scene is in good hands with Jah Ruulz. Danka has shown that love and respect can be very effective drivers towards success. So, if you’re looking for an oasis in the sea of bustling restaurants and bars around St Julian’s, you know where you need to be.
Underground Sound also hosted an event in Jah Ruulz on 29th March dedicated to West-Coast hip-hop. Showcasing some of the best g-funk and freestyle, the event featured some of the biggest DJs on the island as well as a competition for up-and-coming freestylers. Check out more about the event on the G-Funk and Cypher Showcase event.
Make sure you also check out Jah Ruulz on Facebook too to keep up with all the events that will be taking place of the summer.
Photos courtesy of Jah Ruulz
Words by: Shane McLaimh