What a year 2016 has been. Van’s Warped Tour was one of the best years since the early 2000’s (New Found Glory, Reel Big Fish, Sum41, Yellowcard, Pepper, Ballyhoo!, and Less Than Jake certainly made Warped Tour great again), Metallica’s Hardwired…To Self-Destruct was released (now just anxiously awaiting US tour dates), and The Living End released Shift AND toured in the US (where I reunited with the trio at Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, NJ and somehow signed up to be a platelet donor).
That being said, I must point out that we’ve lost a lot of amazing music venues/bars/restaurants in the tri-state area.
- Cake Shop on Ludlow Street will be closing after their New Year’s Eve bash. This one is hard to stomach as I’ve seen a lot of incredible sets downstairs at this crowded, heat-trapped stage since 2005. When their neighbors The Living Room closed their doors to re-open up in Brooklyn on Metropolitan Avenue, I was saddened to see three music venues in a row on Ludlow knocked down to two. But now just one? If anything happens to Pianos there’s going to be hell to pay!
- Oi vey…now to talk about the closing of (many) music venues due to hosting NYC Oi Fest.
- Black Bear Bar (which was right next to Music Hall of Williamsburg and formally Public Assembly and Galapagos Art Space) closed their doors in early September. They hosted the first night of the controversial Oi Fest! over Memorial Day weekend and cancelled the event in progress due to pressure by promoters. Black Bear Bar posted this statement on Facebook: “This past Saturday night it came to our attention that our venue room was booked for a two-day festival which featured reprehensible displays of hate and intolerance. We immediately took action that night to cancel the remainder of the event as soon as we confirmed what had taken place. The booking was made by a third-party booking agent and not by Black Bear. That booker also used our social media accounts to make posts that neither I nor any owner of Black Bear condoned or approved. We have fired the booking agent. The owners of Black Bear apologize to our fellow New Yorkers for this disgusting event. Hate and intolerance are not welcome at our bar and have no place in our great city.” Not long after hosting this mistake of an event the skate bowl/motorcycle bar was forced to closed.
- Santo’s Party House in Chinatown closed immediately after hosting the second night of NYC’s Oi Fest on May 29th. I’ve had so many great nights at this place and for years wanted to host my own party here. This place will be deeply missed and I have no beef against Andrew W.K. who was part owner of the venue. People make mistakes, and clearly deciding to have anything to do with Oi Fest is one of them.
- That being said, The Acheron also closed their doors in July “As a result of numerous factors that are completely out of our control, the space can no longer be used for shows,” said in a statement from the owners. The adjacent bar, The Anchored Inn, will remain open. The Ancheron hosted NYC’s Oi Fest back in 2013 and apologized to their regulars who felt the need to leave.
- The Grand Victory, another grungy dive bar gem on Grand Street in Brooklyn, closed their doors on July 31st. The Trash Bar used to be across the street, and closed back in 2015. Long live the grungy dive bars, lost but never forgotten.
- It’s with a very heavy heart I say that Rebel Rebel Records on Bleeker Street closed this past June. Sure, there’s Rough Trade in Brooklyn, but it will never hold as much history as Rebel Rebel did. Due to rising rent prices, they were forced to close their doors forever after being in business for 28 years.
- Peanut Butter & Co. on Sullivan Street closed at the end of February. Luckily you can still buy their delicious peanut butter, but you’ll be responsible for your own sandwich creations. They were in business at this location for 17 years and one of the first single-ingredient sandwich shops in the area.
- Carnegie Deli on 7th closed their doors yesterday, 12/30. You can still get tasty pastrami sandwiches at their other locations, although I’ve always preferred Katz.
Okay, that’s enough sad reminiscing. Let’s get positive and review what has opened up this year, and what will open up in 2017:
- Brooklyn Steel (a The Bowery Presents venue) is set to open in the spring of 2017 at 319 Frost Street. They are already booking shows, opening with 3 days of The Decemberists.
- The Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk officially opened June 25th and has already hosted many great acts.
Brooklyn Bazaar closed in 2015 but has now reopened as of September 9th at 150 Greenpoint Avenue. So many great things to do here; if you’re bored, this is where you should be. Live music, market place with the most unique vendors, karaoke/arcade/ping pong/mini-golf, and The Brooklyn Star food and bar (serving brunch on Sundays)
- The Lucky Bee – 252 Broome Street – opened towards the end of January this year. They serve seasonal Thai curries, Southeast Asian street snacks and cocktails in a colorful space. The cocktail menu features drinks made with honey, and a dollar of every drink sold is donated to the New York City Beekeepers Association. The owners hope to raise bees on the roof in the future.
- Pet Shop opened up in Jersey City this past August. They host occasional live music and have a wine bar in the basement, not to mention a menu of original vegetarian plates.
- Park and Orchard in Rutherford, NJ closed in July 2015 and re-opened under new ownership on April 1st 2016. This restaurant has always been about healthy, organic vegetarian options and the new menu still seems to carry that torch. They also say they’ve kept a few classics on the menu, but I do not see the famous Crawfish Enchiladas so I have been hesitant to try it out. Hopefully they still make the best French martini known to man.
Hope everyone has a happy new year!