There are three things that are really difficult to do in Manhattan (in ascending order): maintaining a bar, maintaining a music venue, and maintaining your weirdo energy. Impressively, Berlin, the Avenue A booze/music bunker, has been doing all three for a year now.
To celebrate, the literally underground spot— known for its musically inclined clientele— is throwing a two-night-long party complete with performances by Berlin’s owner and glammy garage rocker Jesse Malin and his friends.
Malin, a longtime fixture in the downtown music scene and member of bands like Heart Attack and D Generation, said that the original intention for opening Berlin was to create a place where New York City’s artists can unwind and get their minds off the skyrocketing rents and their increasingly bleak prospects.
“Being a musician, I’ve always wanted every place I get involved in to have some kind of clubhouse/hideaway feel that’s artist friendly and keeps a certain kind of NYC spirit alive,” Malin wrote in an email.
A year into this mission, Berlin is doing just that. Malin said part of the venue’s charm stems from the fact that the bar– situated as a kind of “secret cabaret” below bar 2A– is the kind of place where you at least need to look the part to be welcomed into the club. That means turning away a lot of “mainstream ‘meatballs'” as he put it— a group that, if I’m being completely honest here, I’d probably get lumped into. Wah wah.
The result of Berlin’s selectiveness, however, is a club with a distinct style— one that thumbs its nose at the yoga studios and boxy condos going up all around it. Malin said that they’re not trying to be “Fashion Nazis” or anything, but that there’s a certain attitude Berlin’s trying to keep alive.
On a more above-ground level, Malin promised that this weekend will entail what sounds like an all-around banger for their one-year celebration. “It will be a hot end-of-summer celebration with our great patrons, employees and musician friends who have made this a really wild year,” Malin said.
The two separate shows, happening o nFriday and Saturday nights, will feature acts like Don Dilego & the Tourists, Gambles and DJ sets from Iceage’s Elias Ronnenfelt and others. It’s also a pretty safe bet to assume that there will be, in all likelihood, a surprise drop-in or two. And, if that’s not enough to pique your interest, Malin will be playing both nights an added, that you can bet your booty he “will probably get really freakin’ drunk.”