In many ways, Williamsburg’s newest venue couldn’t be more different from the (mostly) defunct DIY show spaces (bar/art-galleries and dingy old warehouses) that once lined the waterfront area. (Cameo, at least, is still here — for another month and a half, anyway). That’s because National Sawdust is a refined concert hall, a serious non-profit institution with powerful and moneyed supporters plus a leadership of established talent tapped directly from the music and art worlds.
After closing their East Village spot Arrow Bar in January, Zachary Mexico and Billy Jones, who also own Baby’s All Right in Williamsburg, have quietly relaunched the basement boite as Elvis Guesthouse.
The bar’s website explains the name by claiming that Elvis, after faking his death, headed to the Far East and inconspicuously bunked in guesthouses before opening one of his own. The location at 85 Avenue A, designed by Isaac Nichols (yes, he of the boob pot), is supposedly a reproduction of the original, which, judging by some early Instagram photos, had a sauna-like seating area, a wall of roses, a disco-balled DJ booth, and Kama Sutra bathroom wallpaper.
The bar and live music venue, located in a former plumbing supply warehouse at 146 Broadway, is now “openish,” having hosted a Brooklyn Vegan’s CMJ showcase last weekend, but it might be a couple of weeks before it’s fully open for what Mexico describes as a “nice clean lunch” during the day and “experimental bar food” at night.
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