OK, we’re almost in the clear for anything New Year’s Eve-related. But before we hurdle head-first into 2017, there’s one more place we lost over the holiday weekend that’s worth pouring one out for: a Williamsburg bar called Daddy’s.
Another venue spent New Year’s Eve saying their last goodbyes to regulars and anyone else with a drink in their hand. For the last few years, Cake Shop was running on borrowed time. Back in 2012, when the gritty bitty Lower East Side venue’s Ludlow Street neighbor, The Living Room, closed up shop after more than 15 years in business, it seemed like it was only a matter of time.
Last year was a rough one for cultural spaces of all kinds in New York City, so it was somewhat fitting (if not totally sad) that a slew of local spots said their peace-outs during New Year’s Eve festivities. Among the departing establishments that went out with a bang on one of the drunkest night of the year was Over the Eight, a Williamsburg bar which closed up shop after “three and a half years” of “slinging cheap drinks and treasured times” (as we heard back in November when the owners first announced their departure).
Sadly, the Morbid Anatomy Museum has shuffled off this mortal coil. The Gowanus museum dedicated to exploring “death, beauty and that which falls between the cracks” announced in an email that it has ceased operations after two and a half years. At least it left a beautiful corpse.
Another day, another watering hole that’s closing. This time it’s Jerome’s, the Lower East Side late-night staple just steps from the Williamsburg Bridge, which will be closing its doors for good tonight. Formerly known as St. Jerome’s, it was reincarnated into Rivington F&B in 2014, and was a favorite LES hangout for Lady Gaga.
After St. Jerome’s was revamped into Rivington F&B in March 2014 by Jonas Pelli, a former bartender and manager at St. Jerome’s, and his new partners in crime Omri S. Quire and Paul Seres of The DL, the bar expanded with a new backroom, a fresh cocktail list, and a food menu.
After the makeover, patrons who remembered and loved St. Jerome’s back from its down-and-dirty days were afraid the bar would become a bro-festered lounge, but for the most part Rivington F&B (still known as Jerome’s) managed to pay homage to its wilder roots. The laid-back vibes, a small dance floor in the back, and their rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic simply made the spot feel like a slightly posher version of the beaten-up dive bar it once was. The chalkboard doors in the front would sport homages to recently deceased music legends, including Bowie and Prince.
While the owners wouldn’t explain exactly why they had to close – S. Quire simply said “it’s out of our control” – Bowery Boogie reported back in June that the space had apparently been bought by new owners who plan to turn it into something called the LES Junction, although there’s little information about the spot as of yet. The new owners Gavin Downie and Lynn McNeill submitted a liquor license request to the Community Board 3 for 155 Rivington back in May.
Pelli and S. Quire had a big blowout on Saturday night with DJs Prince Terrence and Nate Turbow to celebrate their last weekend at Jerome’s, as well as an “insane” Monday night party, which became a collaboration of their popular “Magic Monday” and “Dollhouse” parties. “We’ve let our DJs and employees each do their own send-off this week,” S. Quire explained.
S. Quire wistfully said that in a way, it was fitting that they would have one last hurrah on a Wednesday. “We actually opened on a Wednesday with a party called Clubhouse Déjà Vu, which is a throwback to the old St. Jerome’s,” he said, explaining that the original Jerome’s used to be nicknamed “the clubhouse.”
Naturally, tonight’s party will carry that moniker, and feature DJs Marty E. and Ian Eldorado spinning tunes until 4am.
Nonetheless, it was clear that S. Quire and Pelli were sad to have to close down. “It’s hard to let go of anything to which you devote so much time and effort. We’ve got a lot of great memories, learned a lot and made many new friends and we hope that everyone else who’s been coming to the bar has gained as much as us,” S. Quire explained.
But S. Quire and Pelli are Lower East Siders till the bitter end, and have been hatching some new ideas for ventures around the neighborhood. “We need to find the real estate first,” Pelli said.
One thing’s for sure though: they’re not moving to Brooklyn. “Brooklyn is not us,” Pelli said decisively.
Jerome’s at Rivington F&B, 115 Rivington Street between Suffolk and Clinton Street. Tonight, 5pm – 4am.
Last week, the possibility that New York City music fans feared the most became a reality: the space at 906 Broadway that since April 2014 had been known as Palisades– the DIY venue with a bar, shows almost every night of the week ranging from punk to noise and underground hip-hop, and Ariel Bitran, the co-owner/booker with a heart of gold and ears that were open to even the littlest of bands– had a “For Rent” sign placed in its window.
After just four and a half years on Grand Street, Williamburg venue the Grand Victory closed its doors last night, finishing things out with a hardcore matinee during the day and a nighttime show to say “Bon Voyage” to the space. The first show was headlined by local punks Subzero, after which several DJs and surprise guests played one last show that lasted into the first couple hours of Monday. That last show was closed out by Andy Animal and his band STALKERS, who were also playing their final show as a band.
Lower East Side music shop Ludlow Guitars had its last day earlier this week, ending its 17-year run on the street that gave it its name. As the shop’s owner, Kaan Howell, busily packed the place up in preparation for its decamp to Brooklyn, he took some time to get a couple final polaroids in the old shop—presumably the last before it inevitably turns into a fusion restaurant/hotel/dog therapist.
The name says it all– at Rainbow Hugs and Kisses: a Doomsday Celebration, Secret Project Robot will start saying their goodbyes to the neighborhood they’ve called home for the last five years. On Wednesday, July 13 (7 pm to 10 pm) the DIY venue will open the final art show at its current location with festivities and hopefully some booty-shaking to coronate what the SPR community’s calling a “magical realm.”
In less than two weeks, Rainbow Hugs and Kisses: a Doomsday Celebration, the final closing ceremony/bye-bye art show at Secret Project Robot, will open as a “greatest hits” celebration of the last five years at their current space, 389 Melrose Street in Bushwick. Rachel Nelson, who co-directs the long-running DIY art and music venue with her partner Erik Zajaceskowski are moving on to their fourth (to be determined) location since the couple started an underground party place in Williamsburg known as Mighty Robot way, way back in 1998.
“We just ended 20, almost 21 years of selling records in New York City,” said Chris Vanderloo, co-founder of Other Music.
Before the Acheron opened on a quiet block in heavily-industrial East Williamsburg back in 2010, the building was little more than a “black box” housing a barebones ska venue, as owner Bill Dozer remembers it. Within two weeks of signing the lease and taking over the place, it was transformed into a punk and metal show space, a speakeasy-style DIY operation with cheap cans of beer, the occasional “plastic handle of liquor,” and a remarkable sound system with a bar next door. “We were able to get off the ground with basically nothing— just a bunch of sweat and, like, four people working there,” Dozer recalled.
Over the years, the Acheron has grown into the de facto homebase of Brooklyn punk, which has made something of a comeback itself as the venue expanded and went legit, welcoming in local acts and touring bands from across the country to play everything from straightedge punk to psych metal. But as of July 9, the East Williamsburg venue is putting all that to rest when they close their doors for good.