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.
In the meantime, the space is ready for private events and live shows, with a wall that separates the front lounge from the back concert space (where a reproduction of the maze from The Shining is painted on the floor), a side room with separate bar (decorated with 1970s German wallpaper), a vending machine that’ll sell Chinese horoscopes, and wall panels with inset lighting that reproduces constellations. It’s all meant to play on “the idea of a mystical diner where it’s like the blending of contemporary music culture, contemporary museum culture, and contemporary psychedelic culture,” said Mexico, who happens to be a proponent of ayahuasca.
Mexico was a booker at Pianos before he left to travel Asia and write the book China Underground. His partner Billy Jones took over for him at Pianos several years ago and is still a talent buyer there. Together they’ve set up what Mexico hopes will be “the best small-room sound system in Williamsburg, for sure,” and are hoping to book a good variety of bands.
“We’re interested in doing stuff that’s carefully curated but all over the map,” said Mexico. “The word that’s spelled e-c-l-e-c-t-i-c is not a nice word to use because it’s corny, but I like that — we want to do a lot of the stuff that happened at Tonic and Zebulon and then maybe stuff that’s happening at other places that’s more mainstream, Pitchfork-type stuff…”
Whatever’s being played on the stage, it’ll come to life via an LED backdrop (made up of dozens of ashtrays) that pulses to the music.
In the kitchen, Ronald Murray (of Acme and Bouley) will be filling a tall order: “We just want to have the best bar food in the hood,” said Mexico. So far, it looks like the menu will include alligator poppers, a wild boar sandwich, Bangkok-style friend chicken, and an ancient-grain salad. According to another partner, Brooklyn and Miami fixture Casey Zap, there’ll also be a bird’s nest with a fried egg on a lamb meatball.
Sound all right? All right!