Last week Ilhan Ersahin opened a new club just a few blocks up from Nublu, the East Village institution he launched back in 2002, and tonight he’s celebrating with a party. The second-floor space is called Studio 151, which, yes, is meant to invoke Studio 54. “There’s a little word play of course, because it’s also going to be a great hangout place,” Ersahin says. “It’s inspired by Andy Warhol’s Factory and the glory days of the ’70s.”
But it’s also a “studio” in the sense of a music recording studio; Nublu Records is, after all, kind of a big deal. “If somebody would ask me what was missing the last 12 years of Nublu, I would say that I wish we had a studio,” says the keyboardist and saxophonist, whose latest album with vocalists Gilberto Gil and Jane Birkin came out a couple of months ago. In addition to being a studio, 151 will host parties, record releases, theater, and ongoing art installations.
On the ground floor, meanwhile, another Nublu will open “eventually,” according to Ersahin.
After Nublu opened back in 2002, it became a late-night destination for an eclectic array of DJs and live acts playing experimental jazz, electronica, and world music. Lately, it’s had its share of ups and downs: in 2011, it temporarily shuttered after an anonymous tipster told the state that Nublu was operating with a liquor license too close to a Jehovah’s Witnesses hall. It eventually rebounded and returned to its original location, but with just a beer and wine license. A year later, just before its 10th anniversary, noise complaints lodged against the club forced it to cancel some weeknight shows and spend money on additional sound-proofing.
A video of the scene at 151:
Despite the flack he’s taken on Avenue C, Ersahin was determined to open his new spot in the neighborhood. “It’s going to be a very creative, productive place in the tradition of how the East Village used to be,” Ersahin says. “And I feel like it’s needed, because in the last few years, a lot of things moved to Brooklyn. I think it’s time for the East Village to step it up.”
Tonight’s party features Nublu fixture DJ Vladimir Radojicic and Friday will see Andy Rourke of The Smiths on the decks.
Nublu’s location at 62 Avenue C will stay open and continue to host parties. Once it moves over to 151, Ersahin has more tricks up his sleeve. “Something new will happen at the old location,” Ersahin says. “Maybe a sushi place. I have a friend who’s one of the best sushi chefs in New York. We haven’t really talked too much about it, but I like the idea.” He adds with a laugh, “I like the idea if he does the food.”