On the heels of Death By Audio’s closing announcement, yet another Williamsburg waterfront institution is shutting its doors. Brooklyn Rod & Gun, a private social club and sometime performance space on Kent Avenue, will close by year’s end.
“I realize it’s kind of moot,” the club’s organizer, Chris Raymond, said when asked if a rent hike was to blame. “Because regardless of who, what, how the club is closing– the jig is up, and we’re moving on.”
Though Raymond seemed disappointed when we spoke to him today, he said he’s known things couldn’t continue forever. “I felt like every day was a gift,” he said. “It’s amazing that we’re pushing six years now.”
What were at first gradual changes in the neighborhood eventually snowballed into exponential growth and the Williamsburg-as-brand we see now. “All of us can look around and see the pressure,” Raymond said. “I don’t know what it specifically was, though. But things look a lot different from when we started. There was no community center or soccer field or hotel. There was none of it. I can’t even remember if Kent was two-ways when we started. But it was a quiet block. And now there are bowling alleys and hotels and endless streams of people and concerts.”
“Something was going to happen and it finally did,” he added.Raymond said that whether the club will move or simply shut down is yet to be determined. “Oddly enough, we were toying with the idea of opening membership again,” he said. “But I don’t know what the Rod & Gun will look like in the coming year, if we’ll have a brick and mortar, and I don’t know how we’ll move forward as an organization.”
Since opening in 2009 in an old warehouse space on Kent Avenue near North 11th Street, Brooklyn Rod & Gun evolved from what was once a small gathering of Chris’s friends, families, and some neighbors (an “old-timey dude’s world,” as the Times called it), to a 102-member club that occasionally hosts hootenannies and public performances for the price of a small temporary membership. “Now we have members from elsewhere. There’s one from the UK, there’s one from California, one from Boston,” Raymond explained.
This widespread membership and the organization’s reputation is what Raymond hopes might end up saving the club as a social entity. “I’ve lived near the club since 1990, and it would be nice to stay in the neighborhood,” he said. “I don’t know that it’s possible. But I don’t know that it’s impossible. There are a lot of friends of the club around, and I’m hoping for some angel to come down and give us a garage or some space for what we do. Or a yard. Or a lot.”