Well, it’s been a sad week of goodbyes for two unique Brooklyn bars. First Tandem announced that it’s calling it quits on November 1, and now Passenger Bar, the site of so many concerts, Halloween parties and David Cross DJ sets, is closing its doors (hopefully temporarily) later this month after three years on Roebling Street in Williamsburg.
The building changed ownership about a year ago, owner Melissa Aubert told us today. She said she went back and forth trying to negotiate with the new owners in the hopes the bar could stay, but they want to do a gut renovation and add on two or three floors to the oddly shaped two-story building. She suspects that ultimately they may just tear it down.
Aubert is planning to reopen soon, but she hasn’t settled on a location yet. Passenger Bar was inspired by Festival Express, which documented the cross-country train ride taken by musical legends who converted a train into a moving recording studio. The space is reminiscent of an old train station bar, complete with curtained sleeper car and a 1,100-pound train rail anchored to the bar as a footrest. Depending on the type of space she finds for the new location, Aubert said she may think about changing the concept. “It’s hard because the space lends a lot to the personality,” she said. One thing she said she’s likely to continue are the events Passenger Bar is known for.
“I just love, love, love the collaborations,” she said. “I’ve always enjoyed bringing people together to do something unique, hopefully. It’s hard to find something that someone hasn’t done already, so we’re always trying to make it crazier.” And the bar got all the crazy she wished for; from burlesque nights to Pioneer Works art classes to live tattooing, Passenger’s calendar has always been full.
Passenger will still throw events at various venues around the city until it reopens at the new location. The bar’s official last day is November 8, but the final blowout, with a live performance by The Cameramen, Jaleel Bunton (TV on the Radio) and some very special guest DJs, is November 7. There are plenty of happenings at Passenger to choose from between now and then (Taco Tuesday, anybody? Drink and Draw?) so drop in while you still can.