The Rosemont, the new one from Aaron Pierce of bygone Trash Bar, has soft-opened in anticipation of a grand opening in May. For those who remember the Trash Bar (however fondly), The Rosemont (a play on its Montrose Street location) is more than a distinctive step up—it’s really nice, by any standards: gorgeous banquettes, a lovely bar with chic padded barstools, an inviting outdoor courtyard, and spiffy bathrooms. The venue still has live music, but the narrow stage in back will cater to jazz rather than drunken rock, and the specialties behind the bar tend towards bespoke cocktails that have more ingredients than “PBR and a shot.” (Try the ‘69 Camaro, a nice turn on an Old Fashioned.)
Pierce, a former musician who tended bar at the Abbey in his pre-law-school days, has a warm reputation for giving artists gainful employment—Slothrust’s Leah Wellbaum used to book bands at Trash—and the soft opening was attended by former Trash bartenders such as Maurice Johnson, singer of Honor Among Thieves, and Matthew D’Abate, impresario of Literary Sunday.
While Pierce is now 15 years older than when he opened Trash, so are many of his regulars, and it’s fair to guess that many of them will like his new joint. (Full disclosure: Pierce hosted my book launch featuring DJ Questlove.) We caught up with Pierce to check in about the Rosemont as well as his open a space in the McKibbin Lofts along with Lit co-owners Eric Foss and David Schwartz and Rafik Video owner Mindy Wyatt.
Hahaha. Yeah. My lifestyle and priorities have changed a bit since building and opening The Trash Bar at 26. This new space was just as fun to build out 15 years later. It’s always a very creative and exciting process. I guess you could say I still have a rock & roll heart, but with more of a jazz vibe these days. This place is certainly more relaxing but it’s still all about the music.
Our wine and food programs are being continually assessed and re-developed. Programming development and branding will of course be an ongoing challenge, but these mission orders are extremely time-intensive on the front end. Also, continually reaching out to the wonderfully diverse and very cool community allows us to really tailor our business model to the needs and desires of the local residents.
You got a lot of coverage on the community board’s objections to the new venue because of the history of the Trash Bar. How did that turn around? Are the teachers at PS 250 on board?
The teachers at PS 250 and the folks over at the Lindsay Park Housing Cooperative love us. They’re very supportive and enjoy having a nice place in the area in which to come by for a drink, a bite, the outdoor garden, and maybe a bit of jazz. Can’t blame them. It is quite nice. CB 1 has a responsibility to the local community and I get that. They’re job is important, and even essential, to maintaining a good quality of life in up-and-coming NYC neighborhoods. That said, I’ve always felt that, in this instance, they were steered away from approving my business plans by a small group of concerned neighborhood residents who were largely reacting to the noise and disturbances that emanated from our address in its previous configuration.
Their complaints were never leveled at me or my previous businesses, but instead based on issues that occurred prior to my arrival. Regardless, we’ve worked through things and the neighborhood is really excited about our presence.
The Currant Cafe is already open. What can you tell us about updates to the new Lit at McKibbin? And can you give us any more information about the mysterious “third” space in the building, the Shaft?
The Currant Cafe is doing very well and also has a great team behind it. Excellent place to grab a local bite and good coffee. The lounge we’re building out under it is well underway and is very cool. I really think it’ll be a destination spot on the short list of many nightlife lovers.
Gothamist said, “If using a freshly baked croissant to blot the blood streaming from your coke-ravaged septum isn’t the very definition of the New Bushwick, nothing is.” Care to comment? What can we expect from that new joint when it opens?
Hahaha. Kudos to that writer’s creative mind and talented poetic meter. That entire article was hilarious from title to closing. Not much truth to it, but definitely good for a laugh. Nothing draws the eyes to a tabloid piece like the bold use of the word “Terrifying.” We’re still tinkering with the name. Regardless, the McKibbin St. lounge is going to be really nice, and really fun.
The Rosemont, 63 Montrose Ave., bet. Lorimer and Leonard Sts., Bushwick.