Already mourning the loss of the Palisades? Well don’t worry, because everything that’s wonderful is probably going to close down at some point anyway (sorry, sometimes NYC real estate pessimism gets the best of us).
But for now, we’ve got a new one on deck: the Footlight Bar has opened its doors in Ridgewood in order to fill the rock ‘n’ roll-shaped hole in your heart. And with the long-awaited addition of a full liquor-service tonight, the venue will be celebrating with a packed lineup and a pop-up kitchen from I Like Food, a venture helmed by Chef Fernando Strohmeyer (he’s done similar foody one-offs at Dromedary Bar and The Starliner). If you thought music and food were enough, think again– Footlight’s also gearing up for fitness classes.
Although the bar and events space officially opened its doors July 22, owner Laura Regan said the long-awaited addition of liquor will allow them to serve some specialty cocktails, created and mixed by the capable hands of bar manager Steven Ploe. In addition to serving creations like the Gin Lizzy (Dorothy Parker gin, Campari, and lemon) or the Jumpin’ Jack Flash (whiskey over ice with a Down East Cider float and a splash of bitters), Ploe will be focusing on suds from local breweries.
Tonight will mark the first collaboration with Strohmeyer, whose menu channels “a Puerto Rican twist on [American] standards, like pulled pork sloppy Joes,” Regan told us. “He has this bourbon-brown-butter rice-krispy treat that changed my life,” she added with a laugh.
Chef Fernando, as he’s called, will set up shop on one of the venue’s two hardwood stages, and be serving up food for the entire weekend. Even when Chef Fernando isn’t around the bar will have snacks from Mama’s Empanadas (made in Corona, Queens) as well as free freshly-made popcorn from an old-timey popcorn machine. Liquid dinner and corn kernel pickins, here we come!
The Footlight Bar has taken over the space from former tenant Equinoxio, and benefited greatly from the former bar’s aesthetic, with an art-deco style bar, hardwood floors, and delicate tiles adorning one of the walls.
Tonight’s lineup features five bands, including The Johannas, Sister Helen, and Devon Goods. For Regan, showcasing local and emerging bands was one of the main drives behind opening Footlight. Just five bones will get you through the door, and the show starts at 7:30 pm.
“So many venues have been forced to shutter their doors in the last couple of years, so we’re just tryng to fill that void for emerging new artists,” she said. “You have to have a place to play when you’re starting out.”
But the Footlight plans to expand beyond music. Starting on Monday, the venue will be hosting the NYC Talent Show, which was held at the Bowery Poetry Club until 2012. “When the Bowery Poetry Club closed, it felt like a whole group of freaks and weirdos were just displaced, so we’re really excited to welcome them here, because I’m also one of those freaks and weirdos,” Regan said with a laugh. The free show will now be held every Monday at the venue.
But there’s more!
“We’ll be having a fitness class starting at the end of August,” Regan revealed. Say what? Every Wednesday and Saturday there will be a Pound fitness class, which is “a really cool, very intense percussion-centered fitness class.” In addition to that, Regan hopes that they will be able to start using the space to offer yoga classes as well.
“We could also rent out to dancers and theaters that need rehearsal space,” she mused. “We have that big empty back room during the day, so we want to welcome artists to use it.”
Footlight Bar, 465 Seneca Avenue at Harman Street, Ridgewood. Open 12 pm to 2 am, every day.