In the almost two months since Brooklyn Bazaar announced that it would close, the venue’s fans had one wild opportunity after another for a blowout farewell. After surviving two previous closures and moving into the Polonaise Terrace catering hall in 2016, the former night market had evolved into a proper music venue— and one that won’t soon be forgotten. We hit up some of its final shows before it closed for good last Saturday.
The Ergs! have been playing a series of shows for the 15th Anniversary of their album dorkrockcorkrod and the huge crowd that came out for them showed the Bazaar’s reach beyond Brooklyn hipsters. “We played a lot of those Brooklyn venues that are gone, like Don Pedro’s or Tommy’s Tavern when they had music,” lead singer Joe Keller told us. “I was here recently at another show with Weird Skin. Sucks this place has to close.”
The next weekend, New York Night Train’s Jonathan Toubin threw his last Dance Off party at Brooklyn Bazaar, which he’d been hosting with DJ duo Soul Clap. “I’ve thrown this party at every closed Brooklyn venue we can name right now— including the original Market Hotel, plus Enid’s, Motor City Bar and Glasslands. We love this place but, ya know, on to the next one.”
Brooklyn natives The So So Glos headlined last Friday’s show with Wild Yaks, Knucklehead and CumGirl8. It was a true family reunion; the band had played the wedding of co-owner Belvy Klein along with his godmother Debbie Harry. “It was amazing,” guitarist Ryan Levine told us. “We played ‘Heart of Glass’ and four other songs, it was a real set.”
On stage, second guitarist and former Shea Stadium co-owner Adam Reich wore his defunct venue’s t-shirt to remind the audience about its 2016 closure. The reference was not lost on fans who threw themselves like it was the end of their world— all over again.
Klein, who also runs Riis Park Beach Bazaar and was a longtime member of NYC punkers D Generation, took the stage for a secret encore that fit the show to a T. Afterwards he spoke to us about the bigger family he had with his venue’s staff. “It’s so hard to find people you can trust and it’s so easy to take advantage of an owner in a place like this. I’ve had people with me from the last Bazaar that stayed with me and I can’t tell ya how great that is.”
Brooklyn Bazaar’s final night was a sold-out punk paradise with house favorites Hank and the Hammerheads, Warthog, Subversive Rite and Dollhouse. Many early arrivals waited in the long line up the stairs while others grabbed food from vendor Hungry Bessie and killed time in the basement bar that was once a mortuary, according to general manager Brandon Kirshner. “It’s probably haunted, I’ve actually had people tell me they’ve seen ghosts down there.”
The ensuing cauldron of punk got a little too crazy for its own good, as someone shot off a fire extinguisher and there was a ton of graffiti. But the music itself was perfect, much to the credit of sound woman Laynie Bell who mixed so well that she never had to soundcheck the bands.
Klein tried to take the damage in stride and his staff really did cheer him up with hugs and genuine thanks. “I love listening to music, I love playing music,” he later told us. “That’s why this place is awesome.”