Both touring bands and local music fans (aka members of an aloof subculture that you wouldn’t understand) have probably felt a shifting tide. Over the summer, a huge wave of closings washed into Bushwick, sweeping away DIY spots like Palisades then Aviv while making its way through Greenpoint. When it finally crashed into downtown, it showed no mercy to even longtime establishments like The Stone (which plans to close in February of next year), and Cake Shop, with its perfectly legal bar and ten-year lease. Meanwhile, Market Hotel is treading water after cops conducted a “gotcha” raid in October. It might seem like from here on out the only alternatives (start going to Terminal 5? move to New Jersey?) are pretty grim, but at least one still-standing Brooklyn establishment is taking advantage of the vacuum to reimagine themselves as a venue.
For the last couple months, the free Monday night show Broken Comedy – in the dark and dingy back room at Bar Matchless in Greenpoint – has really been hitting its stride. Lately in particular, Broken has drawn solid crowds with consistently strong talent. That’s impressive as the show (which was created in 2011) has been re-upping with the absence of favored host Michael Che.
“Beautiful” is not the first word that comes to mind when you step into the back room at Bar Matchless. But that’s how comic Nimesh Patel affectionately describes the dark, brick and concrete space that houses a small stage with the lonely bones of a drum kit and a couple guitar amps sitting silently on top. As host of the free Monday night show Broken Comedy, Nimesh tirelessly works the room every week.