Tilt, the basement bar and club underneath the McKibbin Lofts not to be confused with nearby arcade sports bar Tiltz, is about to get a whole lot gayer. The bar, which co-owners of the legendary Lit Lounge opened in December 2016 with The Trash Bar’s Aaron Pierce, is about to re-open as The Vault, a gay bar helmed by a team who are no strangers to queer Brooklyn nightlife.
The trio of owners—Meg Cavanagh, Cameron Cole, and Josh Luis—met through their various involvements (“bartending and DJing and working for drag queens”) in Brooklyn’s thriving LGBTQ nightlife scene, primarily at the now-closed Williamsburg space This N’ That. Cavanagh explains Tilt’s owners reached out to some of their friends about how to go about transforming the space into a gay bar, and their friends referred the trio to Tilt. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened; East Williamsburg bar The Rosemont went from a jazz club to a queer space filled with drag shows back in 2017. “It’s always easier to start a space that has some kind of beginnings to it than to start from scratch,” Cavanagh adds.
People crowd into the rear area of a Bushwick bar. They’re hooting and hollering, throwing dollar bills into the air as a drag queen named Ruby Fox, with long hair and an outfit reminiscent of an underground fetish party, lip syncs and launches into a back handspring. Where a kitchen once sizzled, a DJ now spins. Nowadays, this is just an average Wednesday night at The Rosemont, a newer project from Trash Bar’s Aaron Pierce that initially opened in Bushwick last May. Rather than carrying on the wild spirit of Trash, The Rosemont was poised to be more mature, a jazz club slinging bespoke cocktails and small plates. But recently they brought on someone new, switching saxophones for death drops.
Hopeful as Pierce was for this new, classier direction, seven days a week of jazz didn’t prove entirely fruitful. Enter Troy Carson, previously known for opening Williamsburg gay bars Metropolitan and Sugarland and managing East Village spots Nowhere Bar and Phoenix, who now serves as The Rosemont’s general manager. More →
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the East Village in the 90s? Junkies passed out on Avenue A while runaway kids hung out in squats on St. Marks? CBGB and other classic punk bars still going hard, only to be priced out of their leases less than a decade later? Punk heads and artists sharing studios in derelict tenements? For Tim Murphy, the New York-based journalist and author of the new novel Christodora, it was all of these things, but above all it was the home for a community of diverse people from different backgrounds, sexual orientations, and experiences who were searching for a place that would accept them just as they are.
As a young man who arrived to the city in 1991, the East Village represented a haven for an alternative gay scene that was way less polished and more grungy than the one in Chelsea and the West Village. “Courtney Love was the patron saint of the gay East Village in the ’90s,” Murphy told us with a laugh.
The Cock has moved its trademark neon rooster up a few blocks and it’s now glowing/crowing atop the former home of Lit Lounge. After going tworounds in what might be called a cockfight with Community Board 3, it looks like the gay bar and East Village institution has emerged with its feathers unruffled. Last night, the Oh, Fuck You Honey party was in full swing in the basement, which looks pretty much exactly like it did before Lit closed in July, with the notable addition of some gogo dancers, a shirtless bartender, and some red light bulbs strung up on the ceiling.
The State Liquor Authority Committee at Community Board 3 convened yesterday evening (Photo: Nicole Disser)
Members of Community Board 3 tried to block The Cock from moving to the former Lit Lounge space at a meeting last night. But Allan Mannarelli, owner of the gay dive, is going forward with his plans despite outcry from neighbors.
“If they think I’m going to stand and get abused they have another thing coming,” Mannarelli had texted us before going before CB 3’s SLA committee. More →
Michael Alig’s Lower East Side art show has been replaced by a gelato pop-up, but rest assured the King of the Club Kids is still making the scene. He’s returning to nightlife (if a talk show can be considered nightlife) and moving his web series, “The Pee-ew,” to Lovegun, a gay bar in East Williamsburg. No, there won’t be any ecstasy punch going around, but, starting Aug. 22 and continuing weekly, there will be an open bar at 7:30 p.m., right before the 8 p.m. taping of five episodes of their show.
Mom sold the Nintendo 64 for $25 back in 2005 and that was the end of that. If your classic video game console met a similar fate at a stoop sale or a Goodwill donation, here a couple of chances to re-up on nostalgia.
Entertainment group Sexy Nerds is having its latest Retro Video Game Night next Saturday at Nevada Smiths at 100 3rd Avenue. Fellow East Village nerds from Video Games New York on East 6th Street provide the discontinued video game consoles and games, and you provide the carpal tunnel syndrome. More →