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Spanky & Darla’s Reopens


Spanky & Darla’s reopened Sunday after being forced to close by the health department, according to an employee of the bar. The health department notice, which cited the bar for operating without a permit, was posted Oct. 3. The Local has left a message for the owner; we’ll let you know if we hear more about the circumstances of the closure.

Blue Owl, Early Adopter of Speakeasy Trend, Is Up For Sale

blue owlDana Varinsky

Blue Owl, which got a good deal of hype back in 2006 but has since been overshadowed by countless other haute cocktail-bar openings (the latest: Pouring Ribbons), is up for sale.

A listing indicates the bar’s liquor license and “classic speakeasy decor” is available for $195,000, with the “below market” rent costing an additional $10,700 per month. The venue is described as “perfect for jazz, piano lounge, hooka bar.”

Helen Demetrious, a broker at New York Commercial Real Estate Services, confirmed the business is for sale, but said she expects a seamless ownership transition and doesn’t anticipate that the 1,400-square-foot basement space at 196 Second Avenue will be empty at any point.

When the owner of Opaline opened Blue Owl in February 2006, the nouveau speakeasy got no small measure of attention, with its obligatory lack of signage (that changed soon enough) and its “secret” back room. Every two weeks the bar hosted Brazilian and Latin music and dance, but according to Blue Owl’s Twitter feed its last “Tropical Tuesday” was Sept. 4.

Weekend Warriors | Foursome on a Traffic Island

Introducing a new column in which we get to know the strangers who are yelling under our windows, making out on our stoops, and keeping the dream alive every Friday and Saturday night. They’re the Weekend Warriors.

wwarriorsAlexandra Reali

We met this foursome in the middle of Ninth Street and First Avenue on a recent Saturday night. Dana is from Syracuse, N.Y., Andy lives in Brooklyn, and Arezu and Yasmin were visiting from Montreal. They came to the East Village after a night out in Williamsburg, looking for a bite.

Yasmin: We were here earlier today! I’m actually not too familiar with the neighborhood; we’ve only been here during the day. Now it’s very quiet.

Andy: I like Tompkins Square Park, I like St Marks. They have shows there in the summer, the old punk scene.

Dana: West Village is nicer. I like the roads in this neighborhood.

Arezu: I think there’s more to do at night, actually, in Montreal. Places stay open later and there’s more people on the streets. I find there’s peak hours here. And then it kind of dies – like it fluctuates. In Montreal it’s a steady flow, and different types of people. There are places in Montreal that are very diversified. This particular neighborhood I think is one social group.

Andy: Everyone’s in Brooklyn now, and you gotta move.

Arezu: We were just in Brooklyn, actually. The only reason we left Brooklyn is because I’m staying here. But we would have stayed. Read more…

The Beagle Remodeling, Reopening as ‘Cocktail Den’

beagleSarah Darville Remodeling today.

Here’s one more late-August bar opening: The Beagle on Avenue A will reopen its doors in two weeks with a new look and a focus on the cocktails that Jim Meehan of PDT likes so much.

The Beagle’s cream-colored walls and tables have been replaced with dark blue paint, new blue glass doors, and booth seats. Its owners Matt Piacentini and Dan Greenbaum said their goal is to create a “cocktail den,” moving the space away from its previous status as half-bar, half-restaurant.

“We’re going for that intimate, cozy feel,” he said. “Making it somewhere where it’s a little more fun and easy to hang out.”

Mr. Piacentini said a new menu of cocktails and charcuterie would be “more approachable” but that the specifics were still in the works. One thing is certain: “There will be a lot of sherry,” he said.

State Senate Candidate Brad Hoylman On Nightlife, Landmarking, Bad Landlords, and NYU

hoylman 2Courtesy Brad Hoylman

Soon after Thomas K. Duane announced he wouldn’t run for re-election, the state senator all but endorsed Community Board 2 Chair Brad Hoylman, who has worked with him on many East Village issues. Over a plate of eggs over-easy, Mr. Hoylman told The Local the senator’s is “a huge legacy to live up to,” and that he considers it a “solemn responsibility to do so.” He also got specific on how he’ll carry the torch should he win in November, talking tenants’ rights, transgender equality and the new ideas that are at the top of his to-do list.


What parts of the Duane legacy do you plan to carry forward?


Tom’s advocacy on tenant rights is something that I feel very strongly about. I have some background myself, in the area, not only working with Senator Duane over the years in that realm, but also as a former board member of Tenants & Neighbors, the tenants rights group. And I, as Community Board 2 chair, just launched an initiative where the board will now have a tenants clinic for the first time in cooperation with MFY Legal Services: tenants who meet income level requirements in the CB 2 area will be able to come to our tenants’ clinic and get free legal representation from MFY.  So that’s the kind of tenant outreach that I want to do, and continue to do to build on Tom’s legacy.

Read more…

Sex Change On Sixth Street: Joe’s Bar Becomes Josie’s

josie'sSarah Darville Kirk Marcoe at the bar.

“It’s going from a crappy, super dive bar to a more appealing one,” said Fred Brown yesterday as he helped turn Joe’s Bar into Josie’s.

Kirk Marcoe, a new co-owner of the longstanding bar on East Sixth Street near Avenue B said it would reopen with a slightly cleaner look and a new name in mid-July. “We all appreciate a good dive bar, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have clean restrooms,” he said.

Mr. Marcoe and Rich Corton, who together also own Mona’s and Sophie’s, said they both had a special appreciation for Joe’s. They spent much of the late 1980s and ’90s playing pool there, and still live blocks away. And Mr. Brown met a woman at the bar who’s still with him 17 years later.

Mr. Marcoe’s story about a former girlfriend wasn’t quite as romantic: “She broke up with me in this bar, right over there,” he said, pointing to a spot near the front windows. Read more…

C.B. 3 Report: B-Side’s Chip Shop, Bowery Beerhaus, 9th Street Espresso’s Brewski Bid

cb meetingEdna Ishayik

Community Board 3 may have set a record last night: with 27 items on the agenda  – including Ninth Street Espresso’s bid to serve beer, a pitch for a German beer hall on the Bowery, and a Starbucks location’s attempt to win back its sidewalk seats – the board’s State Liquor Authority committee meeting ran past 2 a.m.

The main event: the owners of B-Side are hoping to open a spot at East Broadway and Clinton Street that would be “totally different” than the punk bar on Avenue B and would include a chip shop purveying “the best fish, chips and falafel you’ve ever had,” according to owner Sivan Harlap.

In an e-mail, Ms. Harlap called the new venture a “grown-up version of B-side,” explaining that “there are things I am interested in now that I wasn’t that all interested in when I was 22 – craft beers, cocktails, thoughtful food, this new place will reflect those new interests.”

Speakers lined up to argue in favor and against the new watering hole that would be catty-corner to the Seward Park Cooperative. Some neighbors said they looked forward to having a place to grab a drink or a bite in an area that isn’t laden with bars and restaurants. But opponents, some of whom were concerned about loud noise, had collected over 600 signatures, partially through churches and schools nearby. Read more…

Gin Palace Opens Tonight, Bringing a Splash of Steampunk to Ave A

Photos: Suzanne Rozdeba

Local nightlife impresario Ravi DeRossi’s latest venture is a Victorian and Steampunk-themed bar, and it’s set to open at 6 p.m. tonight.

“It’s a fusion of sci-fi, fantasy, and Victorian times,” said Mr. DeRossi, who also owns nearby Death & Co. and The Bourgeois Pig. “We wanted to give it a grittier edge.”

Patrons enter the bar through a door decorated with golden wings; inside the dark space, there’s a ceiling mural by artist David Nordine, who also painted the bar’s exterior. A metal cage stands in the middle of the front room, mosaic murals tile the floors, and clocks, museum replica pieces, and clock parts cover the back room’s walls. Around the bar hang handmade sconces by Steampunk artist Art Donovan. Read more…

Just in Time for Memorial Day Booze Runs, Alphabet City Beer Co.

When we first brought word of Alphabet City Beer Co. in December, it was an empty storefront. Last Thursday, the bar-and-beer-shop hybrid opened its doors and its taps. Helmed by David Hitchner (co-owner of In Vino, Alphabet City Wine Co.) and Zach Mack (a writer who has worked at tech start-ups) it’ll serve far-east guzzlers and gourmands who don’t feel like schlepping over to Good Beer to refill their growlers. In addition to coolers stocked with takeout bottles and cans from around the world, there’s a bar serving about a dozen beers on draft (expect the recently launched Alphabet City Brewing Co. to make appearances) and a grocery section carrying cured meats and cheeses picked out by Martin Johnson, an East Villager who writes the Joy of Cheese blog and also knows a thing or two about jazz.

The new shop expects to host beer tastings on a weekly basis. Sixpoint Brewery recently visited, and Louisiana’s Abita Brewery will follow up with an event next week. Watch The Local’s video for a look inside.

Alphabet City Beer Co., 96 Avenue C, near East Seventh Street; (646) 422-7103

Party People | Liam Wager, Bar Manager

We’ve heard from the DJ, the musician, and the drag queen. Today: meet Liam Wager, a bar manager at Sidewalk Cafe. He’s one of the people who keep the East Village popping.

On 13th, Another Spot for Hookahs and Hummus

Sahara CitiPhilip Ross
Sahara Citi 3Philip Ross

Aziza isn’t the only new hookah lounge in the neighborhood. Sahara Citi opened on 13th Street earlier this month. The restaurant sells about 30 flavors of tobacco and Mediterranean cuisine (see menu below). An inspirational message on the wall reads, “It is what it is…but it will become what you make it,” which might well be a reference to the casual ambiance and modest decor. Another small sign reads: “Wine me up and watch me go!” Unfortunately, despite a last-minute blessing from the community board, Saraha Citi’s beer-and-wine license is still pending, so alcohol won’t be served for at least another month. See the menu…

Party People | Linda Simpson, Drag Queen

We’ve introduced you to the DJ and the musician. Know who else keeps the East Village popping? Linda Simpson, the self-declared “multimedia drag queen artiste” who with fellow legend Murray Hill hosts Monday Night Bingo at the Bowery Poetry Club. She tells The Local what it was like living in the East Village when it was the epicenter of New York City’s drag scene and clues us into some of her current favorite places to walk on the wild side.

Party People | On Ka’a Davis, Musician

They’re the people that keep the East Village popping: yesterday we introduced you to the DJ. Today, meet the musician. On Ka’a Davis, a former squatter, discusses changes in the music and art scene over the three decades he has lived in the East Village.

Party People | Jon Oliver, DJ

Last week we clued you into the “I Love Vinyl” parties. Today, meet one of the DJs behind the parties, Jon Oliver, also the host of “The Main Ingredient,” Tuesdays from midnight to 2 a.m. on East Village Radio. This video kicks off a week-long tribute to the neighborhood’s Party People: the DJs, bartenders, waitresses, musicians, and drag queens who keep the East Village popping.

‘I Love Vinyl’ Parties Keep the Groove Alive

The East Village lost one record store this month and is losing another, but several remain. The Local visited a couple of them, A-1 Records and Turntable Lab, to talk to DJs from the spin-centric “I Love Vinyl” party, which celebrates its third anniversary at Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village on May 26. Watch the video to hear why vinyl will never die.

New Hookah Lounge Bubbles Up on First Avenue

photo(185)Daniel Maurer

The former home of Dana Falafel Shawarma Deli will be offering falafel again – and flavored tobacco, as well. In the next weeks, a hookah lounge will open in the modest storefront at 45 First Avenue, near Third Street.

Stu El-Boghdedy, the manager of the forthcoming Aziza (a girl’s name meaning “beloved” in Arabic) gave The Local a sneak peek into the 35-seat lounge decorated with Moroccan lanterns, fabrics and poufs. In addition to Egyptian water pipes, he said, he’ll be serving light appetizers such as hummus, falafel, grape leaves, and eggplant salad as well as non-alcoholic drinks such as Turkish coffee, mint tea served in ornate teapots, and salep, a sweet, hot milk drink.

Mr. El-Boghdedy said hookahs would go from $12 to $35 or $40, which raised the question: why are water pipes at the East Village’s numerous smoke dens so expensive, anyway? Read more…

Firefighters Crash Party at Bishops and Barons

UntitledRay LeMoine

Bishops and Barons has literally rolled out the red carpet for an exclusive preview party this evening, but firefighters, despite their lack of “ambassador” credentials, had no problem getting into the new nightspot.

Around 6 p.m., smoke from the lounge’s kitchen brought red engines to 14th Street near Second Avenue. Fortunately, there was no serious fire. And the place can now claim to be a hotspot from day one.

Susan Kirschbaum, Author of ‘Who Town,’ on the Downtown Scene

Zac Posen and Susan Kirschbaum at Zac's holiday party at Mr H at the Mondrian hotel. GAVIN DOYLE_1500_0_resize_90Gavin Doyle Zac Posen and Susan Kirshbaum

Tonight at 6 p.m. at the Bowery Poetry Club, Susan Kirschbaum will read from her debut novel, “Who Town.” The book is drawn from Ms. Kirschbaum’s experiences over the past 15 or so years in New York: after moving from a middle-class Philadelphia suburb, she covered the downtown scene for The Times, The New York Observer, The Huffington Post and others. Now in her late 30s, Ms. Kirschbaum is the rare reporter who became part of her stories, dating band members and artists and hanging out with the crowd she was supposed to cover. She told The Local about her downtown-centric writing life, and how Candace Bushnell, the author of “Sex and the City,” started it all.


When you came to New York, what was the Lower East Side and East Village scene like?


I got to New York in the late ’90s, when the Beahver parties were raging at Don Hills and junkies still roamed Alphabet City. A lot of young artists still lived in the East Village and bars like 7A and 2A raged late at night. I also remember going to poetry slams in Tompkins Square Park. Read more…

At New Nightspot, Ambassadorship Has Its Privileges

Bishops & Barons exteriorDaniel Maurer

A quirky “ambassador” program that failed because its cool members weren’t cool enough for the Chelsea nightclub they were representing will be implemented in a new bar on East 14th Street.

The owner of Bishops & Barons, which is celebrating its opening tonight in the old Hype Lounge space, expects that his roughly 150 ambassadors will invite their friends to the restaurant and cocktail lounge that evokes the days of “showgirls, movie star gangsters and supper clubs,” according to a press release.

“It’s all about creating a foundation for the place,” said owner Danny Kane of his ambassadors. “That way, when people walk in it’s not empty and there’s energy.” Read more…

At Bar on A, a Familiar Scenario of Neighbor Versus Nightlife

Bar On ADaniel Maurer The bar at 170 Avenue A.

Once again, it’s neighbor versus nightlife: Bar on A is locked in a battle of wills with an upstairs tenant who has frequently complained to city authorities about what she says is “extreme noise.”

However, a person associated with the 17-year-old watering hole, which opened around the same time as the recently shuttered Lakeside Lounge, blames the neighbor for incessant complaints which he says have cost the establishment tens of thousands of dollars in revenue and even resulted in a police raid.

Mitch, an associate of Bar on A who did not want to be identified by his last name owing to the bar’s delicate situation, blamed the present conflict on “this nuisance neighbor who’s abusing the 311 system and recruiting people like a vigilante to hang us and hang everybody else in the neighborhood.” Read more…