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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.

Rockit Scientist Records Packs Up Its Crates

Joe BarbosaSuzanne Rozdeba Joe Barbosa had been selling records outside of the store.

Earlier today, John Kioussis hauled a turntable and a few remaining crates of records out of an empty, darkened storefront at 33 St. Marks Place. Before locking up the narrow nook that has housed Rockit Scientist Records since 2003, he said he had closed in part because of squabbles with one of his landlords.

Mr. Kioussis let forth a litany of complaints about Amnon Kehati, a co-owner of the building (which is for sale) and of Mark Burger next-door: he had set up tables in front of his store without asking, made unreasonable complaints about garbage bags being left out, and accused the record store of attracting rats.

“The reason we have rats in the building, according to the landlord, is because I have records downstairs and rats are attracted to records,” Mr. Kioussis said as he cleared out his shop. “I wonder what scientist would tell you that Bob Dylan and Sex Pistols records attract rats as opposed to bags of tomatoes and onions all over the floor.” Read more…

The New Sidewalk Cafe is ‘Just Keeping Up With the Times’

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR. Photos: Lauren Carol Smith

After closing for renovations in March, the venerable Sidewalk Café reopened its bar yesterday. Tomorrow, its dining room reopens with the spiffy new look that you see here. Helah Kehati, who officially joined the family business in March, can be credited with some of the changes. Her father Amnon Kehati opened the “anti-folk” music fixture in 1985, the year after she was born. “I’ve been pushing him and begging him to revamp it for the last two or three years,” she said today. “I wanted a space that was cleaned up and caught up with the times. It was my dad who made the decision that if we’re going to do this, it has to be done the right way.”

That meant a complete gut renovation that might leave appreciators of shabby chic bristling. But Ms. Kehati is resolved. “I’ve seen drastic changes in the neighborhood,” she said. “The faces are different, for better or worse. You’re getting a lot of college students, younger crowds, higher rents. We’re not trying to change what we’re good at — we’re just trying to evolve with our neighborhood.” Read more…

Sidewalk and Veselka 2.0

Two late-night dining institutions are getting ready to unveil their new incarnations: Fork in the Road reports that Sidewalk Cafe, which closed for renovations in March, will reopen by mid-August with “reclaimed barn wood from upstate New York,” “housemade” potato chips, and other flourishes. Meanwhile EV Grieve notices that the long in-the-works second location of Veselka, on the Bowery, has put out chairs and is now hiring.

First Person | At the Sidewalk Café

IMG_2126Kim Davis Sidewalk Café, 94 Avenue A.

Sidewalk Café, nestled on the northeast corner of Avenue A and Sixth Street, looks like an unassuming bar with the usual dingy decor, cheap happy hour, and constant huddle of smokers at the door. But the backroom boasts a different sort of history, one filled with battered guitars, risky performances, and a tidal wave of eccentric entertainers looking to pick up a fan or two.

This East Village staple, around since the late 1980s, has long been home to an almost overwhelming roster of young musicians. The Café boasts free live music every night of the week, as well as some comedy shows, but the cost is hidden in the two drink minimum (not a problem for most attendees).
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