Kathleen Horan, Reporter, WNYC News
Kathleen Horan is a staff reporter for New York Public Radio, covering the neighborhood beat. She also reports 'Reset', an ongoing series documenting police-community relations in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
An East Village bar known for its live music, vintage jukebox and $3 dollar beers is closing for good next Monday.
The Lakeside Lounge on Avenue B will join the growing list of other recently shuttered neighborhood nightspots, like the Mars Bar and Banjo Jim's.
One of the owners, James Marshall (a.k.a. The Hound), said the decision to close and sell the bar happened after the rent neared $9,000 dollars a month. He believes the creative soul of the city is at risk when rents and gentrification win out.
“You know everything great that happened in this city culturally came out of bars. What brought New York City back wasn't Wall Street, it wasn't killing the crime or Giuliani, it was the arts,” he argued, noting that the outsiders that helped make the city distinctive have been driven out. “You just don’t get characters like that anymore — what you get is some kid with his nose buried in an iPhone.”
Veteran music booker and owner of Maxwell's in Hoboken, Todd Abramson thinks when venues like Lakeside close, it’s often because they are victims of their own success.
“Places, you know, like the Mars Bar, Lakeside, they're the pioneers in getting people to come to these areas and, as it often happens, it's like they wind up pricing themselves out," he explained.
The city is constantly remaking itself, in part due to rents and the changing tastes of what residents and visitors want to spend their money on.
But the East Village blogger known as “EV Grieve” doesn’t think the city is necessarily changing for the better. “I don’t want an $18 cocktail made with a blow-torch. I appreciated the Lakeside because you could go there and see a band like the Alabama Shakes before they blow up, or Elvis Costello might drop by. And, aside from live music, it was a low-key place you could and order an inexpensive drink”
The Lakeside Lounge is booked with live music acts throughout the week and will close on April 30. The spot is expected to become an upscale Whiskey bar when it re-opens.