Five Brooklyn nightclub owners have joined forces to take over the Galapagos Art Space this week, announcing big plans to change the quirky Williamsburg club as little as possible.
The entertainment impresarios, who together own seven bars, clubs, lounges and concert spaces that stretch from Bay Ridge to Greenpoint, want to maintain business as usual at the North Sixth Street venue.
“This place has got a lot of soul and that’s why we’re going to keep it the same,” said new owner Mikey Palms, a regular who planned his first venture — Park Slope’s Southpaw — over cold beers on a Galapagos barstool. “There are fundamentals here that we’re not going to change.”
That means that the venue will remain small, the bar reasonably priced, and the booking a smorgasbord of indie artists.
Even the club’s tentative new name — Natural Selection — pays a Darwinian homage to Galapagos, which will relocate to Main Street in DUMBO this summer in a true game of musical chairs.
But some things about Galapagos need to evolve.
The new owners are planning an extensive audio upgrade with new boards, amps, speakers and subs. They also want to make sure that the venue doesn’t lose its bond with the neighborhood.
“This venue was a cultural and artistic center driven by live music,” said new owner Ted Mann, who also runs the Boerum Hill bars Camp and Apartment 138, the South Slope watering hole Bar 4, the Greenpoint pub Matchless, and the Bay Ridge bistro Cebu. “Over the past few years, Galapagos lost a little bit of its neighborhood feel. That’s something we’re going to work hard to bring back.”
In order to make sure that the mayonnaise factory-turned-music venue remains committed to the community, the new owners plan on fine-tuning booking, throwing secret shows, and hosting after-parties for the popular McCarren Park summer concert series (catch Wilco on Aug. 13, by the way).
“We opened local bars and turned out with destinations,” Mann said.
“Galapagos already is a destination. We’re going to do everything we can to keep it that way and make it better.”