The Williamsburg music scene is one step closer to being totally trashed.
Trash Bar, the storied music venue, dive bar, and occasional church, will close in March because the building owner is reluctant to renew the bar’s lease, and would want as much four times the current rent if a new one is in the offing, according to the bar’s booking agent. The bar’s owner said the closing will be bittersweet for him, as the wave of gentrification that has swept the neighborhood has not been all bad.
“While these days the increasing rental rates are a well-known force to be reckoned with, the neighborhood’s evolution has been exciting to watch and has, in many ways, been great both for business and for the nabe’s energy and action,” Aaron Pierce said.
The bar has served since 2006 as a live-music sanctuary with a busy stage, and bills itself as “the cheapest place to drink in Williamsburg,” offering a Pabst Blue Ribbon and a whiskey for $5, and tater tots to soak up all the booze.
A musician, speaking about the venue in the past tense, said it was one of the few places left in Brooklyn where bands could still get crazy.
“It was a place where people would let their guard down, and you do not see that in New York City too much anymore,” said Allison Clancy, who plays with the bands Huff This! and Loving You. “There is a raw and wild feeling there that is getting scarce.”
Loving You will play at Trash Bar on Feb. 3, and Clancy said she is grateful to be able to hit the stage before it closes.
The bar is also home to the Sunday night services of the North Brooklyn Vineyard Church. Its pastor said he is devastated to hear the place is going the way of the dodo who moved to Williamsburg in the mid-aughts.
“I feel sad because it is happening not only to Trash Bar but a lot of bars and business owners in the neighborhood who are getting priced out,” Pastor Michael Turrigiano said. “For us, it is the end of an era.”
The live music landscape of Williamsburg has been ravaged during recent months, with 285 Kent, Death by Audio, and Glasslands closing to make way for Vice Media’s expansion — Glasslands’ final blowout is tonight — and Spike Hill shuttering suddenly.
Pierce said he plans to look for a new location, probably in the direction of Bushwick, following the migration of the artists and musicians who made Williamsburg the place to be back when.
“We intend to continue doing what we do best by following the flow of creativity as it is pushed ever further east, and providing a venue that allows artists and revelers of all stripes, and from all corners, to feel comfortable and catered to,” he said.