Heavy Metal fans down in Park Slope have been finding sanctuary and an ice cold beer at a bar known as the Lucky 13 Saloon for over a decade now, and very recently proprietors Melody Henry and Jeff Blanchard had unveiled some really big news. After eleven years in business on 13th Street and 5th Avenue, the bar would be relocating and more importantly – expanding at a new location.
Now I’ll get to more on that in a moment, but first I wanted to share some images from the original bar just in case you had not yet ventured through its dark doors. Of course if this is the case for you, the time to do so is growing short so you better act fast, and make sure you bring cash since that is all they take.
As you can see there are a lot of cool little decorations around the bar so one can only hope that most of it makes the trek over to the new space. Oh and don’t worry, the lovely Allison will be at the new bar as well to serve you whatever beverage makes you smile the most.
Now let’s get down to the reason for this narrative and that is to celebrate the relocation and the rebuilding from the ground up. Take a look at this photograph that Melody provided PiercingMetal with from the new location down on Sackett Street right off Fourth Avenue.
As you can see there is NOTHING here but barren, empty space. So I decided to pay a visit to the new location a couple of weeks ago to see how the progress was coming along. I felt it would be similar to the writing I did when the new Stage 48 Venue was preparing to open its doors but be a little more of the “we are still in construction mode” than what you saw on that article. I also posed several questions to Melody about the relocation and the rationale behind it along with some things patrons can expect from it. Here we go.
PiercingMetal: So L13 is moving after just over a decade. Is it bittersweet for you? What necessitated the thoughts of a move. (perhaps bring up the new area as well).
Melody: It is bittersweet because I love the feel of the old place, it’s like home. But around 5 or maybe 6 years ago they built these overpriced condos across the street where there used to be a Salvation Army that homeless people slept in front of and now it’s people who really don’t understand that this is our business, this is our livelihood. They call 311 &/or the police a lot and we’ve tried everything to keep the noise down, we stopped having bands play, we built a wall over the inside of the windows to keep the noise inside, etc. but there’s only so many times we can tell our customers to keep it down in front of the place; drunk people are kind of loud. I think we’ve just outgrown the space and maybe park slope in general, we just can’t do what we want in there so it was time to move on. Also the rent went up substantially and is just not affordable to sustain a metal bar where most people drink cheap cans of PBR and all the calls to 311 usually result in us getting hit by various city depts with large fines.
PiercingMetal: Let’s talk about the new space. You mentioned this was a garage so that means everything inside, and I mean everything – had to be assembled from top to bottom.
Melody: Yes it was a garage so there was literally nothing in there… Not even a line for a phone. A lot of plumbing work needed to be done to create two bathrooms and all the backbar stuff, the hvac system we put in cost 20K alone, every wall in there now, the bar, everything had to be built from scratch and all new equipment for the bar itself. Fortunately there is a restaurant equipment repair place right across the street so we were able to buy pretty much everything used either from them or by doing lots of searches on craigslist for anything else we needed.
PiercingMetal: How excited are you to expand and revamp “Lucky 13” for your patrons? Also, you’ve mentioned that the bar will retain its decade long monicker as well. Was there ever a consideration about rebranding the place?
Melody: I’m pretty excited but of course also nervous, this is a big step for us. We see no reason to change the name as we have built up this great reputation in the metal community and I just want to continue to foster and grow that in the coming years.
PiercingMetal: The front space is looking sweet and rather roomy. What intrigues me is the rear area because that has a stage. Dish on that please. What kind of stuff can we look forward to happening there and will you be presenting any local talent, or will this just showcase any interested nationals, or even those who are in town from other parts of the world.
Melody: Well we used to have local bands at the old Lucky 13 on 13th street and sometimes national and even international acts played in there which was crazy. Craziest show ever might have been Waking the Cadaver, we also had a japanese band play and Cerebral Bore from Scotland. Suicide City was probably the biggest band to play in the old space. I want to continue where we left off, showcasing local bands and still having some free shows and then starting to see how we can build on that and get bigger bands, I’m open to anything, we are just going to go with the flow. The back room isn’t that big so I’m not sure what kind of bands will come that way but it certainly is big enough for bigger bands that want to do more intimate shows. I can’t wait for that!
PiercingMetal: If you didn’t answer this already. What will be provided for the bands as a part of their performing, meaning what is the backline going to feature and what do they need.
Melody: I actually can’t answer that question yet because we are still working that out, as you know, we just ran out of money for that kind of stuff, hence the kickstarter campaign.
I waited about a week and a half or so before returning to get some more progress photos and these can be seen below. As you might notice there have been some amazing strides, especially when you review the first photo that shows this as an empty garage.
PiercingMetal: How difficult has the process been? Any harrowing tales about building from the ground up.
Melody: Finding out the electrical was grounded on the water line the hard way, flooded not just our little basement but the grates on the block literally had water almost to the top. I believe con Edison is still trying to fix that mess, we had no power for a few days right in the middle of important things we needed to get completed.
PiercingMetal: When do you foresee the opening day and tell us how interested folks can help it along. Bring a broom and we’ll give you a beer?
Melody: We were hoping to open mid august but because we have run out of money it’s hard to get the last few things we need to get done completed. Some important electrical work and some sound equipment, lighting equipment and a jukebox are all things we still need some money for. Honestly everything else is done so throwing a little cash in our Kickstarter is really the only thing that can help us out at this point unfortunately. We don’t have much time left either as we have to pay rent on the new space starting in a couple of weeks. On the Kickstarter you can also see some photos and a couple of little progress report videos I made, the URL is https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1685836827/lucky-13-saloon-live
PiercingMetal: Tell me some more of the highlights that the new space will offer, the food, the ambience, the credit cards LOL, maybe even free WiFi for the geeks who cannot let go of their phones?
Melody: In addition to bands which I’m hoping we will have on a more and more regular basis, we will also be expanding our long-standing Monday night burlesque show since there will be a real stage. As far as food, we’ll actually have personal pizzas available and for the first time ever WILL be accepting credit cards. Maybe not in the very beginning but it’s definitely on the horizon.
PiercingMetal: With shows happening hopefully on a regular basis, you will likely be a closer proximity version to some of St. Vitus Bar or are the shows planned on being special occasions only kinds of things.
Melody: I think probably in the beginning we won’t have as many shows but as we get it all figured out and start to work with some promoters it will definitely become a more regular thing.
PiercingMetal: Do you forsee hosting record label events and listening functions at the new bar?
Melody: Absolutely. I’m definitely open to anything that fosters the metal community.
PiercingMetal: I think the question on many peoples minds who have visited the original Lucky 13 is will the dancers pole be a part of the new location.
Melody: Absolutely. 🙂 Jeff was not 100% for it but I think it’s become a part of what makes us us, our little spin on things so to speak. I want the new lucky 13 to feel as much like the old lucky 13 as possible!
So there you have it fellow Metal heads, the rest is up to you and your interest in seeing the new Lucky 13 come to big and louder than hell life. With a Kickstarter in progress, every dollar makes a difference and the goal is so close you can almost hear your ears ringing from the Metal that is going to be blasting from the jukebox. Click the Kickstarter Campaign HERE to make a difference.
Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/Lucky13Saloon