Back in April we had shared the at the time breaking news about Webster Hall being acquired by the folks who run Barclays Center and AEG Presents and if you missed that post please click HERE to be fully up on the story. It was a revelation that surely shocked the masses but not long after the announcement, it was pretty much steady as she goes and music loving folks just kept heading to the venues inside the building for the diverse variety of entertainment programming being offered. Those outside of NYC might not know that there were “3” distinct clubs making up Webster Hall with the massive Grand Ballroom, the midsize Marlin Room at Webster Hall and the intimate Studio at Webster Hall. As a patron and a scribe I’ve been to all three venues on numerous occasions but have to say that the kinds of shows I’ve been reporting on have generally been relegated to the two smaller sized rooms instead of the larger main space. So the curiosity in the back of many NYC patrons was when will the new ownership begin to show its presence and what will get done to the place as we know it and that stuff started making the rounds yesterday but I wanted to do some checking first before blindly sharing. The venues pending closure was addressed on social media by the General Manager Gerard McNamee with this statement:
Ladies and Gentlemen/Friends and Family: Sad but true, the legendary and world-famous Webster Hall has been sold and will close as we know it for its final club night on Saturday August 5th, 2017, which just so happens to be my birthday, which is certainly somehow apropos. It will be closed for an undisclosed period of time for demo, reno and transition to corporate ownership under Barclays/AEG/Bowery Presents. I highly recommend that you all stop by before the end of this era to pay your respects to the Ballingers and the building for providing us with a lifetimes worth of memories. There are only 12 club nights left. Please come celebrate our rich 25 year history of being the biggest, baddest and longest running nightclub in the history of New York City.
PiercingMetal Thoughts: So there you have it. The first week and a half in August will be the last time that you will be able to enter the Webster Hall that you know it as at the moment and take in all of its gritty NYC history. I should make note that live performances are still listed past these club night gigs and I am planning on being at the one on 8/6 myself. One has to wonder if the winning of the 2017 Pollstar Award for “Nightclub Of The Year” led to the purchase of the establishment by AEG Presents because such a win could make any upper echelon investor scratch their chin as thoughts of “$$$” danced through their heads. By the way I toasted the award win on THIS POST in case you’d like to see it. Now we all know the building is considered a NYC Landmark but what does that entail when it comes to a renovation. According to research the landmark status prevents the building from being demolished but what of the inside of the place. I’ve heard rumblings from people in the know that plans are to add an elevator which I think is actually a great idea since some of the stairwells inside the place are precarious and steep. As I’ve grown older I’m less tolerant of a drunk concert goer bounding down a stairwell in their quest to be anywhere else that’s for sure. Another thing I’ve heard was that there is interest in putting several food stations around the venue and knowing its geography as I do, I cannot imagine this stuff going up in the main event space because that will take up standing room needed for a high ticket dollar patron. I imagine that this sort of thing will instead be taking over areas that were used by The Studio and The Marlin Room. Change is most certainly coming and one only needs to look at the now empty lot across the street from the venue where once stood “5” apartment buildings. These were purchased by a developer who promptly tore them down and in their place will be what has been reported to be “a hotel with a millennial focus” – it will be called The Moxy. I snapped this photo of the lot when I was recently seeing The Birthday Massacre at The Marlin Room. One has to wonder why our Mayor wasn’t outraged about this happening as much as he is about horse drawn carriages and the like. Oh and if you have fond recollection of times at the Pour House bar right next to these vacant spaces, well that’s gone too.
Under a corporate ownership I am feeling that a lot of what we know and love about Webster Hall will go away. One doesn’t layout millions of dollars buying a place to leave everything “as is”. I had read somewhere not too long ago that a goal was to make the space more “upscale” than it might be now so I guess more folks like Kanye West clogging the streets and not performing at all and much less Metallica and Guns N Roses. Personally speaking, I don’t see The Studio remaining in place at all and if it does, the means for a smaller, more localized promoter setting up a Rock or Metal gig or a DJ playing Hip Hop or House music until the dawn is most probably ended. Every show needs to go through the corporate booking which will be Bowery Presents (which AEG also owns in full at this time). I’ve seen a lot of Metal shows down in The Studio that while popular overseas just cannot fill a larger venue here in NYC and that made it the perfect place. Will these shows matter to the new owners or does this become a lounge space for cocktails and VIP experiences? Who knows. The only certainty is that corporate owners mean more rules and sticking to them because there is more insurance liability and costs to maintain a place. The higher maintenance costs will be passed onto the consumer by way of higher ticket prices and concessions of food and drink. I’d venture to guess that the days of the $10, $12 and $15 Metal show are most probably over. I’d love to be wrong and be surprised but many peers and concert going friends all mirror my thoughts on this matter. I’ll close up on this one now but wonder what do you readers think about the venue as we’ve enjoyed it and its final days of shows along with the indeterminate time that it will be closed. What do you foresee coming to pass? Like I said earlier, my thoughts are just my personal views and nothing is 100% verified. It would be wonderful to find not much changing but let’s be realistic. Okay back to the rest of the stuff. Chime in.
Numerous events that are still available to attend are listed on our Events Calendar so don’t miss out.
Official Website: http://www.websterhall.com