New York City nightlife certainly isn’t the same as it used to be. The Palladium site is now a New York University dorm; CBGB’s is an upscale John Varvatos boutique; and next week the former church that housed the Limelight reopens as a shopping venue.
The effect of gentrification on nightlife isn’t limited to the club scene either. In recent years we’ve lost the storied Cedar Tavern to condominium development; and Marion’s Continental, with its perfect martinis and long-standing Pontani Sisters burlesque show, has been replaced by Hecho en Dumbo, which serves a drink rimmed with worm salt (yes, you read that correctly, real crushed worms).
Tomorrow we lose another classic, Freddy’s Bar & Backroom, a fun and funky dive bar in Prospect Heights that was the anchor for many Brooklyn sots and aging punk rockers. I’ve spend many a night there fighting my way through the crowded bar, listening to avant garde and punk bands in the back room, cozying up in one of its tired leather booths with a group of friends. One night we even made its sidewalk our dinner table, spreading out around a box of pizza and forcing passersby to move aside or chip in.
We have the Atlantic Yards project to thank for this latest closure. Sure, the owners are looking to relocate on Fourth Avenue, the increasingly popular corridor between Gowanus and Park Slope, but just like when Siberia Bar vacated its 50th Street subway haunt for bigger digs off Ninth Avenue, it won’t be the same.
The bar’s website says today is the final day for paying respects to this Dean Street holdout, however I have it on good word that there will still be some drinking, dancing and memorializing going on tomorrow night, with a special appearance by The Spunk Lads—as close to a house band as you’ll get for Freddy’s. They take the stage at midnight.
I know I’ll be there, in my Docs, kicking back the chairs and several Jameson’s, one last time.