After a prolonged period of stasis in the music industry due to the pandemic, bands have finally started touring for the first time in a year and a half, and music venues around the city have begun to hosting concerts once again. And adding to the optimistic mood, Brooklyn Made opens this week, becoming the first entirely new music venue to open in NYC in a long time.
Brooklyn Made is a 500-capacity venue located at 428 Troutman Street in Bushwick, with unique lighting design by Jeremy Roth (Wilco, Nathaniel Rateliff, Mazzy Star). It was started by two industry insiders coming from opposite sides of the spectrum: Anthony Makes, the former president of Live Nation’s New York office who also previously worked at Bowery Presents/AEG, and Kelly Winrich, longtime member of the group Delta Spirit.
"This is a lifelong dream and hopefully my last stop on what I'll be doing for the rest of my career and life," Makes told Gothamist earlier this summer when the venue was first announced.
"I'm a lifelong New Yorker and so it's in my blood here, and I wouldn't have it any other way than to open up my first venue that I own here, especially coming out of the pandemic like this and trying to bring some life back to the city and be a part of it," he added.
With the club set to finally open tonight—Jeff Tweedy of Wilco is performing two sold-out shows tonight and Friday—Gothamist visited this week to get a look at the newly-completed space, including some of its nicest artist amenities.
Makes initially launched Brooklyn Made in the summer of 2020 as a concert promotions company out of his home in Park Slope, working with places like CMAC Events and United Palace. The venue's space was acquired last November, and Makes and Winrich have spent much of the last year building it out and making sure it is first and foremost an artist-friendly experience.
There are tons of amenities for touring groups, including four separate green rooms, an apartment filled with records and a vintage jukebox, several private outdoor hangout spaces (including access to the rooftop), and to top it all off, a private pool.
"[Winrich and I] were on the same page as wanting to offer an artist experience that's like no other," Makes said. "When they come, there's not going to be arguments about the catering budget."
The venue has two connecting food/drink establishments as well: when you enter the space, you'll first see Connie’s, which features a horseshoe-shaped bar along with a pool table and an outdoor courtyard (it will be open until 4 a.m. every day regardless of whether a band is playing). Also connected is the Standing Room, which will open at 7 a.m. as a coffee house/café with pastries and breakfast and then turn into a cocktail/wine/tapas bar with a full kitchen in the afternoon until late into the evening.
Besides Tweedy, the lineup in the coming months (check out the schedule below) is largely a mix of beloved legacy artists (Guided By Voices, The Mountain Goats, Luna, Steve Earle, Greg Dulli, Okkervil River) and hot indie bands (Whitney, Spirit Of The Beehive, Real Estate, Dehd, Drugdealer). The venue will also be hosting regular DJ sets every weekend.
Marks pointed out that while there is a competitive spirit amongst venues around town, Brooklyn Made is not looking to haggle over artists with the likes of AEG or Live Nation.
"Let's all be straight up, it's definitely a competition, but that being said, we're not competing with a $17 billion worldwide conglomerate," he said. "They do big tours—hip-hop tours and gigantic classic rock tours. We're focused on putting on a great experience for the bands that want to play our venues, but for the time being, we're not putting on any massive tours for Drake anytime soon."
But between his experience in the concert industry, Winrich's experience as a touring musician, the added revenue brought in by the two eating/drinking establishments, and the fact that they own the building, Marks is very optimistic that Brooklyn Made will be a music institution in the borough for the long-term.
"I've seen it all and done it all, to age myself out here," he said with a laugh. "Considering the fact that I've done this for the last 30 years, I know what the finances are and I know what can be afforded and what we can do. I know we can take it to the next level with these artists and I think they're going to be pretty blown away by it. So I don't foresee us failing with this place. I don't see failure as an option."