New York’s Longest-Running Honky-Tonk to shut down at the end of July; The Eugene Chrysler Band to play the venue’s final show
UPDATE: Around 11:45 a.m. Thursday, just hours after Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? posted an item confirming that Manhattan’s Rodeo Bar was no longer booking bands, the bar posted a notice on Facebook that it’s shutting down altogether after July 27. This is the full post:
Dear Rodeo Bar patrons and music lovers,
We are deeply saddened to announce that after 27 years in business, Rodeo Bar and Grill is closing its doors after July 27, 2014.
Here at New York’s longest-running honky-tonk, we stayed open during some of the city’s toughest times — Hurricane Sandy, the 2003 blackout, 9/11 — but recent rent increases, combined with a changing landscape, have made it impossible for us continue.
For the past three decades, Rodeo Bar has been home to thousands of bands, and we’re proud to have helped define the country, Americana and rockabilly scene in New York City for all these years. But more than that, we were supported by an incredible community of people from New York and all over the world who helped make this bar great. We can’t thank y’all enough.
For the rest of July, we’re open every night, and the music schedule is killer — and free, as it always has been. So come on down and join us for every show, every Shiner, and every moment with the horse trailer we call home. We’re going out with our boots on.
Much Love, and Until the Buffalo Sings,
The final show at the Rodeo has just been announced: The Eugene Chrysler Band at 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 26. The announcement promises free CDs and guest stars.
My original post appears after the jump.
Manhattan’s Rodeo Bar, considered New York City’s longest-running honky-tonk, will be surrender the title at the end of July when it stops presenting live music — ending a three-decade run as the premier country music venue in New York City.
“It’s hard for me to think about this objectively right now but I was losing money for a long time,” owner Mitch Pollak tells Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?
“I don’t know if free live music in Manhattan is viable anymore, especially when you try to pay the bands,” he added in a brief email.
Pollak’s statement didn’t address the future of his Texas roadhouse,which has been serving barbecue, booze and tunes on Third Avenue at 27th Street since 1985.
Word of the impending end of live music at Rodeo Bar started circulating in recent days after regular performers were informed they wouldn’t be re-booked. (Thanks to my Virginia-based pal Jim for tipping me to this.)
Based on Rodeo Bar’s music calendar, country singer-songwriter J.D. Patch, booked for July 31, will be the last act to play the noisy, friendly room. Calendar pages for August and beyond are empty.
Rodeo Bar, the go-to room for all things country-tinged in Manhattan, is wrapping up the music quietly. There aren’t any farewell concerts booked and, so far, there’s been no public weeping and gnashing of teeth over the silencing of this crucial part of the roots-music community.
Its departure is, to say the least, being handled in a much more low-key way than the closing of Maxwell’s in Hoboken a year ago.
Yet Rodeo Bar is, for the country music crowd, at least as important a base as Maxwell’s was for the indie rock scene.
What other venue in Manhattan booked Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys Ronnie Dawson, Barbecue Bob & the Spareribs, C Gibbs, Rosie Flores, Courtney & Western, Simon & the Bar Sinisters, Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. (aka SIT & Die), Christine Santelli, M Shanghai String Band, and The Reach Around Rodeo Clowns on a regular basis — with absolutely no cover charge? (And Joan Osborne got noticed with her Monday-night residency at Rodeo, too.)
For many years, it was practically the only place in Manhattan to get Texas-brewed Shiner Bock beer — and claims it was the first bar to offer it in the city, years before Shiner struck an official distribution deal here.
Unlike Maxwell’s, it appears that Rodeo Bar will continue to operate, serving up its consistent, homey grub, and drinks. (And Pollak’s statement doesn’t rule out the possibility that live performance could return on a ticketed basis.)
Like Maxwell’s, however, Rodeo Bar has played a crucial role in distinct music niche in New York. The end of live music will create a huge void.