There are two prominent types of people living in Manhattan—those with bright eyes and bushy tails who address Brooklyn as a different country and those who are “over it” and probably smell bad. Well, for the second installment of 10 Venues You Should Know we’re taking you to the most tragic borough, where you can certainly expect to find more of a Do-It-Yourself culture. While spaces are smaller and acts are lesser-known than those in Manhattan, shows tend to be cheaper and PBR flows more freely. So, despite its name drowning in irony, there’s nothing to be afraid of or jaded about. If you’re looking for a way to have fun in Brooklyn, let this be your guide.
285 Kent Ave.
Last summer, 285 Kent was popularized by DIY promoter Todd P and since then has housed several grungy shows. The space is comprised of a small foyer of sorts, large room with an open floor plan, and makeshift bar in the back (although if you’re sneaky you can bring your own booze). Although this spot is a summertime favorite, it tends to get extremely hot.
Brooklyn Masonic Temple
317 Clermont Ave. #4
Brooklyn Masonic Temple (which was once home to Freemasons) is one of Brooklyn’s largest venues and a crucial part of the DIY scene. The massive granite structure can be found in Fort Green, and tends to book bigger 21+ shows.
245 Grand St.
Bruar Falls is the Brooklyn counter-part to Manhattan’s Cake Shop, and, like their sister space, hosts a 21+ concert every night of the week. Bands are often of the up-and-coming variety and shows range anywhere from free to $5.
Death By Audio
49 S 2nd St.
Perhaps the coolest DIY space in Brooklyn, Death By Audio, not only books $7 shows, but it also has some of the coolest deco (see above image). The space consists of two large rooms, one of which is occupied by the stage while the other is a sort of waiting area with a shabby bar, busted chairs and meager bathrooms. Overall DBA is awesome/dirty/crusty space with killer vibes and cheap beer (and while it is possible to bring your own, it’s not encouraged).
289 Kent Ave.
One door to the right of 285 Kent, is Glasslands Gallery—the “grown-up” version of any DIY venue. Every show is 21+ and the space is strict about checking, but any fake ID is suitable. Shows at Glasslands range from popular to lesser known bands and DJs and in addition to concerts, the space frequently hosts after parties and art events.
The Knitting Factory
361 Metropolitan Ave.
The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn is one of the more legitimate concert spaces in Brooklyn. Several acts both big and small have graced the venue’s sizeable stage. One of the weirdest things about the Knitting Factory is the huge window behind the sound booth looking into (or out of depending where you are) an actual bar that can be accessed from the front of the venue.
Music Hall of Williamsburg
66 N 6th St.
A relatively large Brooklyn venue, the Music Hall of Williamsburg is run by Bowery Presents and has a similar layout to that of the Bowery Ballroom. Walking in the door, there are paths to take—down to the bar (and bathrooms) or up to the stage, which, like the Bowery Ballroom, features two balconies.
Party Xpo or Xpo 929 is an interesting space off the J train at Myrtle Ave. From the street the venue appears to be an abandoned party store and good luck trying to peek inside, the windows are covered with some sort of black tarp that prevents any snooping. Inside, the space is big and has a bizarre, piranha-like wall hanging behind the stage. One thing that makes Party Xpo stand out is their no alcohol policy —- in other words, the venue is dry.
20 Meadow St.
Shea Stadium is located in an oddly desolate area of Brooklyn and is appealing to two kinds of people—15 year old crust punks, and 20-somethings that are cooler than you—however who you encounter depends on the show. Despite this weird mix and occasional over-crowding, Shea Stadium has an awesome outdoor balcony (that surely meets fire code standards) and is pretty sweet.
915 Wyckoff Ave.
The Silent Barn is a small, two-floored, multi-purpose venue sandwiched between Brooklyn and Queens. It’s been known to book bands before they were big, and exclusively offers all-ages shows. Unfortunately, the much beloved venue was recently robbed, but managed to raise over $40,000 via KickStarter so the space should be up and running soon.