One of Brooklyn’s newer underground music venues/bar Our Wicked Lady (OWL) is doing everything it can to stay afloat during coronavirus closures. And you can help just by checking out Save Owl Sessions (SOS) via their Instagram, buying bar merch/giftcards, and ordering delivery drinks—you can even donate any amount to the bar and its staff here.
Losing venue after venue is nothing new in NYC. It’s just the nature of The City and how messed up the rent situation and liquor laws are. Basically, you either have to make tons of money instantly, or have tons of money to start with and survive as a business in NYC.
But every now and then, we show rats and underground music nerds of the Big Apple are blessed with a down-to-earth venue that manages to stay afloat. When this happens, this venue and/or bar gives us hope—and we do anything to keep it alive.
Our Wicked Lady is the perfect example. This bar/rooftop venue has been a home for hundreds of NYC bands, musicians, DJs, and show-goers. It’s a go-to for BTRtoday, covering bands like Faux Ferocious, The Mystery Lights, True Dreams, and Ghost Funk Orchestra there. I’ve personally spent entire nights there, walking home only once the sun started peeking over the horizon.
“All we wanted to do from [OWL’s] inception, aside from have a successful business, was to create a kind of community,” OWL owner Zach Glass tells BTRtoday. Glass says that the number of artists volunteering to participate in the SOS has been gleefully overwhelming. “It’s amazing when we hear artists saying things like, ‘Our Wicked Lady has been there for us, now it’s time for us to be there for them.’ It feels really special.”
OWL even has a practice space for bands to rent out next door. And just like family, OWL told tenants to forget about their rent once quarantine was in effect due to COVID-19, says Ilithios frontman Manny Nomikos. Even though the venue had to cancel all their shows and shut down, they still put their musical children first.
“My other band Catty rehearses from [OWL’s] practice spaces and we started as a band on a chance meeting [at OWL] and that band has become an important part of my life, so OWL is a part of that history,” Nomikos says. “The staff are great people and treat performers with the utmost respect [and] something that happened that no one really knows is that the owner at OWL canceled our rent last month since they knew that we’re all musicians and broke, just so that we don’t lose our rehearsal space.” (Nomikos will be performing a live session and advocating for OWL’s relief efforts on BTRtoday’s Instagram tomorrow, Friday, May 8 @ 8 pm.)
Our Wicked Lady is one of many beloved Brooklyn bar/venues hauling ass with relief efforts. But most venues would benefit from a little help right now, especially newer places we love like The Sultan Room, TV Eye, and Planet X. During trying times like these, every dollar makes a difference.