So, the "Clubhouse".....known to most as St. Jerome or St. Jerome's...has closed its doors for good.
Now, some people would say, "Jeez, Man....what's the big deal? There are thousands of bars in New York City....go hang out somewhere else! It's just a bar! GROW UP, already!"
Well, it's not that way, exactly.
This is a place where, for over five years, I've made friends, forged alliances, worked, played, relaxed, laughed, screamed, wept, sang, pondered, dreamed, danced, and had a lot of great times, whether I liked or remembered them or not. I also had many, many, many, MANY beers with a lot of great people....some who went on to fame & fortune, and others whom I'll never see again....but I love them all. If you're reading this, you're very likely one of them, and you know damn well that I mean it.
It started, for me, one deep, dark night a little over five years ago. I'd just gotten out of an "unhealthy (to say the least) relationship", and had just started The Dirty Pearls with my homeboy, Tommy London. I needed a new home base, a new watering hole....a new CLUBHOUSE! My good friend Luc Carl (the man who started the whole goddamn nightmare) was bartending, and after a couple of "Happy Meals", I asked him if he needed any djs there. He told me that if I wanted to do Sundays, that they were mine. "Fuck it," I thought, "I'll do fucking Sundays, then!" It was a good start.
My first Sunday there, I walked into the bar, and this tall, thin gentleman was behind the bar. "Hey, Man," I said, extending my hand, "I'm the new dj."
He shook my hand, and very smarmily, answered, "Are you gonna play....anything GOOD?!"
I walked to the booth to set up, wondering who this wise ass thought he was. I started playing the shit that I play, and got to talking with him. After two rounds of Budweisers & "Warm-up" shots, I discovered that who he thought he was, was Mr Brian Newman, and we became fast friends after discovering a mutual love for Thin Lizzy and Lynyrd Skynyrd (and it was Newman who brought in the neon Thin Lizzy sign that remains there to this day (?)). We've been friends ever since, and have both grown a lot since those days.
Those Sundays weren't always the most popular or packed night at the bar, but there was always plenty of Rock N' Roll, drinks, and good company to have a great time with. You could always expect some cool fuckers, or others, to stop by, and when I would arrive at 10:00 pm on Sunday night, I always wondered who it might be.
Sometimes, who it would be was a dude who wound up being, essentially, the "House DJ", and one of the best drinking buddies & all-around stand-up guys you could ever meet, Mr Ian Eldorado. I don't know how we got to be such great friends, but I know that it involved Budweiser and Jameson, and vintage Rock n' Roll t-shirts....and it still does!
Luc, Tommy, Newman, Ian, and I wound up becoming the "Rivington Rebels", a sort-of mobile drinking & hanging out club who often hang out at St. Jerome, and on the Lower East Side in general. We are, maybe, reminiscent of Alice Cooper's Hollywood Vampires in the 70's, that would hang out in the secret loft upstairs at the Rainbow in L.A.
So...that's the early jist of it.
The Clubhouse has changed in this way and that way since the early days, as life always does. That said, there has been a spirit that has remains constant, and that comes from those of us who convene there. Some people have called it, "a scene", which is fine....I know that many scenes have been made there, whatever that means! Tommy went deeper and called it, "a community", which it most-certainly is. To me, though, I feel that it's in my blood at this point....so...to me, it's closer to a family. It certainly means enough to us for the Dirty Pearls to have a song about the place that we play almost every time we take the stage. I, for one, can't get through the 4-count intro on my h-hat without feeling like I'm in the corner stool with a smile on my face.
That isn't something that you can get at just any bar that opens down the street.
That's why it's the end of an era.
All of that being said.....is it the end of the world? No. All of us who have been a part of it will likely be bonded by the common experience that we had & shared in the place. And, surely, we will find other places to listen to Rock N' Roll and watch the night fold and unfold 12 or 13 times. We will all continue to....do amazing and cool shit in the early part of the evening, and then celebrate later 'til the wee hours....then call each other the next day, and ask what the hell happened. Keep your phone on.
The Clubhouse is closed! LONG LIVE THE CLUBHOUSE! Or, as I wrote on the bathroom wall, "OUR GHOSTS WILL DRINK HERE FOREVER."
Thanks for all of the good nights, great friends, and many, many drinks!
PS-I write this with all due deference to, besides everyone I've mentioned before, to Jonas, Kelle, Stinks, Carlos, Bryan, Starlight, Dustan, Gigi, David, Ashley, Kelly, Conrad, Niko, Yoshi, Breedlove, Seth, Danae, Josh, Wolf, Necktie, Seth, Christian, Adam, Jess, & everyone else I hung out & had drinks/laughs with.