Webster Hall innovates its drink strategy – Nightclub & Bar Magazine

From Nuanced to Bold, Liqueurs are the Most Versatile Assets on the Backbar: Are You Cashing In?

Smoke in Dallas
The numbers don’t lie. Total sales of liqueur and cordials declined in 2010, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). Value-brand sales totaled 7.4 million 9-liter cases in 2010, a 2.8% drop from 2009. Things weren’t any sunnier in the super-premium slot, in which 8 million 9-liter cases were sold, a 13% decrease from 2009.

Does this mean you should yank the Jägermeister off the shelf? Say “no thanks” to Grand Marnier? Not in the least. Liqueurs and cordials have a very high rate of success in the hands of the right bartenders. Like most good things, liqueurs have been hurt by a slow economy, but the numbers from DISCUS are total sales, meaning retail sales for at-home consumption are included. It’s fairly safe to say that when consumers are mixing at home, only a handful of liqueurs figure into that equation.

When imbibing in a bar, club or restaurant, patrons seek a top-notch flavor experience. A savvy bartender with the right arsenal of quality, flavorful liqueurs will inspire and inform his drink offerings, which attract guests and keep them on their barstools. It’s now more important than ever to evaluate where, how and why liqueurs work in your operation.

The Status Quo

While there has been a lot of hype about esoteric liqueurs lately, rest easy: This is one category that works well with others. For the majority of venues, the liqueur and cordial selection stocked behind the bar is most operational in cocktails already on a menu and, later in the evening, highly versatile in the form of creative shooters. Cordials and liqueurs comprise about 10% of the total U.S. spirits market, and leading brands include Jägermeister, DeKuyper, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Southern Comfort and Kahlua. While it’s crucial to stock these known entities, smart operators are scrutinizing their liqueur choices more carefully than in the past, seeking styles and flavors that work best for them.

Smoke in Dallas

Austin Brown, bar manager at Smoke in Dallas, uses flavorful liqueurs to create interesting new cocktails to satisfy guests’ changing palates.

“We were very much on autopilot for many years with regards to our distributors and liquor reps, and I think we took one another for granted,” offers Rich Pawelczyk, chief operating officer of Webster Hall Entertainment Corp. in New York City. “They sold and we bought, and, for years, we didn’t change much.” That’s no longer the case at the company’s venues, which includes Webster Hall — a massive four-level, multi-concept nightclub and concert venue in Manhattan and winner of the 2011 Nightclub & Bar Nightclub of the Year award — a sister property called Rebel in Manhattan and a new operation, City Beer Hall in Albany, N.Y.

“The recession has reminded every business owner that costs are the No. 1 contributor to the bottom line,” Pawelczyk says. “Sales volume is great, but if you are spending $10 to make a $9.99 drink, you won’t get anywhere.”

The need to sharpen pencils pushed Pawelczyk and many like him to leverage their relationships with suppliers, looking closely at cocktail lists and the way liqueurs help sell drinks.

Beauty & Essex

Beauty & Essex in Manhattan is a high-volume venue, so bartenders turn to liqueurs to efficiently add flavor to cocktails.

With guests coming from all over New York and the world, Pawelczyk says they “get a lot of interesting requests, and I think it’s important that we offer a lot of interesting options. Many of our guests are here on vacation, which translates to a willingness to try something new. You can see the ‘wow’ factor when we come up with cool cocktails, and it shows up in sales.”

One way he is giving guests something new is by adding a club within Webster Hall’s main room this fall. The balcony section overlooking the stage will be enclosed to create a separate, new venue, Hanky Panky. Inside, guests will find a menu of twists on classic cocktails, featuring an array of liqueurs, such as St-Germain and amaros, alongside revived pre-Prohibition liqueurs, including Rothman & Winter crème de violette. Knowing the power of major brands, Pawelczyk is giving well-known liqueur labels space on the backbar, as well.

In the main room, several bottles of Jägermeister move per week, thanks to promotions that help other products, such as domestic beer, flow more freely.

Pawelczyk says spirits are decided based on market research, what people buy among the current stock and requests from customers. “With the younger demo, I find that people drink what we — in a subtle way — tell them to. Price and promotion can make it someone’s favorite request,” he explains.

Zombie Rave at Webster Hall – Village Voice

Brains. Dance. Brains. Dance. Brains. Dance. Brains. Dance. Sounds simple when you read it, but when you’re actually piling copious amounts of human brain into your gullet while dancing, it can get pretty tough. Case in point: Webster Hall’s Zombie Rave. Our own Laura June Kirsch was there on July 3rd to capture the action, and we’re pleased to report she returned home with all of her delicious brains intact.

Click Here to View Gallery – All photos by Laura June Kirsch


The Las Vegas quartet perform intimate NYC gig to pumped-up crowd. We’ve got the by-the-numbers breakdown

After premiering four new songs at an intimate North Carolina show last week, The Killers made their way to New York City’s Webster Hall last night for a room full of eager music journalists, girls swooning over frontman Brandon Flowers and dudebros having a really rowdy Monday night. The energy was high, the beer was flowing and neither myself nor anyone in my general vicinity had a seizure during the hypnotizing light show that accompanied the band’s 90-minute set.

The handsome Brandon Flowers and Co. opened strong, jamming to their new single “Runaways” (off their upcoming album Battle Born), which has already become a crowd favorite. The group crescendoed with their audience, buoying from commercial hits (“Somebody Told Me,” “Mr. Brightside”) to new tracks (“From Here On Out,” “Flesh and Bone”) to a few lesser-knowns, including a cover of Joy Division’s “Shadowplay,” from their b-sides album Sawdust.

In case you weren’t at the show (sorry), take a look at our By The Numbers recap. And let us know how you feel about The Killers’ comeback in the comments below.

Number of songs played: 15 (19, including encores)

On a scale of 1 to 10, how pumped the audience was: 8.5

Percentage of the crowd who recorded part of the show on their cell phones: 40%

Number of people I counted fist-pumping (first floor only): 16

Number of dudebros singing along and hugging each other like it was the end of the world during “Human”: Approx. 100,000

Number of covers: 1 (Joy Division’s “Shadowplay”)

Number of times I saw a woman show a stranger a photo of her children on her cell phone: 1

Percentage of audience members who sang along to every song: 33%

On a scale of 1 to 10, how bats**t the crowd went for “Mr. Brightside”: 14

Number of Brandon Flowers’ outfit changes: 0 (Sad face)

Number of times I was mesmerized by guitarist Dave Keuning’s hair: 8

Music: The Gaslight Anthem Celebrate ‘Handwritten’ Release Day in New York – Rolling Stone

Photo Credit: Griffin Lotz for RollingStone.com

Over the course of their career so far, New Jersey rockers the Gaslight Anthem have worn their hearts on their sleeves, as well as their influences. Drawing from the earnest confessionals of the Replacements, the cocksure swagger of the Clash and the indefatigable charisma of their homestate hero Bruce Springsteen, they’ve concocted a unique blend of punk and folk topped with a double dose of sincerity. Luckily for Gaslight Anthem, blue-collar honesty seems to be what their fans appreciate most, and nowhere has that been more apparent than at their show last night at New York’s Webster Hall.

It was the release day for the band’s fourth LP, HANDWRITTEN – an album full of adrenaline-stoking anthems like “45” and lovelorn numbers like “Here Comes My Man” – and judging from how the audience sang along, moshed and crowdsurfed to nearly every tune from the LP, many present had already purchased it. This observation did not go unnoticed by the group. Just before playing Handwritten’s title track, frontman Brian Fallon said, “When I woke up this morning, someone told me, ‘Hey, you’re doing pretty good on the iTunes charts.’ It’s so unbelievable that our little record is Number One on the whole thing.” Then that sincerity kicked in, as he said, “The way we look at it, we’re four kids from New Jersey. We’re in a band – we quit our jobs and did not go back – and you guys liked it. It means a lot.” As the audience roared back with approval, it was clear that for everyone in the venue, this night was a celebration.

Perhaps the reason why everyone could get involved was because the group put on no airs. When the Gaslight Anthem took to the stage, they hung out in the darkness for a minute or so, then finally kicked into “Mae,” a heartfelt Handwritten track, and kept the lights down. Guitarist Alex Rosamilia even wore a hoodie for the duration of the concert. As the song ended, they turned on the lights and launched into the rousing title cut from their 2008 breakthrough, The ’59 Sound. With that, the venue began to shake from all of the fans jumping, clapping and singing along.

The shared energy between the Gaslight Anthem and their audience lasted for the rest of the marathon-length, nearly 30-song set, which found the group focusing heavily on Handwritten and The ’59 Sound – not that anyone seemed to mind. On slower songs like the family drama lament “Keepsake,” men shouted along fervently to lyrics like, “I just want to love someone who has the same blood.” And a group of fans even filmed themselves, bright cell phone flash and all, singing along with Fallon during “The Patient Ferris Wheel.” The singer, who wore a Harley-Davidson-like Johnny Cupcakes tee and an ear-to-ear smile throughout the night, returned the ardor when he thanked all in attendance before playing the new LP’s lumbering “Too Much Blood,” even bowing. “I’m not bowing to you,” he clarified. “I’m bowing for you.”

In the time the group left and returned for a nine-song encore, the excitement in the audience intensified. After a solo performance by Fallon of a song by Fake Problems – the first band to take Gaslight Anthem on the road – the dance floor was in perpetual motion, with mini mosh pits forming and one crowdsurfer after another floating toward the stage during fan favorites like “American Slang” and “Great Expectations.” The evening’s jubilation wasn’t just for the band, though. Fallon brought up a concertgoer named Laura, who was holding a heart-shaped sign saying it was her birthday, and led the crowd in a round of “Happy Birthday,” after which she stayed onstage for the duration of the ballad “Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts,” dancing and singing along. When the group left the stage for a final time, after playing The ’59 Sound’s Springsteen-esque “The Backseat,” a song came up on the PA that seemed to capture its mood: Hall and Oates’ “You Make My Dreams.” This sort of ultra-sincere move might seem a little corny from any other band, but with the Gaslight Anthem, it’s easy to believe they would mean it.

Green Day: How the Year’s Most Ambitious Project Came Together – Billboard

Green Day: How the Year’s Most Ambitious Project Came Together

July 11, 2012 | By Phil Gallo

Two hundred fifty people packed into the Tiki Bar in the Orange County city of Costa Mesa, Calif., on Aug. 11, 2011, paying $20 a head the day before to see one of the world’s biggest rock bands after an eight-month hiatus. That audience – along with ones at the Webster Hall Studio in New York; 1-2-3-4 Go! Records in Oakland, Calif.; Mezzanine in San Francisco; and Red 7 in Austin – was unknowingly treated to 20 songs that would appear on Green Day’s next three albums.

The trio saved favorites like “Welcome to Paradise,” “St. Jimmy” and “Minority” for the encores, hitting the fans with one new track after another – “Nuclear Family,” “Stay the Night,” “Let Yourself Go” and “Carpe Diem” – the first four songs on its next release, “¡Uno!”

“We went and played 20 songs that no one had ever heard – in a row. And with no plan of a record even coming out,” Green Day singer/songwriter/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong says during a break from a mastering session in New York with longtime producer (and Warner Bros. Records chairman) Rob Cavallo and Ted Jensen, who has mastered the group’s last seven albums. “That was terrifying. It reminded me of the times we played in front of crowds that had never heard of us before – nothing was familiar. There was nothing being marketed. It was really exciting and it made me want to throw up with fear at the same time. We were treating ourselves like we were a new band.”

The music Green Day performed at those five shows will be heard across three albums – “¡Uno!,” “¡Dos!” and “¡Tré!” – which in an unusual move will be released Sept. 25, Nov. 13 and Jan. 15, respectively. Extensive writing sessions yielded nearly 40 songs that Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tré Cool completed. Once sorted out thematically, the three-man band felt it had three distinct collections that it wanted to put out as individual albums.

“I’m not going to conform to some consumer need,” Armstrong says of the highly unorthodox audio triptych. “I believe people want to hear this kind of music, that people want to hear records that have a story. Or maybe they don’t. I have no idea.”

Armstrong is certain of this much: The rock-opera approach of “American Idiot” (6.1 million sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan) and “21st Century Breakdown” (1 million) will stand. “I want to write killer songs, but I want them threaded together and to speak to each other within an album, which in this case is basically inside three albums.”

Ideas about different time frames and packages were kicked around until Green Day and Warner Bros. Records executives wound up with the unique, and challenging, idea of spacing them out across 16 weeks.

“Billie and the band were going back and forth on how do we give each album time to breathe,” Warner co-president/COO Livia Tortella says. “They wanted to communicate a sense of urgency but not too far apart so everyone understands they’re connected. We felt that what made sense was a six- or seven-week separation.”

Armstrong returns to the word “accident” again and again when discussing this project. Winding up with nearly 60 songs? Not a plan, an accident. The order of the songs? Accidental, as was the connective tissue on each of the albums. The three-album idea even sprang from a whim.

“Putting out even a double-record, let alone a triple-record, it didn’t seem like it would work for us in this day and age,” Armstrong says. “We wanted all of it to come out because we were proud of it, and then I was thinking in terms of volumes – one, two and three. I was in my kitchen and thought, ‘What if we called them “Uno,” “Dos,” “Tré,” just as a joke?’ And I told my wife about it and she said, ‘Actually that’s kind of a brilliant idea.’ Then I brought it to the guys and asked them what they thought. They let it sink in and said yeah. Put my photo on the first one, Mike on the second one and Tré on the third.”

Mention a triple-album and most people think of the Clash’s 1980 set, “Sandinista!” Magnetic Fields did it in 1999 with “69 Love Songs” and Joanna Newsom two years ago with “Have One on Me.” Then there’s the idea of dropping two albums on the same day, famously done by Bruce Springsteen, Guns N’ Roses and Harry Connick Jr. and more recently by a few underground rap acts.

The three-album idea was floated before Warner executives near the beginning of the year, and Tortella admits that initially it was “terrifying.” They eventually came to embrace the concept as three chapters in a single book.

“The creative is what matters,” says Cavallo, who makes decisions on the financial end as chairman of Warner. “These guys wrote 38, 39 songs. We’re supposed to service the creativity. It’s not the other way around. The artist should lead.”

Leaders of various eras in rock’n’roll don’t shake up their sound, musical intent or ambition and have as much commercial success as Green Day. The band arrived at Warner/Reprise in the early ’90s with a small stack of independently released singles and LPs and a brattiness more in line with the early Beastie Boys than the rock groups that would soon become its top 10 peers: Counting Crows, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden.

Power chords, suburban nihilism and a fan-friendly brand of anarchy not only turned Green Day into a punk powerhouse – its 1994 breakthrough, “Dookie,” has sold more than 8 million copies, according to SoundScan – it sent other major labels searching clubs for similar-sounding acts.

The band’s commercial power dissipated with 1995’s “Insomniac” and 1997’s “Nimrod,” each of which has sold 2.1 million copies. The latter release, however, contained a change of pace for the band, the acoustic “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” that became one of the most ubiquitous radio hits of 1998. While it peaked at No. 11 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Airplay chart, it spent 43 weeks on that list, making it Green Day’s longest-running single.

It also provided a new marketing angle: Green Day was growing up, tackling more mature themes and expanding its sound. It almost clicked with 2000’s “Warning,” which hit No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and found Armstrong starting to write more seriously about rebelling against authority. Four years later, “American Idiot” would change the entire conversation.

“At the time during “American Idiot,” everything felt so polarized,” Armstrong says, “and writing political songs for me has got to come from the heart. I didn’t make a conscious effort to step away from politics or anything like that, but now you have a president where the Republicans won’t compromise on anything. They have their own agenda. It’s not for the greater good of the country.

“I don’t want to beat on some topic that the country is up in arms about. Leave that to the talking heads to figure that out. Besides, they’re getting on my nerves anyway.”

“American Idiot,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, returned Green Day to arenas after a few years of touring large theaters. (In 2005, it grossed $37.7 million from 67 shows by selling nearly 1 million tickets, according to Billboard Boxscore.) A concept album, it was the adult project that would take Green Day to a new level (winning the best rock album Grammy Award, along with the record of the year Grammy for “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”) before becoming a musical in its native Berkeley, Calif., and eventually Broadway. Bolstered by the album’s ambition, the band followed it in 2009 with “21st Century Breakdown,” which hit No. 1 and also won the rock album Grammy.

In the fall of 2010, Armstrong did a weeklong run on Broadway in “American Idiot” that returned the flagging show to sold-out levels before the band resumed its “21st Century Breakdown” world tour. He came back in January and February for two months of shows. During that time, he began writing the songs that appear on “¡Uno!,” “¡Dos!” and “¡Tré!”

In September 2010 while in New York, Armstrong says, “I was in a world where no one was paying attention to me, so there was no pressure, and I wrote seven or eight songs. We went to South America and I showed them the songs. They were ambivalent about it so I just kept writing.”

On earlier parts of the tour in Europe, Armstrong would rent studios on the band’s days off “rather than boozing it up.” After Helsinki, Berlin and Stockholm yielded songs that he would finish, Armstrong felt he could continue with a similar system while performing in “American Idiot” on Broadway.

“When I was actually in the show and living in New York, I was surrounded by incredibly talented people, something I hadn’t [experienced] in years outside of my band members,” he says. “Inspiration came from that every day. Me and some of the cast members getting together, listening to records and talking about music and seeing all these people singing with these incredible voices. I was engulfed in creativity and it wasn’t mine necessarily – I was feeding off everybody else and their drive. I set up a small studio in my apartment and wrote 30-second songs, one-minute songs, recorded them and ran off to the theater. I did that almost every day.”

Eventually he had more than 55 songs that he wanted to present to the band as it was beginning to practice. “We were just in a zone, writing songs and rehearsing them, staying away from the [recording] studio,” he says. “It was just kind of like doing things the way we did when we started as a band. It was good experience.”

The work the group invested was obvious, Cavallo says. “The band was very well-rehearsed. They burned in [the songs] and rehearsed them almost like a show.”

Getting the tracks recorded started to shape the flow of the music. While not character-driven in the manner of Green Day’s last two albums, Armstrong saw themes develop: “The first record is getting the party started, the second record is the party happening and the depths of hell in the party, and the third one is trying to pick up the pieces, self-reflection and the hangover.

“What I really wanted to do was write real power-pop kind of music that had that old Green Day energy, so the original Green Day sound became “¡Uno!” I was also writing this garage-y stuff that was kind of like [Green Day side project] Foxboro Hot Tubs. The third record was a bit more reflective and internal. Writing records like that comes with life and experience – shooting from the midlife-crisis hip.”

Cavallo says the songs were recorded in order 90% of the time, which he says results in a band approaching songs differently based on knowing where they will land on a particular album. Light and powerful as “¡Uno!” is, it’s highly likely than when “¡Dos!” is released, much will be made of its solemn closing track, “Amy.”

Armstrong says the tribute to Amy Winehouse took him less than 20 minutes to write. “I felt like there was this connection with R&B of the past and R&B of the present. What she did, her knowledge of old music and old Motown, it’s something in the chain of music that is gone forever. She never got the help she needed. I know what it’s like to go down a really dark path and I have had good people around me to help me survive. Maybe that’s why I was able to relate to it.”

“¡Tré!” also has a song based on a person’s life, which Armstrong was able to use for inspiration and reflection: “Little Boy Named Train.” Armstrong’s son was a schoolmate in Berkeley with a boy who was being raised by two women.

“One of the parents was born a hermaphrodite and [his parents] cut off the penis. His/her whole life, this person wanted to be acknowledged as a man. The parents wanted the child to not be identified as a boy or a girl, and the child didn’t really have a name – one week it’s Tigger, another it’s Train. Many years ago I wrote it down and I always wanted to write a song called ‘Little Boy Named Train.’ It happened to someone else, but there’s a part of me I was thinking about when I wrote it. There’s a line: ‘I’m always lost, I’ll never change. Give me directions and I’m lost again.’ Kind of autobiographical.”

Cavallo and Tortella feel particularly inspired by the Green Day triple play. The timing of the releases plays to strengths in promotional opportunities (see story, above) and both executives see enough stylistic and lyrical differences among the three albums to generate conversation among rock fans.

“Billie thinks really big,” Cavallo says. “He’s an exciting writer, an exciting performer. I wish we had more like him in the world. We’d have a more exciting industry.”••••

Read more at http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/magazine/features/green-day-how-the-year-s-most-ambitious-1007554552.story#bc7261rMyJzJKxi3.99

Webster Hall sound tech Somer Bingham joins the cast of Showtime’s The Real L Word – Entertainment Weekly

Showtime’s docu-reality series The Real L Word was renewed for a third season last fall, and now the cable network is ready to reveal the show’s premiere date and, more importantly, the details on the season’s cast, which EW has here exclusively in the form of the official cast photo, as well as cast bios and a video teaser below.

The Real L Word returns to Showtime with new episodes on Thursday, July 12, at 10 p.m. Just like last year, there are cast changes. Claire, Francine, and Sajdah — regulars last year — have been jettisoned in favor of new mainstays Sara and Lauren in Los Angeles and Kiyomi, Somer, and Amanda, the trifecta representing show’s new expansion into New York City. Past cast members Whitney, Romi, and married couple Cori and Kacy will return.

Series creator Ilene Chaiken had this to say when the third season was announced: “We think it’s time to throw down and invite the women of New York to join in and demonstrate the claims they’ve lobbed at us these past few years…that New York’s women have something more to say about lesbian life, something that isn’t being said by our Los Angeles ladies. Bring it on, Brooklyn!”

Agnostic Front keeps touring, playing ‘Live @ CBGB’ set @ CBGB Fest show w/ Madball & Murphy’s Law – BROOKLYN VEGAN

Agnostic Front are celebrating their 30th anniversary by playing the 1989 LP Live at CBGB on select dates, including at their recent shows in Long Island or Asbury Park. They’ll do it again in NYC at Webster Hall on July 5th with support from Madball, Murphy’s Law and Maximum Penalty. Tickets are on sale for the show which is one day before the Cro-Mags/Sick of it All show at the same space. Both shows are part of the the CBGB Festival which has badges of its own and which also recently added a Superchunk/Redd Kross show to its growing schedule.

Start the beatdown week with the Blood for Blood show at Highline Ballroom on June 30th. Tickets are on sale for that as well, and it also features The Unseen, Wisdom in Chains & Cruel Hand. Blood for Blood will also hit Club Lido in Revere, MA on June 29th.

Murphy’s Law‘s Webster Hall appearance is one of at least two for the NYC band in the near future; they will also board the Half Moon as part of a Rocks Off boat cruise on August 12th. Tickets are on sale for what is basically an annual party on the sea (as long as the cops don’t intervene)

– Brooklyn Vegan (source)

UEFA Euro 2012: New York City’s Best Bars To Watch The Matches – ZAGAT GUIDE

Uefa Euro 2012 New York City 

Dutch midfielder Stijn Schaars gestures surrounded by teammates during a training session at the Reymana Stadium in Krakow on june 06, 2012 before the opening Euro 2012 football championships. Photo: ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/GettyImages)

The 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, the world’s second-best soccer tournament behind the World Cup, kicks off Friday, June 8th in Poland and the Ukraine.

In New York this means legions of the city’s soccer fans will find ways to skip out of work (because of the time difference, games here will be played at noon and 2:45 PM) and slip into a bar. Thankfully, there are many, many watering holes in New York that will be opening early for the games. Check out our 10 best places below. This is going to be great.

(For a full tournament schedule, go here.)


Where: Now at Webster Hall. 125 East 11th Street between 3rd and 4th Avenue.

Any serious soccer fan in New York, knows Nevada Smith’s, “where football is religion.” Now in a new location less than a block away, stand shoulder to shoulder with fans from across the world. Nevada Smith’s will be playing all the games, all day, everyday.

– Zagat Guide (source)

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