If Bushwick is known for its vibrant art scene, hipster population and unapologetically Bohemian way of life, then you can’t get more Bushwick than the House of Yes.
The House of Yes is an eclectic performance venue and arts space located at 2 Wyckoff Ave. in Brooklyn that hosts practically every event imaginable: live music, fashion shows, theatrical performances, immersive movie screenings, dance parties, circus art workshops, brunch and much more. Over the years, it’s become one of the hottest spots for city nightlife and artistic expression.
Co-owner Anya Sapozhnikova has been running the venue alongside her partner Kae Burke since she was 19 years old. Now 30, Sapozhnikova says the House of Yes has remained true to New York City, often preferring local disc jockeys and NYC-based bands over big headliners. Even so, well-known music artists like Skrillex also make appearances at the House of Yes from time to time.
“The space really embodies a creative spirit that doesn’t say no to anything,” says Sapozhnikova, an aerialist, dancer and costume designer who often performs at the House of Yes.
The House of Yes is divided into three main spaces, each with a different vibe. When you first walk in, you'll find yourself in what's called "the front room," where many of the low-key dance parties and band nights take place. With diamond-shaped mirrors, dance poles, chandeliers, disco balls and stage lights, the front room feels like the back stage of a high school theater.(Credit: Wendy Lu)
Every room in the House of Yes holds a bar with a wide selection of beer, wine, spirits and non-alcoholic drinks, including Fever-Tree Ginger Beer. They also have drink specials, like bottomless mimosas for $20.
The House of Yes also has a delicious cocktail menu, with $13 options like the Christopher Oaxacan (pictured), which is made with mezcal, watermelon, lemon and sparkling wine.(Credit: Wendy Lu)
Next to the front room is the theater, which hosts movie screenings and shows like "Cloud Cuckooland," a theater performance inspired by ancient Greek tragedies that follows a girl who must choose between leaving her heart behind and becoming Queen of the Birds. (Credit: Wendy Lu)
The theater has a seating capacity of 150 people, and includes one of the three bars as well as an intimate seating area in the back with candles, tables and cushioned seats. Sapozhnikova says that certain vintage elements of the venue carry "speakeasy, burlesque cabaret vibes."
If you're in the audience, look closely around you. Even as there are performers on stage, the House of Yes is known for dancers who frolic amongst the audience and hang from the ceiling on metal structures for a more interactive experience. No matter where you look, there's always something to marvel at.(Credit: Wendy Lu)
With its 30-foot-high ceiling, the theater room also doubles as a grand dance floor. Many times, the House of Yes will bring out lasers, fog and other bells and whistles. The most recent Discotechnique dance party featured lettered balloons that spelled out YLALO or "You Live At Least Once," coined by Sir Kn8, a music artist from Brooklyn.
Sapozhnikova says having these multi-purpose rooms allows the directors to create drastically different environments in each room to fit whatever a partygoer might be feeling that night.(Credit: Wendy Lu)
Many House of Yes events focus on a certain theme, such as disco or back-to-school. More often than not, attendees will arrive wearing the most outrageously cool costumes to fit the event's theme.
"We really believe in the participatory culture of parties," Sapozhnikova says of costumes. "It's important to express yourself and also give when you're at an event. (It's about) intentionally coming together as opposed to, 'Here's my $20, now entertain me.'"(Credit: Wendy Lu)
In fact, costumes aren't just highly encouraged -- often, they're the only thing that can get you through the door if you're waiting outside.
"For parties that are super popular and have a line down the block, (we) physically pull people out that look amazing and bring them to the front of the line and they get in," Sapozhnikova says.
To be on the safe side, RSVP for events beforehand to guarantee entry (registration for events like dance parties is often, though not always, free).(Credit: Wendy Lu)
Forget to dress up? For attendees who decide to tag along with their friends at the last minute, the House of Yes will sometimes set up a "Beauty Parlor" where a hairdresser and makeup artist will get you looking snazzy in no time. (Credit: Wendy Lu)
Besides the front room and theater, there's an outdoor space called "the yard," where people can take a break from dancing and chat with friends instead. The yard is dressed in twinkling lights and, much like the rest of the House of Yes, features quirky decorations like Chinese terra cotta statues, stuffed animals and a metal bird cage with feathers on top. Many of these decorations were donated from the drama television show "Boardwalk Empire" (2010-2014).
And, yes, you're seeing just fine: There's also an old bathtub. For cinema nights and in-house variety shows, Sapozhnikova says the House of Yes will hold a raffle. Whoever wins the raffle gets to watch the show from the bathtub and enjoy free drinks. Sounds like a sweet deal.(Credit: Wendy Lu)
Needless to say, the House of Yes is a not-so-hidden gem of Bushwick (literally). Sapozhnikova says the jewels, pearls, glitz and "gold everything" are partly an extension of her and Burke's personality. (Credit: Wendy Lu)
While the House of Yes is known for nighttime parties, its Saturday brunch is also a big hit.
That's when the venue "changes costumes" and transforms from a nightclub to a relaxing daytime bar and restaurant. Sit back with a mimosa in hand and listen to cool tunes like "Every Breath You Take" by The Police and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones. Occasionally, they'll host themed brunches like jazz or disco brunch.(Credit: Wendy Lu)
Brunch takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Customer favorites on the brunch menu include the brioche French toast with fresh berries, candied walnuts and maple syrup and the avocado toast with crumbled feta. The smoked salmon Benedict with Hollandaise sauce, za'atar home fries and mixed greens is pretty good, too. (Credit: Wendy Lu)
Outside, the House of Yes looks like a regular painted brick building and you'd never be able to guess what goes on inside. If you're looking for a good time and a creative space to be the wildest, hippest version of yourself, there's never a dull moment at the House of Yes. (Credit: Wendy Lu)