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Elsewhere celebrates first anniversary in Brooklyn with new Loft space renovation

There's been "a million" learning moments taking on a task like this, Elsewhere's co-owner says.

Elsewhere is celebrating one year in Brooklyn.

Elsewhere is celebrating one year in Brooklyn.  Photo Credit: Elsewhere

One year ago on Halloween, Jake Rosenthal was shuffling to put the finishing touches on what was about to become Brooklyn’s newest indie music venue.

“It was frantic. We were still installing sound systems the night before, tuning everything. We were last-minute decorating, trying to get the vibe right, the sound right,” says Rosenthal, the co-owner of Elsewhere, on the border of Williamsburg and Bushwick. “It was just total insanity.

Exactly 365 days later, he’s ready to do it all over again, celebrating the multiroom venue’s first anniversary with another sold-out Oct. 31 bash and special weekend performances headlined by Awesome Tapes From Africa (Nov 2) and Dennis Ferrer (Nov. 3).

“It’s definitely a different experience now, but every week has its own challenges. It’s funny to say, but a year still feels like we’re a day old,” he says.

The venue, from the former owners of Williamsburg’s Glasslands “partyhaus” (Rosenthal and Rami Haykal) and Dhruv Chopra, looked to give back to the community by providing a launchpad for local artists and singers.

Fighting the borough’s rising rents, the venue managed to create a name for itself early on, hosting 600 total events, including performances by Charli XCX and New York’s Princess Nokia in its Hall and Zone One spaces. It launched its own art program, Landscape, using a portion of ticket sales to commission seasonal artwork to exist in the venue.

And at the end of year one, Elsewhere raised more than $50,000 to help fund local art projects and cover artists’ supply costs, Rosenthal says.

“Since the beginning, these things were all interlinked for us. It’s pretty hard-wired for us that our goal is to give back to the community through these types of projects,” adds Rosenthal. “We’re one of the few independent music venues, esp at this size, left. And to do so is very challenging if you’re not accepting large amounts of money for corporate sponsorships, which larger venues do.”

There’s been “a million” learning moments taking on a task like this, he adds.

Since getting to know the audience, the team has decided to relaunch Elsewhere’s second-floor Loft space this November with a redone layout that includes a DJ booth so it can accommodate smaller parties.

“We just felt like that space needed a change and we realized people were naturally gravitating toward that space during events because it’s cozy and has a good vibe,” Rosenthal explains. “We’ll soon have four dance floors in the venue.”

Looking ahead, Rosenthal says he expects the venue to continue to thrive in the area, despite the looming L train shutdown.

“When I first heard about it, I was a little more concerned about it than I am now,” he says. “With the nightlife, Brooklyn has developed in the last 10 years or so, I get the sense most of the people we’re serving at Elsewhere are already local.” 

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