The Dark Room to End Its 12-Year Tenure on Ludlow Street Imminently

Posted on: February 18th, 2016 at 5:00 am by

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The Dark Room, December 2011

The Dark Room is going, well, dark. The nightclub stalwart is reportedly leaving Ludlow Street after a dozen years on the block. For real this time.

Word on the street is that the Dark Room ownership is looking to cash out and depart 165 Ludlow for good. The news arrives just a little over a year after the State Liquor Authority sidelined the business for various infractions, including underage drinking, failure to supervise, occupancy concerns, and “cabaret” activities (dancing) without license. The resultant month-long suspension occurred January 2015 and resulted in a $22,500 penalty. (Then chairman Dennis Rosen called the Dark Room a “poster child” for bad operators that ruins communities.) There were also Department of Health-mandated closures, and of course, plenty of community pressure to respect the neighborhood.

Seems that the SLA is fed up, and that a revocation might not be too far behind.

The Dark Room opened in 2004 and became the focal point of the downtown rock scene. For a minute. Bands such as the Libertines and Interpol were known to throw after-parties there (Tarts of Pleasure DJ sets, too). But it became a quality-of-life problem for the block and surrounding community in the ensuing years. Talks of its demise bubbled to the surface periodically, but were usually exaggerated. Then in 2012, Michael Auerbach (No Fun) and James Woods (THOR) tried to install Bodega at 165 Ludlow, described at the time as “an old-school Lower East Side bodega meets a sophisticated and sexy speakeasy.”

Despite the controversy, the Dark Room soldiered on. But this time, it appears to be the end of the road. Can’t be too long before a replacement takes up the torch, as it were. But what a heaping pile of dog shit they’ll be stepping into. The property – owned by Ben Shaoul – is littered with a litany of building code violations.

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