Mini Rex Sober Karaoke Still Missing in Action
Nearly three years later, the Mini Rex/Juicebox Heroes sober karaoke concept is still missing in action.
The fall 2018 opening, and later, a targeted winter debut, did not pan out. Spring bloomed and summer sweltered and still no launch on Ludlow Street.
Much of the delay, at least initially, was owed to outspoken area opposition to the issuance of a full on-premise liquor license. Community Board 3 denied the Mini Rex application in April 2017, due in part to confusion over how segregating those who drink (the Mini Rex half) from those who don’t (the Juice Box Heroes half) would even work. Principals Edouard Gave and Karin Elgai instead took the concept directly to the State Liquor Authority where a 500-foot ruling ultimately broke in their favor. Yet the full license is still pending.
Apparently the team is now only waiting on all its inspections.
In the meantime, mainstream press periodically publishes puffy lifestyle pieces about sober bars cropping up around the city.
“I really hope more bars come up and say, ‘Hey, sober people need options too,’” Elgai told Vice earlier this year. “We’re done hanging out in diners.”
The Mini Rex crew explained their pun-heavy, dual karaoke concept thusly in a prior Facebook post:
Mini Rex and Juicebox Heroes are supportive and collaborative entertainment venues which offer the diverse community of the lower east side options. For the performance enthusiast the dual entrance space revolves around the level playing field of Karaoke, the accessible main level to become ADA compliant for the accommodation of all patrons regardless of their physical dexterity- an option sorely needed in New York. This venue is judgement free, a champion for its twenty-one and older clientele, and their choices- including a sober lifestyle. A discreet stamp at the door denotes the legal age requirement for entry and the visitors choice to imbibe, or not to. The interior further supports this choice with a plethora of alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, and different zones, Mini Rex which contains the bar and the Juicebox Heroes side which is alcohol free.
Mini Rex and Juicebox Heroes will operate within all zoning regulations, including business hours- out of respect to our commercial and residential neighbors. Quarterly, it will conduct a clothing swap, a sustainable practice that builds a sense of community and generates clothing donations to the nearby Bowery Mission. It continues it’s support of the sober lifestyle choices of LES residents by working with the local AA chapter and providing a 5x weekly meeting space via second entrance during non-operating hours. Additionally, it supports the community and respects the quintessential LES culture by serving as a platform for local art through the commission of multi-medium/artists work throughout the interior spaces.