Final Days to Support Parkside Lounge’s Campaign
It’s not just that the Parkside Lounge has one of the best vintage neon signs in the neighborhood. As one of the last remaining dive bars in a sea of luxe cocktail clubs, it’s also a true locals joint — offering cheap drinks and an incredibly diverse performance lineup in the retro (think high school prom) back room. Parkside has been operating for decades at 317 East Houston, at Attorney Street, where the nightlife tourists seldom dare to tread. The location has been continuously open as a bar since 1908.
Our friends at Lucky Ant (the LES-based crowdfunding startup) are helping to make sure Parkside sticks around for years to come. They’re in the final four days of a campaign to raise $10,000 to replace the stage in the back room, upgrade the sound system and add a second bar in the performance space.
The other day we stopped by the bar to talk with Chris Lee, who’s been the operating partner for a few years. Not so long ago, Parkside was saddled with debt and not doing so well, but Chris explained things are actually going really well now. But the bar’s revenues still can’t support this type of capital project. So Lucky Ant, which specializes in mobilizing locals to support beloved home-grown businesses, seemed like a great option.
The performance calendar at Parkside is nothing if not diverse. Lower East Side dj’s AndrewAndrew have a regular Tuesday night gig; musical performances range from acoustic rock to opera; there’s comedy, burlesque, trivia and even a New Orleans-style crawfish boil. As Chris noted, musicians like playing in the back room, not just because it’s an intimate space but also because the acoustics are surprisingly good. But, he said, they could be better; “I want this to be a place where bands are really proud to play.”
Chris noted that a lot of old LES bars have either faded away or transformed into something unrecognizable. “I have no desire to serve muddled cocktails for $15,” he added. “If it’s still going to be the Lower East Side, we need to keep this stuff… I’m afraid that if we don’t pay enough attention to what we have to offer, to put some money into it to bring it up, that it’s just gone.”
Fans of Parkside Lounge have contributed around $3500 so far, so there’s a big push in the final days of the campaign. Head on over to Lucky Ant for more details.