National Underground Plans to Reopen, Bands Kvetch

Joey DeGraw hopes to reopen The National Underground tomorrow night.

In the six days since the city’s health department shut The National Underground down, Joey DeGraw has been up late cleaning out his walk-in cooler, installing new bathroom vents and caulking the floorboards of his stage. A crew of employees and volunteer NYC musicians who are regulars at his East Houston Street joint have rolled up their sleeves to help him tackle a list of violations that brought the club’s 75-shows-a-week business to a screeching halt. A re-inspection is scheduled for tomorrow; if it goes well, the music resumes tomorrow night. In the meantime, DeGraw doesn’t have a lot of time for complainers.

The National Underground Shut by Health Department

The National Underground, singer/songwriter Gavin DeGraw's rock lounge at 159 E. Houston St., was shuttered Friday by city health inspectors.

The National Underground, a popular rock and roots bar on East Houston Street, was shut down Friday by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, The Lo-Down has learned. Inspectors issued 71 violation points (a C grade), citing problems with food handling such as improper holding temperatures and the potential for contamination, as well as the presence of mice or the evidence of mice. The bar was cited for 10 violations, five of them ranked as “critical.” The lesser violations involved plumbing and structural issues.

A big yellow “Closed” sticker clung to the front door this afternoon, while workers were on site making improvements and renovations in a scramble to reopen as soon as possible.