Next time you’re in Williamsburg and feel like going to a dance club that doesn’t serve cocktails for $19, a new viable option has arisen. JJ’s Hideaway just opened up in a small western nook of Williamsburg, right by the Wythe Hotel and Brooklyn Bowl, and is committed to being as fun and cheap as possible.
Featuring a retrospective atmosphere trying to recall a bygone era of post-punk (posters for 70’s/80’s Brit acts like The Slits, Brian Eno, and The Buzzcocks adorn the wall), a compact but attractive dance floor, and a drink selection where the most expensive option is $9, JJ’s Hideaway seems like some sort of anachronistic miracle for Williamsburg’s ever-consistent gentrification wave.
It’s an issue that JJ’s Hideaway’s owner, Daniel Cipriani, is all too familiar with. While the owner of several well-received restaurants in Brooklyn, such as Seawolf and The Ledge, Cipriani met a rough path when the 15-year lease came up on several of his Williamsburg properties. “I just couldn’t afford to renew the lease,” he explains. “Still, I got started here in Williamsburg back in the early 2000s, and really wanted to keep the riff-raff in the neighborhood.”
In many ways, JJ’s Hideaway is a culmination of Cipriani’s experience both as a business owner and a New Yorker. He played in several bands in the city’s hardcore scene during the 80’s, and had been trying to bring that aesthetic to JJ’s Hideaway. While he promises that the location will play a variety of music (including disco and hip-hop) the venue will also specialize in a lot of pre-New Wave music. Also, a friend of former Buzzcocks member Tony Barber, Cipiriani is already trying to get the punk icon to perform a DJ set in the near future.
Of course, what will pose more attractive for Williamsburg residents is the affordability of the venue. The bar offers a selection of sweet and delicious cocktails and frozen margaritas, all conveniently priced. Cipriani is also confident that they’ve already established a base of customers here. “There are a lot of people that work in the hotels around here that don’t want to spend too much money on a night on the dance floor,” Cipriani explains. “We opened the bar a little earlier than we intended to, and we saw we got plenty of interested parties coming to us to spend a night. Giant pink neon certainly helps too.”
Enraptured by this preliminary success, Cipriani promises that there will be plenty more attractions to come. “I’m in talk with a pole dancing school that wants to use the dance floor for lessons,” he explains. “We’re also looking into getting a night where stand-up comics perform here.”
While anyone that’s native to New York is probably fed up about hearing of rising costs in Brooklyn, it’s always reassuring to see a more fringe dive bar find a place nestled in one of the borough’s most gentrified areas.
More information on JJ’s Hideaway can be found here.