Monday, December 10, 2018

New owners set to take over the 33-year-old Sidewalk Bar & Restaurant on Avenue A

[EVG photo from November]

A new ownership team is on this month's CB3-SLA agenda for the Sidewalk, the 33-year-old bar-restaurant-live-music venue on Avenue A at Sixth Street.

The applicants are hospitality veterans Laura Saniuk-Heinig and Alyssa Sartor. (Saniuk-Heinig is the general manager at the Bar Room on East 60th Street; Sartor co-owned August Laura in Carroll Gardens.)

The questionnaire on file at the CB3 website (PDF here) describes the food/menu concept as "American bistro."

Live music, a longstanding tradition here, will apparently continue.

"We are looking forward to keeping the music aspect of the room still alive. Exactly what kinds of shows, we do not know yet," Saniuk-Heinig told me via email.

And will they keep the Sidewalk name? "We are in talks with the current owner, but no decision has been made," she wrote.

Sidewalk opened in the corner spot in 1985 ... eventually expanding to the space next door when Sophie's relocated to its current home on Fifth Street.

The biannual Antifolk Festival has been held here since 1993. The music venue has helped launch the careers of singer-songwriters like Regina Spektor, Adam Green, Kimya Dawson and Jeffrey Lewis. The Sidewalk still hosts live music, open mic nights (one of the longest-running ones in the city) and reading series seven days a week.

Sidewalk underwent a full renovation in 2011. Amnon Kehati, one of the Sidewalk partners, died in February 2015 at age 64.

The committee meeting starts tonight at 6:30. Location: The Perseverance House Community Room, 535 E. Fifth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B.

[Photo from 1997 by Dave Buchwald]


Unknown said...

It is *the* longest running open mic in the United States. We're hoping it doesn't get axed otherwise someone will have to try and find a new home for it.

NYC Music lover said...

I can't count the number of great performances I've seen there. It's been a songwriter's hub and local institution for so long, I hope some degree of continuity remains.

Anonymous said...

hope they work on the food menu. Last year my friends and I had the nachos. 15mins later we felt like an alien was gonna pop out of our stomachs.

peter dizozza said...

did the sidewalk owners sell the building too?

Anonymous said...

So sad, so many good memories. Hope they don't change much...

veloci vixen said...

I work there and have for the past 8 years. I sincerely hope the staff doesn't need to apply elsewhere as a holiday gift. We haven't been told much tbh, but I'm looking forward to meeting the new owners and managers. Hopefully it will go smoothly and no one is out of income for the holidays. We all bust our asses there and some of us have worked there for even longer than myself. I hope the music venue continues to live on, it's great to have part of nyc history living on in the les.

Grieve said...

No change in building ownership. Public records show that 94-96 Avenue A bought it in 2001 for... $498,000.

Anonymous said...

I hope that the new owners recognize the asset they have in the thousands of performers who have deep connections to Sidewalk because of its music scene. It is a central hub for an extensive community of artists who greatly value the creative space that has been provided there. Several of these artists have become celebrated in their own right but many more have just appreciated having a place to build a community of friends and collaborators and express what they yearn to say. Over the years the performers there have also been customers. If this community was embraced and nurtured it could form a loyal existing base of diners that would help a new establishment get quickly off the ground and spread word about it.

chance bliss said...

i live in carroll gardens (and used to live in the east village) and met alyssa, one of the new owners, several times when she owned the bar august laura back in the day. she was a friendly-face to encounter upon each visit, always had time for a chat, made good drinks and kept the crowd in order.

august laura occupied a much smaller space than sidewalk café, sitting on court street but a bit off the beaten path, so it catered mostly to locales. i can only say nice things about her, and was sad to see the bar close when it did.