By Patrick Hedlund
DNAinfo News Editor
EAST VILLAGE — A planned new music venue on Avenue A shepherded by an influential concert promoter and longtime local businessman may bring a dose of downtown cool back to the East Village.
A group led by Phil Hartman, founder of the HOWL! Festival and the Two Boots Pizza chain, recently inked a lease on the three-story space at 34 Avenue A near East 3rd Street, last home to the beer-pong-boasting bar Aces & Eights and a performance space run by Hartman before that.
Hartman opened Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction at the location in 2005 but closed in late 2007 due to financial constraints.
"It would be wonderful to bring a music venue back," said Hartman, 55, who lives a block from the address and has a Two Boots outpost just a few storefronts away on Avenue A. "The community needs performance spaces so badly."
Hartman has partnered with some boldface names on the unnamed venue — calling himself only an "advisor-slash-cheerleader" for the project — who are aiming for the space to mirror other since-closed downtown hot spots like The Knitting Factory and Tonic.
Listed on the space's preliminary application for a liquor license is concert organizer Todd Patrick, aka Todd P, who's earned wide acclaim in the indie-rock community for promoting hundreds of bands and shows across the city.
One-time Aces & Eights owner Jevan Damadian, who has since cut ties with management at the controverisal former bar, and musician Mike House are also listed as a principals on the application.
"I hope these guys can pull it off," Hartman said, clarifying that the space will not seek to emulate Mo Pitkin's, which focused more on performance art than music. "I think their hearts are in the right place."
The 2,600-square-foot space will feature a restaurant on the ground floor and stage upstairs, with the capacity to hold about 150 people. Each floor will have a 20-plus-foot bar, as well as seating for nearly 60 throughout the venue, according to the application.
"I think the goal is to get it open as soon as possible," Hartman said, noting that the first stop is Community Board 3's liquor license committee, which will hear the application next week.
He hopes to take pointers from the community moving forward, explaining that Aces & Eights became a "stain on the neighborhood, and I think we all wanted to eradicate that."