By Patrick Hedlund
DNAinfo News Editor
EAST VILLAGE — Don't expect to find the latest indie-rock sensation dousing the audience in beer at the just-announced new music venue on Avenue A.
The forthcoming concert space and restaurant near the corner of East 3rd Street is instead hoping to promote the kind of experimental performances not easily found among the neighborhood's numerous rock venues, explained Todd Patrick, aka Todd P, the club's creative consultant and general manager. Experimental performances push the boundaries of musical genres, involving unorthodox and often improvised sounds and methods.
"It'll be a place that really tries to cater to the curatorial model that's about downtown avant-experimentalism," he said, noting that it wouldn't be odd to see Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore putting on a free-jazz performance, or avant-garde composers Glenn Branca or John Zorn on stage. "It's definitely not a rock club."
A partnership led by Patrick and 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, last home to the beer-pong-boasting bar Aces & Eights and Hartman's performance space Mo Pitkin's before that.
The brain trust behind the operation, including musician Mike House of the band Team Robespierre, is currently trying to form a "curatorial committee" of musical luminaries to handpick the venue's programming.
"It's not meant to be a cool-kids place," Patrick said, adding that the club's aesthetic would be more "Mad Men" than garage grunge.
The space's downstairs restaurant will also play an integral role in the new venture, with plans to serve traditional Mexican seafood dishes from the Pacific Coast states of Sinaloa and Jalisco, and a big-name chef expected to run the kitchen, Patrick said.
The venue, whose still-undecided name would reflect that Mexican cuisine, could open as early as May, with the performance space expected to be ready by mid-June, he added.
The partners still need to clear the community board hurdle in their bid for a liquor license, and they will try to convince the notoriously fickle CB3 of their merits next week.
The address's leaseholder Jevan Damadian — whose bar Aces & Eights was shuttered last year for lack of permits — has ceded all creative control to his other partners in a bid to make amends for the mismanagement by a former partner at Aces & Eights, Patrick said.
The idea for the new venue was conceived when Damadian stood outside on Avenue A to solicit new ideas for the space, and wound up meeting Mike House, a longtime East Villager and good friend of Patrick's.
"It's the kind of thing the East Village should be about," Patrick said, noting the venture represents a more mature step forward for the promoter, who's earned wide acclaim for championing indie music. "Our intentions are quite sincere."
As for the programming, Patrick believes it's a perfect fit for a neighborhood that gave birth to so many experimental movements over the years.
"The neighborhood could use a place that sort of amplifies and celebrates the very rich avant culture that came out of the East Village," he said. "I want to create a place that has a sustainable, historic value."