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Midtown Nightclub to Change Name Again Amid Rebranding Effort

By Alan Neuhauser | August 9, 2013 9:58am
 Rebel NYC on West 30th Street, which attracted a host of noise complaints before it closed in the spring of 2013, is being reopened by the owner's nephew under the new name, Slake.
Slake Nightclub
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MIDTOWN — Name that nightclub.

The Wall, the Midtown nightclub formerly known as Rebel and managed by the 25-year-old son of Webster Hall owner Lon Ballinger, will soon be rechristened Slake as part of its latest rebranding effort. 

The club is changing its name next month due to copyright concerns, Ballinger and his son, Tom, said at a meeting of Community Board 5's Public Safety & Quality of Life Committee last week. The decided on the switch to avoid any conflicts with a nightspot in Miami with the same name.

"They approached us, and we figured we were really early into the process with everything, that it would be a bigger issue for us to push forward with same name than for us to change it," Tom Ballinger told DNAinfo New York. "Slake, the definition means to quench your thirst or fulfill your desire, which I thought was pretty appropriate for a nightclub."

The three-floor, 741-capacity club on West 30th Street opened in July, hosting live music and DJ sets on the weekends. It has a cover charge of $20, and plans to expand service to weekdays.

Neighbors had previously voiced a number of noise complaints about Rebel, which closed last spring. That club was run by Lon Ballinger's brother, Stephen. 

"The sound problem was hip-hop with very heavy bass," said Rich Pawelczyk, chief operating officer of Slake and Webster Hall Entertainment Corp. "It will be dance stuff with a lot less bass."

He added that Slake would also be expanding its security presence, from one bouncer for every 70 guests to one for every 50 — meaning anywhere from five to 15 security guards will be on-hand on any given night.

Neighbors, some of whom live or work directly above the club, welcomed the added security but said they were not convinced that a change in music genres will keep the bass from thumping through the building's walls and floors, not to mention crowd noise from revelers entering and exiting the club.

"My desk would actually skip on the floor from the music, and regardless of where the DJ booth is or what music's playing, it's not relevant to how loud the music actually is," said JR Guerrieri, who runs Acolyte electronics company above the club. "You can't hear yourself think."

William Otterson, who lives on the building's 14th floor and is vice president of the Midtown South Precinct Community Council, also said the club would need to do more to shield neighbors from sound.

"The whole building shakes from the bass they're producing," he said.

The Ballingers and Pawelcyzk promised to hire an engineer to explore possible sound-remediation options at the building. The results are expected to be delivered at the committee's August meeting, when the body will forward its recommendation on Slake's liquor license application to the State Liquor Authority.