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Bar in Pizzeria's Bakery Seeks Slice of Nightlife Scene

By Meredith Hoffman | September 4, 2013 6:42am
 Louis Schwadron and Dan Wender are starting Breadbox this Thursday.
Breadbox Opens Thursday Inside Monk Pizzeria
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WILLIAMSBURG — By day, the dough racks, oven and kneading machine in a Kent Street basement are in constant use as bakers turn out hot pizzas and fresh bread for Monk restaurant upstairs.

But by night those tools will transform — to "accessories" in a real "underground" club. 

Welcome to "Breadbox," where DJs spin on a wooden baking prep table and dancers twirl under black lights.

"People don't want to go to a bar that's a bar. They want to go to a bar that's a bakery," said the club's co-founder Dan Wender, whose popular DIY group Rinsed has thrown huge bashes in unexpected spots from an umbrella factory to a sailboat.

"How many bars are there in the city that are bars? Thousands...To [have a club] in an abnormal space, that's the drawing factor."

The club, opening Thursday next door to renowned Williamsburg waterfront venues Glasslands and 285 Kent, is meant not only to be a quirky creative setting — it's designed to offer top-notch live acts at no cost (unlike its more established neighbors, which charge a cover).

"There aren’t that many places where you can go hear free stuff," said co-founder Louis Schwadron, a musician who formerly played with the symphonic pop band Polyphonic Spree and has his own local group Sky White Tiger. "It's kind of like Glasslands when it first opened, it was a DIY place where you didn’t have the professional booking machine."

Staff from Glasslands and 285 Kent did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Schwadron, 34, who said the venue is "filling a hole" in the neighborhood, plans to curate a weekly Thursday live music night called "Ladyfingers" (to keep the bakery theme and because he loves the sweet biscuits). Wender will host the weekly Tuesday night parties, and the club will also be open Friday and Saturday nights.

"It's just enough of a bar that we can do it consistently," said Wender, 25, of the difference between Breadbox and his Rinsed parties.

Felipe Avalos, the owner of Monk, said he has the appropriate liquor license and permits to open Breadbox. He said the venture is a chance to draw clients without throwing down hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"You can put half-a-million dollars into a space and at the end of the day it's not going to look as cool," Avalos said. "People like something that's eclectic."

Breadbox opens Thursday with its first Ladyfingers party. More information can be found on the event's Facebook page.