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Williamsburg Punk Venue Don Pedro to Close After 16 Years, Manager Says

By Gwynne Hogan | March 14, 2017 2:11pm
 Don Pedros is closing on May 6, according to workers there.
Don Pedros is closing on May 6, according to workers there.
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WILLIAMSURG — Don Pedro, a 16-year-old dive of a music venue that began as a family-run restaurant and morphed over the years into a stage for heavy metal, punk, rock, goth and drag performers, will shut down in May, according to workers.

The venue's last day will be May 6, according to Don Pedro's bouncer Brian, who declined to give his last name but referred to himself as the "a--hole at the door." Manager Danielle Giaquinto, 31, confirmed the closing.

The owner of the 90 Manhattan Ave. building in which the venue is housed sold the property to a limited liability company for about $1 million on Dec. 21, 2016, records show. Lawyers for the new owner could not immediately be reached for comment.

Giaquinto said that she has been looking around Bushwick and Ridgewood for a place to relocate but hasn't had any luck so far.

"We definitely want to continue to be a venue, we're not settling for anything less," she said.

Longtime building owner Medardo Murillo opened Don Pedro in 2001 with partner Steven Solomon, according to Giaquinto and state business records. At first it was mostly an Ecuadorian restaurant staffed by Murillo's family, but over the years live performances became more and more important, Giaquinto said.

"Hip-hop shows, punk shows, burlesque, drag, everything," she explained. "It's always been special."

Murillo gave up control of the business around 2008, and Solomon got two friends involved who are now co-owners, Giaquinto explained. They couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Because Murillo had roots in East Williamsburg when he opened the restaurant, he's been able to bring in and keep Latino residents who'd historically called the neighborhood home, Giaquinto said.

"There's weird punk music playing and being blasted, but I can still have a cheap Tecate and sit at the bar and talk to these kids who are willing to talk to us," the manager explained. "They're not pretentious young professionals."

Don Pedro's upcoming closure adds to a growing list of shuttered local venues that include Shea Stadium (which said it will reopen once it solves permit issues) AvivThe AcheronPalisades and Standard ToyKraft.

Other closed venues that have pledged to reopen include Glasslands, which plans to open a venue called Elsewhere in the East Williamsburg industrial area this fall, and Secret Project Robot, which plans to relaunch in Bed-Stuy.