On Tuesday, a flare regarding the future of the Park Slope venue Southpaw went up via Twitter: “I cant believe I’m writing this but, Southpaw will be closing its doors for good Feb. 20th,” wrote @TheGreatHustler, a member of the Park Slope venue’s booking and marketing department. “The venue has been sold.” The news spread online with the appropriate head-shakings and tsk-tskings and worried blog posts, but there was no official word from the venue’s owners—the website was operating in business-as-usual mode—until today, when The Brooklyn Paper reported that the venue would be shutting down and the space would be transformed into one offering “academic tutoring and rock climbing for tots.”
“I’m kind of over Park Slope—it’s not a destination for nightlife anymore,” Mike Palms, co-owner of Southpaw, told the Paper. “It’s time to go.” (UPDATE: Sound of the City spoke to co-owner Matt Roff late Thursday.) Palms and Roff own a host of other nightlife spots in other parts of Brooklyn, including Williamsburg’s Public Assembly; the Paper intimates that those areas of the borough that are “less family-centric” will be focused on more intently by the partners.
This is a shame on multiple levels: Southpaw’s just the latest closure in what’s been a pretty brutal time for local music venues, both DIY and “legit”; and even though Park Slope was somewhat far-flung from the Williamsburg/Bushwick cluster of venues, Southpaw’s booking of both live music and DJ nights was robust and eclectic enough to warrant the extra half hour or so on the subway, not to mention an excuse to hit up other businesses in the area for drinks or dinner. And it brings up a bunch of questions, too: Will Public Assembly take on the regular DJ nights and parties that took place at Southpaw? Will not-so-far venues like Union Hall, the Rock Shop, and the Bell House pick up the bands from all over the musical map that played on the venue’s stage? (Only the Bell House rivals Southpaw’s main room in terms of capacity and size.) And will the tutoring center at least bring in the Willie Mae Rock Camp For Girls to honor the space’s former identity?