On April 12, St. Vitus—the metal outpost in Greenpoint—turned one year old, but the birthday celebration went down between April 23 and April 28. Bands, cartoons, go-go girls, celebrities, sacrilege, and a metal magician were in attendance.
“It was chaos,” says bartender and co-owner Justin Scurti.
In 2011, when Scurti, Arthur Shepherd, and George Souleidis opened Saint Vitus—named both for the Black Sabbath song and the doom metal band—they just wanted to run a successful business. “We never planned on being a full venue,” Scurti says, “and we never planned on being a full-on metal bar. It just sort of happened. It’s who we are and what we like.”
Judging by the number of regulars present the Monday after the events and by the four sold-out shows the week before, metalheads have given the bar the horns-up stamp of approval. We asked around for the top ten most metal moments of the anniversary week.
10. Tuesday Night Kill ‘Em All Karaoke
This is a weekly happening at Saint Vitus, but April 24 was made extra-special by the bar’s neighbors. “The staff of Champion Coffee came out and sang ‘Cherry Bomb’—very provocatively,” revealed Scurti. The Runaways might not quite be metal, but baristas gone bad definitely are.
9. Laser Lights for Sunset Strip Saturday
Hosting Sunset Strip Saturday, a weekly party with ’80s glam metal and dancing on the bar, was one of the main goals Scurti, Shepherd, and Souleidis had when they opened Saint Vitus. For the anniversary, they introduced lighting effects that made Saturday a highpoint. “We had lasers,” says DJ Christine. “Lasers, smoke, and Mötley Crüe in one night. What more could you want?”
8. Young Widows
Kentucky post-hardcore band Young Widows kicked off the week with a sold-out show Monday night. “They were awesome,” says Scurti. “The sound was great, and they brought their own lights.” They were also the first to perform in front of the huge Saint Vitus logo on the wall behind the stage, newly painted by Karolyn Holland.
7. Primitive Weapons
Also playing on Monday Night were Brooklyn’s Primitive Weapons. While the stage-diving was very metal, a few of the audience members weren’t: the U.K. dance/pop boy band The Wanted were spotted among the crowd. (Meanwhile, they were live-tweeting the countdown of their self-titled EP, which was released at midnight.) Apparently they dig heavy music. Who knew?
6. Hardcore Wednesday
Hardcore Wednesdays are always a slammin’, but DJs Ben Koller (Converge) and Jim Carroll (Hope Conspiracy, Pure Love) took this one to a new level. The consensus is that this was not just one of the best nights of the week, but one of the best of the last year.
5. Stained-Glass Jesus Lights
Some might say that Saint Vitus is too clean to be a metal bar, but regular Paul Martino disagrees. “I hate the idea that metal has to be in a run-down, grungy place,” he says, and compares it to metal bars in Scandinavia. The new overhead stained-glass Jesus lights, originally from a church, were salvaged from an antique flea market in Massachusetts and installed for the anniversary. They bring an unholy glow to the well-polished atmosphere.
Black metal band Inquisition played sold-out shows on Thursday and Friday. “I’ve been waiting to see these guys probably fifteen years now,” says Martino, “and they just destroyed it. They were amazing. The vibe was raw, really energetic. The crowd loved it.” Inquisition stuck around after hours on Thursday for a Rush listening party with the owners.
3. Rob from Anthrax Comes Here Often
Rob Caggiano, lead guitarist of Anthrax, is a regular at Saint Vitus. He stopped in a couple times during the anniversary festivities. ‘Nuff said.
2. Cannabis Corpse Merch
Cannabis Corpse, who played Saturday night, officially have the best merch Saint Vitus has ever seen—including a light-up Pope John Paul statue defaced with King Diamond make-up. (Told you there was sacrilege.)
1. Metalocalypse Party
Everyone we spoke to agrees that the most metal event of the week was the unofficial Metalocalypse season premiere party on Sunday. Albert Cadabra of Ripley’s Believe It or Not co-hosted with organizer Smo. The menu featured Dethklok-themed drink specials like the Pickles Back and The Doctor Rockzo. Entertainment included go-go girls Apathy Angel and Dangrrr Doll, DJ Nithallica, and metal magician Nigel “Magic Brian” Blackstorm.
Saint Vitus may not have started out as a metal bar, but after this one-year anniversary, perhaps it should adopt as its motto the eternal words of Dethklok’s Nathan Explosion: “We will make everything metal. Blacker than the blackest black, times infinity.”