The Black Flamingo, Williamsburg’s newest venue/restaurant, opened in early June and is aiming to differentiate itself from other electronic-music clubs in the area by offering a more intimate and casual experience — and one with a keen focus on sound fidelity.
“To have a 70-person basement is very different than what they’re doing,” says Black Flamingo’s musical director, Eli Goldstein, in regard to nearby clubs such as Output and Verboten. “We’re not trying to book the biggest DJs. We’re really just trying to have it be based around cool music and a lot of great local New York DJs and a really diverse musical lineup.”
Goldstein met Black Flamingo co-owner David Shapiro in 2011 at Burning Man, and the two reconnected when Goldstein moved to New York from Boston last year. Shapiro also owns the Caribbean-inspired restaurant Battery Harris in Brooklyn. Alongside partners Etan Fraiman, Philipp Jung, and Gadi Mizrahi, Shapiro began plotting the new club and enlisted Goldstein to help on the creative side with talent booking. Although this is the first time Goldstein has worked as a music director for a club, he’s performed all over the world with his DJ and production duo, Soul Clap.
“When we first started playing New York, we’d play these basement bars in the Lower East Side, like Stay,” recalls Goldstein. “And it’s kind of like the same thing we’re going for [at Black Flamingo]: Go there, enjoy yourself, and don’t really focus on a big name, but just good music.”
The restaurant side of Black Flamingo offers a Latin-inspired vegetarian menu created by Andrea Lubrano, and the kitchen remains open until 11 p.m.
Black Flamingo opened its doors on June 6 with a Razor-n-Tape-presented event that featured the L.A. duo POOLS alongside DJs JKriv and Aaron Dae. Goldstein is excited to have local DJs Justin Strauss and Eli Escobar on board for residencies, and has tapped local restaurateur Felipe Mendez, owner of La Superior and Cantina Royal in Brooklyn, to spin his collection of world music once a month. There is no cover charge for entering the venue, which Goldstein says goes hand in hand with his programming: “People can casually go and not worry about having to pay — just go and hear the music.”
While other clubs might focus on providing the loudest top-of-the-line sound systems, Goldstein takes pride in the wooden, analog Klipsch La Scala speakers, perfect for vinyl.
At the entryway leading into the basement (which is shaped like a flattop V), the wood paneling used was, according to Goldstein, clipped from the walls of the bygone Marcy Hotel, the popular Brooklyn underground event space that closed its doors last year. It joined the ranks of North Brooklyn’s fallen venues: 285 Kent, Death by Audio, Glasslands. But Goldstein is confident that Black Flamingo offers the neighborhood something unique.
“I think that right now the sound [in] clubs is very much orientated towards this kind of European house/techno,” he says. “There’s a really strong techno underground in New York, but there’s not really an eclectic venue in Brooklyn.” Black Flamingo is here to change that.