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Top of the hops! New music venue set for old brewery

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Three former music executives at the Knitting Factory will open a cavernous indie music venue in a former 19th-century brewery on Meserole Street.

The new venue, called “The Wick,” will be the ground floor of the former Hittleman Brewery near Bushwick Avenue — a building that already houses several music-related companies, including an equipment shop, a rehearsal space and a music-focused radio station.

That’s what attracted General Manager Joshua Richholt, talent booker of the moment Chris White and operations manager Shay Vishawadia.

“The building is sort of a Mecca for musicians,” said Richholt. “If they want to rehearse overnight or have a studio session, they can go down to the recording studio. A touring band can come through here and not need to go anywhere else.”

The plan calls for a main stage and a bar that can hold 400 and 700 people. It could open as early as this summer.

There’s plenty of local competition, as high rents in Manhattan have encouraged many new venues to open in Brooklyn — including the Knitting Factory itself. But Richholt believes his space will attract musicians gravitating away from “Walmart-style” places with corporate backing (not that he was talking about the Music Hall of Williamsburg, of course).

Richholt is convinced that he’ll draw an eclectic mix of acts as well as high-caliber rock talent thanks to White’s connections in the industry.

Plus, rocking out in a former brewery adds more than just the stench of authenticity.

“You come into the space and say, ‘Wow! Amazing!’” said Richholt. “Aside from being built to be a brewery, it was made to be a venue. They even have kegs built into the walls!”

Community leaders are equally excited that someone is finally using the ground floor of the building, which has served as storage space intermittently for decades.

“I don’t like empty commercial buildings left alone,” said Community Board 1 Public Safety Committee Chairman Mieszko Kalita, whose panel supported a liquor license last week. “I hope they can make proper use of the building. Hopefully they can breathe some life into it.”

Updated 5:21 pm, January 12, 2011: Updated to clear up confusion about what Richholt said or did not say about the Music Hall of Williamsburg. To be clear, he did not say ANYTHING specific about the Music Hall of Williamsburg.
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Reader Feedback

Joey from Clinton Hills says:
don't forget Shay!
Jan. 10, 2011, 10:51 am
gimme from around says:
and then the surrounding rent will keep climbing wickedly
Jan. 10, 2011, 9:40 pm
Bill from Williamsburg says:
Music Hall of Williamsburg is not corporate-backed or "Wal-Mart Style"'
Jan. 11, 2011, 3:43 pm
Joshua from Bushwick says:
Youre absolutely right, Bill from Williamsburg, the MHOW was not what I was making reference to when I mentioned Walmart to Aaron during this interview. I was actually making reference to Live Nation and their effect on independent venues being much like Walmart's effect on independent stores.
However, I do really appreciate Aaron writing this article and giving us some publicity! Thanks again.
Jan. 11, 2011, 8:21 pm
Brandon from Ridgewood says:
Umm, this is NOT in Bushwick, by any historic or current definition. Nice try at "cred"/marketing. The reverse border-creep is getting ridiculous.
Jan. 16, 2011, 11:14 am
L. from Williamsburg says:
so if he wasn't talking about music hall of williamsburg, why not take that part out? it seems like the writer is taking a jab at music hall of williamsburg for absolutely no reason. music hall of williamsburg was never mentioned in the article prior and this seems completely out of place. why not just write "cats run wild in bushwick!" it would have contributed just as much to the article as the jab at MHOW. a correction/explanation at the bottom is not necessary; removing the sentence and perhaps educating the author on how to write articles would be a better way to go about it.
Jan. 23, 2011, 12:18 pm

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