Southpaw to close; tutoring center will move in

Southpaw to close; tutoring center will move in
The Brooklyn Paper / Jeff Bachner

A long-standing Park Slope concert hall will close and become a tutoring school now that the hood caters more to kiddies than roadies, owners say.

Southpaw — the legendary music venue that hosted the likes of Patti Smith and Joan Jett — will close on Fifth Avenue and Sterling Place by the end of February, according to co-owner and music guru Mikey Palms.

“I’m kind of over Park Slope — it’s not a destination for nightlife anymore,” said Palms, who also owns Public Assembly NYC in Williamsburg. “It’s time to go.”

He said a firm called New York City Kids will soon replace the grocery store-sized house of music, offering academic tutoring and rock climbing for tots.

The shuttering of the music hall, coupled with an influx up kid-focused businesses such as Lullaby Baby on Fifth Avenue and Bumble Bee Day Care on Fourth Avenue, could be a sign that the neighborhood — which is already famous (or infamous) for being among the most child-focused in the city — is becoming even more of a mecca for moms and dads.

“We are seeing a lot more kid-centered things,” said Susan Fox, founder of Park Slope Parents. “But, you know, just because we’re ‘babyified’ doesn’t mean we don’t want good music.”

Southpaw opened in 2001 after Palms cut an unusual deal with the landlord.

“A crackhead and a prostitute were living above the venue and the owner told me, ‘If you can get ’em out, you can have the space,’” he said.

Palms claims he managed to make the tenants leave, explaining, “I have my ways — I’m from Brooklyn.”

Over the years, Southpaw drew big-name DJs, underappreciated indie bands and racy, genre-bending acts such as Big Freedia (which was a fun show, in case you missed it).

As families moved into the neighborhood and the street became less gritty, Palms began offering “kids shows” with upbeat daytime bands and even “a stroller check.”

But Park Slope property values increased, pushing out some of the artists who once frequented Southpaw, Palms said.

That’s part of reason he says he’ll hand over the lease and focus on nightlife in less family-centric areas such as Williamsburg.

But that neighborhood is changing too, Fox warned.

“Williamsburg is becoming Babysburg,” she said.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at [email protected] or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.