Sometimes it seems as if there’s a new bar or club opening in New York City every week (there is), and that the institutions—whether dives like Subway Bar and Smith’s Bar in Times Square, or longtime music performance venues like CBGBs—are vanishing. But at least one creaky music and dance spot, The Pyramid Club on Avenue A, is still at it after 35 years. On October 28, the club partnered with Stolichnaya Vodka and the brand’s new “Professor of The Party,” rocker Andrew W.K. to celebrate The Pyramid, Avenue A and Stoli’s new campaign TheSceneByStoli.
“The Pyramid Club is an icon of nightlife entertaining,” W.K. told the crowd while a video wall showed footage of past performers who have appeared at the club and 1980s footage of Avenue A. The rocker said he and Stoli “have been up and down Avenue A talking to partners and bartenders about the legacy of the party here.” The vodka brand is celebrating 40 years in the U.S. by highlighting 10 “party streets” over the next year, beginning with Avenue A. You can follow and participate in the coverage at stoli.tumblr.com
DJing for the invite-only crowd was Andy Rourke, bassist for legendary ‘80s band “The Smiths” (currently nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). “I lived around here for six years,” he told Examiner. “When you see legendary places close down, like CBGBs, it’s quite disappointing. So it’s nice to see a place like this keep going on.” In recent years, Rourke has brought his own vibe to the party as a DJ. “It’s something I just kind of fell into,” he says. “It’s very self-indulgent. No requests. Tonight you’ll hear a lot of rock-and-roll, we’re going to juice it up in here.”
Also attending: Lady Bunny, a mainstay of the NYC drag scene and co-founder of Wigstock, a 30-year-old NYC party in its own right. Actor Taye Diggs (“How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” “The Good Wife”) who got his start in the musical “Rent,” set in Alphabet City of the 1980s, not far from where the Pyramid Club still resides. “It’s part of the reason I wanted to come tonight,” said Diggs. When Examiner mentioned that Andrew W.K. preaches that partying can and should be a positive, Diggs noted “there’s so much pleasure to the party, it might as well be a positive thing.”
Diversity and acceptance may seem fairly mainstream concepts now, but when The Pyramid Club opened its doors in 1979, the gay and drag scene were still largely underground. Large clubs like Studio 54 were dominating the spotlight as disco shifted to New Wave, Hip-Hop and the sounds of the ‘80s, but while it, CBGB, the Limelight and other bright lights of the NYC party scene faded into memory, The Pyramid Club keeps on keepin’ on. “The Pyramid Club is almost a magical castle, in this idea that it represents diversity and this incredible acceptance,” says Andrew W.K. “It has been host to so many amazing people and performers over the years,” said Andrew W.K. “Debbie Harry, RuPaul, Andy Warhol, The Red Hot Chili Peppers. The list goes on and on.”
“As the Professor of Party, I’ve been put in a position to recognize not only New York, but also the SceneByStoli that exists all over the country,” he said. “We are looking forward to, of course, showcasing Avenue A, but using this as a jumping off point to invite people to tell us what other scenes we should investigate around the country.”
To celebrate the club (and all of Avenue A which has evolved into a new kind of party destination, with craft cocktail bars and hipster taco spots positioned next to long-standing dives and delis), Stoli offered up three cocktails for the evening: The Freaky Styley (Stoli, ginger beer, lime juice); the Lucky Star (Stoli Ohranj, cranberry juice and club soda); and the Lithium (Stoli Blueberi, lemonade and fresh blueberries), arguably the most popular drink of the night.
The Pyramid Club is located at 101 Avenue A between 5th and 6th Streets. Must be 21 or older to enter. Follow Stoli Vodka’s ongoing TheSceneByStoli, highlighting party street throughout the country through 2015, at stoli.tumblr.com
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