Joe's Pub

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Joe's Pub
Address 425 Lafayette Street
Location Manhattan, New York City, US
Coordinates 40°43′45″N 73°59′30″W / 40.729259°N 73.991772°W / 40.729259; -73.991772Coordinates: 40°43′45″N 73°59′30″W / 40.729259°N 73.991772°W / 40.729259; -73.991772
Owner The Public Theater
Type Music venue and night club
Opened October 1998
Construction cost $2.35 million

Joe's Pub at The Public Theater is a nightclub that hosts live performances. A non-profit operation, it is located at 425 Lafayette Street near Astor Place in Manhattan, New York City. It is named after Joseph Papp, the theatrical producer who established the New York Shakespeare Festival, The Public Theater and the free Shakespeare in the Park program in Central Park.

The venue is notable for being where Amy Winehouse and Adele made their U.S. headlining concert debuts.[1][2]


Joe's Pub opened on October 16, 1998 with an inaugural concert performed by Carl Hancock Rux.[3] Soon after, a reviewer for The New York Times wrote "You enter through the side door of the Joseph Papp Public Theater. Farther south on Lafayette Street, revolving doors admit patrons to the Public's various theatrical spaces, but here, on the outskirts, an iron-fenced portal offers entree to the theater's new nightclub."[4] He continued "But Joe's Pub is a much less lofty enterprise, carved as it is from ground-floor back-office space at the theater. The $2.35 million club is the result, in part, of a construction and renovation grant to the Public from city capital funds that includes refurbishment of the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. There were some doubters when the club opened in October who wondered whether the Public Theater could make a theater-night life alliance work. Six months later, according to George C. Wolfe, the producer of the Public, Joe's Pub "is actually doing better than I thought it would."[4] He also wrote "The club's programming is idiosyncratic: from ethnic music ensembles to spoken-word artists to the most promising young musical-theater composers and performers on the contemporary scene, the changing roster has generated an after-hours theatricality all its own."[4]

The Pub is known as one of New York City’s live showcase venues, catering to an eclectic mix of musical genres.[5] This defining feature of Joe's Pub – its extraordinary variety – was the vision of Public Theater Associate Producer Bonnie Metzgar and principal booking agent Bill Bragin, an aficionado of music in all forms and a world-music DJ in his own right. Bragin established relationships with artists that have made Joe's Pub a home-base for local, domestic, and international acts. In 2007,Bragin left Joe's Pub to work for Lincoln Center. Shanta Thake, Bragin's experienced assistant of many years, was unanimously given the head-booker position by the board of the Public Theater.[6][7]

Equipment and interior[edit]

The venue is equipped with theater-quality lighting and sound. During its formative years, the sound was engineered by Kurt Wolf, former punk-rock guitarist for Pussy Galore. The club established a reputation as having extraordinary sound during this time. When Wolf moved on to other projects, Jon Shriver, a technician who has worked with John Legend and The Notorious B.I.G., began doing the audio engineering. The sound quality at Joe's Pub remains at the top of the "best in NYC" short list among critical reviewers.[8]

Joe's Pub also serves as a bar and restaurant during performance hours (William Tilden, Executive Chef) and has earned a reputation as being a top romantic spot in New york City.[9]

The decor of Joe's Pub is the work of interior designer Serge Becker, the man behind many New York City hostspots, including La Esquina on Delancey Street. Patrons often note an accordion encased along the east wall of the Pub: Becker intended the design of the interior to be modeled after the accordion, from the striped, bee-pollen bar, to the strip lighting, to the exposed sound-proofing. Along the south wall, photographs of Joe Papp and famous colleagues are on display. One photo features a young Kevin Spacey, mustachioed in fur coat.[10]

Notable performers[edit]


  1. ^ "Joe’s Pub – Past, Present & Future". Pollstar. Retrieved February 3, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Another British Invader Arrives, Guitar in Hand". New York Times. Retrieved February 3, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Rux and Hendryx to Open Joe's Pub Oct. 16 After McDonald Falls Sick". Playbill. Retrieved December 14, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c Singer, Barry (April 18, 1999). "THEATER; At Joe's Pub, a Hip Club, Velvet Rope, Cigarette Smoke". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ Ben Sisario (July 16, 2008). "Ten Years For Joe's Pub". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ "Best Downtown Classical-Music Venue". New York Magazine. March 3, 2008. 
  7. ^ Adam Hetrik (February 27, 2008). "Thake Named Director of Joe's Pub". The Playbill. 
  8. ^ "Top Ten Music Venues in NYC". April 12, 2008. 
  9. ^ "Best Bar to Get Romantic and Play Grown-up". The Village Voice. 
  10. ^ Andrew Jacobs (October 25, 1998). "Will Everybody Go to Joe's?". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]