A band performing at the final incarnation of Sin-é in 2007
|Location||New York City|
|Opened||1989–96; 2000; 2003-07 (varying incarnations)|
The original Sin-é, located at 122 St. Mark's Place in Manhattan's East Village, was a small café that served food, coffee, and Rolling Rock beer. It was opened by Irish immigrant Shane Doyle in 1989. Originally a hang-out for the city's community, it metamorphosed into a gathering place that fused Irish and New York culture when Doyle began to encourage musicians and other artists to perform in the space.
The early days saw a number of poetry readings and acoustic sessions. One outfit that began to bring in the non-Irish East Village crowd in on a Saturday night was known as "The Clumsy Cabaret", a late-night gathering hosted by Helena Mulkerns, Deanna Kirk, Elizabeth Logun and Paul Honde which drew musicians (including many of New York's anti-folk scene) in after gigs. Acoustic music sessions took place in a spontaneous and creative atmosphere. Patrons included emerging writers, photographers, artists, designers and musicians. Later, as a more established venue, performers such as Susan McKeown, Katell Keineg, Ben Folds, October Project, David Poe, Jenifer Jackson, Jeff Buckley, Big Dream and David Gray took their first steps in the music business, playing for tips. The early 1990s also saw the weekly Friday residency of Beavis and Butt-Head directors Mike deSeve and Brian Mulroney's band Porkchop, co-founded by Strokes guru J. P. Bowersock and featuring Ben Folds' ex-wife and collaborator, Anna Goodman. Porkchop also included Phil Maynes, Brad Brown, Chris LaFrenz & Dale Burleyson.
Seasoned performers such as Sinéad O'Connor, Jeff Buckley, Marianne Faithfull, Shane McGowan, Hothouse Flowers, The Waterboys and Allen Ginsberg also appeared at Sin-é, giving impromptu performances. The stage was an area where tables were cleared away against a wall. Iggy Pop, PJ Harvey, Jane Pratt, and Gabriel Byrne were known to stop by. Johnny Depp, The Black Crowes, and U2 all visited the café on at least one occasion. The informal atmosphere and devoted regular audience were instrumental in creating a fertile musical scene that flourished until Sin-é closed its doors in 1996. Jeff Buckley's first release was the EP, Live at Sin-é (1993), while a double album, Live at Sin-é (Legacy Edition), was released in 2003.
In 2000, Doyle opened a 380-capacity version of Sin-é on North Eighth Street just off of Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Due to problems with the city and complaints by nearby residents, the club closed after only a few months.
Located at 150 Attorney Street, at the corner of Stanton Street, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the last Sin-é was named "Best New Venue" in NY Magazine's "Best of New York" issue (March 2003). On its first birthday, Sin-é was awarded "Best Place to See a Local Band's First Gig" by NY Magazine (March 2004) for helping nurture acts like The Seconds and The Secret Machines. In 2004, the adjoining Sin-e Bar opened to expand the total area, with four partners including Shane Doyle and Emily Danziger. The venue and bar closed on April 2, 2007, reportedly due to the area's gentrification.
- Browne, David (October 24, 1993). "The Unmade Star". The New York Times. Retrieved on January 4, 2009.
- Williamsburg Sin-é
- Ryzik, Melena. (March 29, 2007). "Gentrification Blues: Requiem for a Cozy, Unassuming Rock Club". The New York Times
- Ryzik, Melena. (March 29, 2007). "Gentrification Blues: Requiem for a Cozy, Unassuming Rock Club"
- Browne, David. Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley. HarperEntertainment: 2001, 2002; ISBN 0-380-80624-X
- Jeff Buckley Sin-é FAQ
- Wall, Eamonn (2000). From the Sin-e Cafe to the Black Hills. University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 61–64