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A band performing at the final incarnation of Sin-é in 2007
LocationNew York City
OwnerShane Doyle
Opened1989–96; 2000; 2003–07 (varying incarnations)

Sin-é (/ʃɪˈn/; from the Irish phrase sin é meaning "that's it")[1] was a music venue in New York City that helped launch the careers of several noted musicians in the early 1990s.[2]


Original café[edit]

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.[3] The early days saw a number of poetry readings and acoustic sessions. One group that began to attract a wider audience on Saturday nights was The Clumsy Cabaret,[4] a late-night gathering that drew musicians (including many of New York's anti-folk scene) 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 played for tips.

Seasoned performers such as Sinéad O'Connor, Jeff Buckley, October Project, Marianne Faithfull, Shane MacGowan, Hothouse Flowers, The Waterboys, Allen Ginsberg, Susan McKeown, Star Drooker and the band Native Tongue also appeared at Sin-é, giving impromptu performances. The stage was an area where tables were cleared away against a wall.[2]

The informal atmosphere and regular audience were instrumental in creating a fertile musical scene that flourished until Sin-é closed 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.[citation needed]

Legendary NYC jug band Porkchop was featured on Saturday nights. The band included Chris Lafrenz on mandolin and vocals, animation icons Mike DeSeve (accordion/vocals) and Brian Mulroney (washboard/vocals), and Strokes guru J.P. Bowersock on guitar.

Second incarnation[edit]

In 2000, Doyle opened a 380-capacity version of Sin-é on North Eighth Street just off of Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.[5] Due to problems with the city and complaints by nearby residents, the club closed after only a few months.[3]

Final venue[edit]

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 of 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.[citation needed]

In 2004, the adjoining Sin-e Bar opened by Doyle and two others. The venue and bar closed on April 2, 2007, reportedly due to the area's gentrification.[3]


  1. ^ "Foclóir Gaeilge–Béarla (Ó Dónaill): sin". Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  2. ^ a b Browne, David (October 24, 1993). "The Unmade Star". The New York Times. Retrieved January 4, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c Ryzik, Melena (March 29, 2007). "Gentrification Blues: Requiem for a Cozy, Unassuming Rock Club". The New York Times. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  4. ^ ""The Clumsy Cabaret" at Caca Milis Cabaret, archived at the Wayback Machine on August 26, 2013.
  5. ^ Gonzalez, Carolina (July 15, 2001). "Greenpoint & W'Burg Getting Ready To Rock". Daily News. New York. Retrieved July 22, 2023.