The Ritz (rock club)

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The Ritz was a New York City rock club in the 1980s and early 1990s.


The Ritz was founded in 1980 by Jerry Brandt in the historic Webster Hall ballroom and concert space on 11th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues in the East Village neighborhood of New York City. The address was 119 East 11th Street. The Ritz focused primarily on live performances, often of newer acts, but also featured dancing. The Ritz was one of the first clubs to incorporate video screens into the club experience with a 30' screen and a projector which cost $120,000. MTV made its debut at The Ritz. In April 1989, The Ritz moved to the site of the former Studio 54 on 254 West 54th Street, where it was called "The New Ritz" and continued to host concerts for several years.[1] From 1990 onward it reverted to the name "The Ritz." The original 11th Street space is now known as Webster Hall.

Public Image Limited appearance[edit]

The club received national attention after an antagonistic performance by Public Image Limited on May 15, 1981. They were a late substitution for Bow Wow Wow, who were originally scheduled to perform. The band was more interested in creating performance art than giving a traditional concert. To this end, they appeared onstage deliberately obscured by a projection screen and played their records through the club's public address system while playing entirely different music onstage. Taunted by lead singer John Lydon (formerly of the Sex Pistols), the Ritz's unhappy patrons rioted, throwing bottles and garbage cans, and pulling on the video screen that covered the front of the stage.[2][3][4]

MTV's "Live at The Ritz"[edit]

MTV aired a series of concerts called "Live at The Ritz" on Saturday nights in the 1980s. Performers included Guns N' Roses, Gene Loves Jezebel, the Saints, the Cult, Nik Kershaw, the Smithereens, Julian Cope, Great White, Hoodoo Gurus, White Lion, Iggy Pop, Eurogliders and Simon Townshend.



  1. ^
  2. ^ setlist + Sounds review/pix of Pil @ The Ritz.
  3. ^ Ed Caraballo's account of Pil @ The Ritz.
  4. ^ Rolling Stone review + other remiscensenses of Pil @ The Ritz.
  5. ^ McLennan, Scott (3 June 2019). "David Bowie & I: Socks, Sax & Sex Shops". Retrieved 6 June 2019.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°43′54″N 73°59′21″W / 40.73175°N 73.98912°W / 40.73175; -73.98912