Iconic Clubs Like “Bitter End” Say They Won’t Survive in NYC Without Bailout

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The Bitter End is a vintage nightclub in the heart of Greenwich Village since 1961. Photo Credit: Pinterest

By: Hadassa Kalatizadeh

The Bitter End, a Concert Club in the heart of Greenwich Village since 1961, is now questioning its ability to survive. The club has been a vibrant part of New York City nightlife for more than half a century providing a live music stage for celebrities of a mixed variety. The club, along with other concert venues across the city has been shuttered since the pandemic struck in March. “I’m nervous about the future, nervous about the comeback of Manhattan,” said owner Phil Rizzo on a recent Friday from his Pennsylvania home. “It’s not like the business took a dive; the business is gone.”

NYC’s entertainment industry has received no indication as to when a reopening can be initiated. As per Allmybiznews, the Bitter End is lucky enough to have received a temporary reprieve for the venue’s $23,000 per month by the landlord. This grace, however, cannot be expected to continue forever.

Rizzo is working on making a business plan for a safe reopening, pending approval and guidelines from the state. Implementing the changes, however, would cost the business roughly $40,000 to $60,000 to start. Once the investment has been made there still remains to be seen if the patrons will come. The club relies on young college students, working professionals and tourists visiting New York. Rizzo’s worst fear is that after opening he will be forced to shut down once more, as some theaters and venues have already done. The Bitter End has been lucky enough to use its history to launch a GoFundMe campaign which has been successful in garnering support.

Of course Rizzo is not alone. As reported by Bloomberg News, thousands of club owners are begging Congress to throw them a lifeline. They hope that the government can help them stay afloat financially until the entertainment industry can be safely brought back to life. Their petitions have gained some support with a bipartisan group of senators sponsoring the Save Our Stages act. This bill would offer six months of financial support to venues in the form of a grant, which would not need to be repayed. However, the bill, along with the rest of the coronavirus recovery act is being stalled in the Senate, pending the size of the bailout. In the meantime, hundreds of venues have already been forced to permanently close their doors, and about 90% of independent venues say they will be forced to close without government intervention, as per Audrey Schaefer, spokesperson for the National Independent Venues Association.

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