Webster Hall

A Webster Hall timeline

Words: Andreas Rottenschlager
Photo (above): Bryan Kwon

The legendary New York nightclub has been reinventing itself for 130 years - here are the most important milestones of the club

1886:
Cigar maker Charles Goldstein commissions the building as a hall for hire, for “balls, receptions, Hebrew weddings…”

1920s:
New York’s bohemian set parties at decadent masked balls. The press brand Webster Hall “The Devil’s Playhouse”. Despite the introduction of Prohibition, the drinks continue to flow at the venue. Gangster Al Capone provides the alcohol.

1953:
RCA Records buys Webster Hall and opens a recording studio, where Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley cut genre-defining tracks, including the latter’s Hound Dog.

Webster Hall

“Decadent masked balls”: Webster Hall’s clientele still like to dress up

© Bryan Kwon

1962:
An icon’s first recording: Bob Dylan plays the harmonica on Harry Belafonte’s song Midnight Special.

1980:
Rock club The Ritz opens at Webster Hall. You can see its most famous live gig – by Guns N’ Roses in 1988 – in the video below.

 Guns N’ Roses with their song “Sweet Child O’ Mine” at The Ritz 1988

© GN’R // YouTube

1992:
The Ballinger brothers, four nightlife gurus from Canada, buy the venue and put on weekly hip-hop events.

2008 – 2015:
International DJ stars Deadmau5 and Skrillex get their breakthrough at the Girls & Boys night.

2016:
Webster Hall’s 130th birthday. “We’re planning a street music festival,” says the club’s owner, Lon Ballinger.

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12 2015 redbulletin.com

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