Monday, July 21, 2014

Broadway Alternatives: The Bell House

   Few venues in the city are as eclectic as The Bell House. The venue stands in a former printing press building near the banks of Brooklyn's industrial waterway, the Gowanus Canal. The location might be uninspiring (unless fetid sewer water inspires you) but the ramshackle old industrial buildings bristle with creative energy. Up the hill in either direction might be the fine homes and well-to-do families of Carroll Gardens and Park Slope, but down in the valley it's more freewheeling. The Bell House anchors the neighborhood with some great entertainment for folks who aren't impressed by bright lights and expensive bottle service.
   In the front of the venue is a large and charming lounge. The old garage doors open wide onto the street allowing people to gather around outside on pleasant nights. Inside, sofas and lounge chairs allow everyone to hang out before the shows start. It's a striking thing about the best venues in the city that they all have comfortable places to hang out separate from the venue. It helps when the front bar is a simple neighborhood place that you'd want to hang out.