What to Know
- After 18 years of hosting music and entertainment superstars, the curtain will close on B.B. King Blues Club & Grill at the end of the month
- The venue located in Times Square is shutting its doors due to escalating rent with its final performance scheduled for April 29
- The venue is in the process of selecting a new location in Manhattan
After 18 years of hosting music and entertainment superstars, the curtain will close on B.B. King Blues Club & Grill at the end of the month.
The venue located in Times Square is shutting its doors due to escalating rent with its final performance scheduled for April 29.
“Despite many sold out shows, the location's rent escalated to an unsustainable level, leaving us no choice but to close our doors. Unfortunately this has become a growing trend in New York City,” Tsion Bensusan, B.B. King Blues Club & Grill’s Chief Operating Officer, said in a statement.
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B.B. King’s is the latest casualty in a growing trend of beloved and popular venues, bars and restaurants closing their doors due to escalating rent. Coogan’s, a Washington Heights pub, announced it would be shutting down after 33 years in business. But the bar was able to strike a deal to keep its doors open following an outpouring of community support, including from "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.
To honor it’s time as a top tier venue, B.B. King’s will host a closing week celebration with performances by Buddy Guy, Rick Ross, Slick Rick & Doug E. Fresh, El Gran Combo, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic and special guests.
All the shows scheduled beyond April 29 will take place in various venues throughout the city. B.B. King Blues Club & Grill is also looking to find a new home for the Harlem Gospel Choir’s weekly residency, a show the venue hosts.
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However, there is hope for fans of the historic venue. Not only is B.B. King’s looking to find a home for the Harlem Gospel Choir, but the venue is in the process of selecting a new location in Manhattan.
“We hope that we can find a new place to call home very soon so we can continue bringing live music,” Bensusan said.
B.B. King Blues Club & Grill first opened on June 20, 2000. Since the start, it has hosted appearances and shows by superstars across all genres of music including Aretha Franklin, James Brown, The Allman Brothers, Al Green, ZZ Top, Jay-Z, Bon Jovi, Bo Diddley and the restaurant’s namesake, blues legend B.B. King himself. The venue was also known for offering fans the unique experience of seeing one of a kind collaborations among artists.