Brooklyn Made’s Anthony Makes And Kelly Winrich Detail New ‘Flagship’ Bushwick Club

Courtesy Brooklyn Made
– Made In Brooklyn
A rendering of the stage at Brooklyn Made, which will open this fall in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood.

Brooklyn, and particularly its northernmost neighborhoods of Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick, has a wide spectrum of esteemed venues. But none are quite like Brooklyn Made, the 500-capacity Bushwick club that announced plans for a fall opening on Wednesday.

For years, Bushwick has been home to tiny, thriving clubs serving up DIY indie-rock and electronic fare, and as the neighborhood’s cultural clout has grown, larger venues – namely multi-stage fixtures such as 5,000-capacity dance mecca Avant Gardner and 1,400-capacity Elsewhere – have opened up shop. Missing: Rock-oriented clubs with capacities similar to Williamsburg’s 650-capacity Music Hall of Williamsburg and the 575-capacity Bowery Ballroom, an institution on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

The neighborhood’s club tapestry may be rich, but Brooklyn Made – and its parent company of the same name – have found an untapped market nevertheless.

“We think there’s room in the New York City market – we know there’s room – for an additional room,” says Anthony Makes, who founded the independent promotion company Brooklyn Made in July 2020.

Makes would know. Prior to launching his latest endeavor, he logged 11 years at The Bowery Presents, now AEG’s regional affiliate, and at Live Nation, as the concert giant’s New York president.

The genesis of the Brooklyn Made club dates back to August 2020, when Makes got to talking with Kelly Winrich, a member of indie-rock band Delta spirit, at Maracuja, a Williamsburg bar Winrich has purchased earlier in the year. Makes was looking to add a venue to his fledgling company’s portfolio, and Winrich had a potential match: A building on Bushwick’s Troutman Street, between Wyckoff and St. Nicholas Avenues, that had been owned for a decade by Charlie Kaim – and had just sold Maracuja to Winrich.

Within days, Makes and Winrich were touring the facility, which Kaim had been working to convert to a performance space for several years. The venue was essentially “ready to go” and even had a liquor license.

“He could’ve opened last year, but the pandemic hit, and that was a big reason why he decided that he wanted to let it go,” says Winrich, now a Brooklyn Made partner, who calls the sequence of events “eerily meant to be.”

The venue opens with two shows featuring Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy – once an unthinkable booking for Bushwick – on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, and revealed a fall programming slate Wednesday that caters primarily to rock and Americana fans young (Chicago indie-rockers Whitney, Nov. 3-4) and old (country troubadour Steve Earle, Oct. 16) alike. Other noteworthy gigs already on the calendar include Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Nathaniel Rateliff solo and acoustic and Band of Horses.

“I don’t feel that there is a rock-forward venue in Bushwick,” says Winrich, contrasting Brooklyn Made with eclectic performance space House of Yes and the 200-capacity Sultan Room, another recent addition to the neighborhood. “We’re sitting nicely in the middle.”

Makes envisions becoming “the independent concert promoter in Bushwick,” even as he acknowledges the clout of the two “huge conglomerates” operating in the market.

“We’re not interested in competing with Live Nation or AEG; overall their models are very different,” he says. “When we looked at Los Angeles and places like Denver, there’s so many rooms, independent promoters, different rooms are not owned by the same company.”

Still, Brooklyn Made seems poised to compete, outfitted with a slew of features that differentiate it from other local venues.

For one, the club’s production infrastructure is uncommonly advanced for a venue of its size, with lighting design by Jeremy Roth, who has designed lighting for artists such as Wilco and My Morning Jacket and installations for Coachella, and a high-end audio setup with equipment including D&B Audiotechnik speaker boxes and amps and Avid’s new Venue S6L console.

“For the size of the room, the gear that we’re putting in there is, how do you say, over the top,” Winrich says.

“It doesn’t exist in a club,” Makes concurs with a laugh.

Artists will enjoy a top-flight experience before and after shows, thanks to a 2,000-square-foot carriage house above the performance space, with access to a swimming pool and a private roof deck with views of the Manhattan skyline. There’ll even be an in-house chef on the premises.

“Kelly’s spent his entire life touring, and there’s certain venues that [artists] can’t wait to hit,” Makes says. “The experience we’re talking about I’m not aware of anywhere else.”

Underplays like Tweedy’s “are definitely going to be a part of the culture of the venue,” Makes adds, and he predicts that “as the word spreads about this place and the amenities and the production that we have … acts are going to choose to play here as word continues to spread amongst agents, managers and bands.”

Brooklyn Made will also seek to draw fans before and after shows – not an easy task given the numerous eateries and bars within blocks, including the upscale seafood eatery (Sea Wolf), high-end pizza and Italian restaurant (Union Pizza Works) and popular gastropub (The Rookery) immediately across the street from the venue on Troutman.

To that end, the Brooklyn Made complex features two food and beverage establishments: Connie’s, a bar with a full kitchen, pool table and fireplace immediately connected to the performance space, and Standing Room, which is located next door and will begin days as a café before transition to a wine, cocktail and tapas bar by night. Erik Plambeck, Winrich’s partner at Maracuja, will serve as head of hospitality for both Standing Room and Connie’s.

“The idea is to have sort of a compound of different experiences and vibes, and people can choose their own adventure,” Winrich says. “Prior to the pandemic, the neighborhood, it was just 24/7. We’re just excited to sort of feed off a little bit of that energy when we’re able to open.”

Brooklyn Made’s opening will arrive amid a period that Makes and Winrich, like most live industry professionals, expect to be a boom time for the industry as it continues to re-emerge from the pandemic. And while their focus is currently on their new Bushwick club – “It’s the flagship of the company, it’s the mothership, the headquarters,” Makes says – the company is already exploring future venue deals and, according to Makes, “maybe a festival.”

“There are no limits,” he says. “We think it all starts at this club. This club is going to represent who we are and what this company is. We are a Brooklyn-made group of people. Kelly and I, we love Brooklyn.”