Whether you’re a fan of Underworld, True Blood, NIN or Dita von Teese and Marilyn Manson, you probably know the days of Le Bar Bat and Raven are long gone, and that “Goth” is no longer so much a scene (not like it was in the 90s, anyway) as it is an uninhibited, word-of-mouth way of nightlife where so-called “alternative” events are discreetly hosted at an array of racy and below-the-radar venues in NYC. Hardcore devotees need only traipse the teens around Gothtown (between Broadway & East Houston) to dig up some decent dark spots. But if you are a newbie who dares to trespass among the select few black-clad and pale who do still delight in the throbbing sound of industrial kink, some of these places might be for you. However, there is etiquette: make like Johnny Cash and wear black (the more leather the better), go low key, tip well, and try not to piss off the staff. Obey these basics and you just might live to see daylight. By Kevin Byrne
511 Greenwich St.
New York, NY 10013
Devotees who dig the dark ‘n nasty know all about Don’s famously small SoHo club, which plays to all persuasions and hosts a roster of events catering to music fans who dig everything from Goth and nocturnal dance to industrial strength metal. Goth nights, in particular, draw capacity crowds who come to either see live performances or just take in the scene while cowering in a corner (yes, it can be a touch intimidating). Don’s also has a full bar (drinks run about $7 a pop and are nothing fancy – you go more for the scene than the sipping) outfitted with stripper poles (which do get used, especially during live shows) and on the right nights, surprise acts like Alice in Chains and Courtney Love have been known to storm the stage. Goths who need deets on their get-togethers would do well to check Don’s website and click on the calendar for when and where. ID is required to get in, and they do card carefully, so if you are under, steer clear.
The Pyramid Club
101 Ave. A
New York, NY 10009
“Sin is in,” as comedian Denis Leary once noted, and it would seem that quip is a keeper, if the scene at The Pyramid Club is any indicator. An ancient den of inequity the likes of which the city has not seen since the heyday of CBGB’s, the Pyramid is a place that’s seen it all, and continues to do so. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, goth or grunge, punk or pop, this dark dungeon of a place accepts all with open and tattooed arms. Bar drinks are fairly priced, and if you’re feeling fetishistic and daring (most kids who wear lace-up leather boots and body piercings are), feel free to explore downstairs, where any carnal knowledge can be an asset. A word of warning to preps and clean-cut college kids: put on some mascara.
511 East 6th St.
New York, NY 10009
Unforeseen schedule changes notwithstanding, Goth events (often hosted by the non-profit event team called Contempt – again, check the web) are known to take place at this dark red velvet-curtained swankzone in the East Village. Amazingly, there’s never a mob – and that’s mostly because the club manages to keep a discreet and low-key image. Parked between Avenues A & B (just like the blood types, you thirsty nightcrawlers) Identity has an excellent upstairs bar, and the DJ’s spin everything from hip to trip, with a dancefloor downstairs for all those Edward Gorey-loving vamps and vixens who wanna shake a leg. There’s usually a $5 cover with a pass, $7 if you’re without. 18 to enter the club, but 21 to drink.
UNDERWORLD at The Sullivan Room
218 Sullivan St.
New York, NY 10012
Well known for playing host to the Goth enclave called Underworld, this subterranean funk cave prides itself on being one of the last vestiges of Manhattan’s underground music scene, and some of the best DJ’s have spun its turntables, playing everything from Daft Punk to vintage Depeche Mode. On non-Goth nights, the wide dance floor and pricey bar ($18 for the average bev) attracts a mix of clientele, and gets very hot when the beat goes on. So be prepared to bump ‘n grind if not sweat things off, and check your coat (or don’t bring one). Bonus points to both the waitstaff and bouncers, who may be some of the best-natured in the city. Beyond that, be sure to make like a vampire and don’t show up before midnight.
Korova Milk Bar
213 E. Post Rd.
White Plains, NY 10601
If you’re looking for something unexpectedly subversive in the suburbs, my little droogies, you’ve certainly found it in this place … and fittingly enough, it (like all the characters in A Clockwork Orange) is very much on the fringes of everything, including NYC. Once an East Village haunt, Korova is now based in White Plains (of all places), and has everything the café in Kubrick’s creepy masterpiece had in terms of both darkness and décor (including the female mannequins). Screens on the wall sometimes play questionable cinematic samples (a little of the ol’ ultraviolence, if you will) for shock value. All that’s missing is Alex in his bowler, some lovely, lovely Ludwig van and a little spiked leche. And if you like sweet-tasting molokos all named for dead celebrities (the Karen Carpenter and the Jon Benet being the most tasteless examples), you’ll be in paradise. Come dressed either dark or smart (tuck it in, fellas) and get set to pay a hefty cover.