Elvis Guesthouse bar opening on Avenue A — same owner as Baby’s; Girlpool played a secret set after Porches at Bowery
photos by Amanda Hatfield
After the sold-out Porches / Frankie Cosmos show at Bowery Ballroom on Friday (2/6), an official afterparty went down at soon-to-be-open-to-the-public East Village bar Elvis Guesthouse, which was having its soft opening that night. It's located downstairs at 85 Ave A (location of the old Arrow Bar) and run by the people at Baby's All Right. Colorful, though dark, the new bar was designed by Isaac Nichols.
There's no stage, but the opening night had a set by Girlpool who were set up in the back of the bar where the place widens out a bit. Considering the size of the venue, it's not really the kind of place where more than 50 or so people can see the band at once, but it's a good spot for a late-night, semi-secret show, which the Girlpool show was and which they plan to do more of.
After Girlpool, Katie Garcia and Dustin Payseur (of Beach Fossils and Frankie Cosmos' label Bayonet Records) were DJing and had everyone dancing. It's definitely a good place for that. At one point everyone was singing Happy Birthday to Dustin. The scene wasn't too different from the front bar at Baby's and they plan to keep the DJ booking very similar (not to mention the occasional show). It should be a cool spot to end your night if you just went to a show in Manhattan (or if you live there).
Oh, and the bar has a legend associated with it...
On August 16, 1977, the morning after Elvis Presley theoretically met his end on the toilet in Graceland, a chubby man in a white linen suit and an ill-fitting blonde wig bought a one way ticket from Memphis to Istanbul. He paid in cash and used the name John Burrows.
Once he arrived in Turkey, he bounced around the hippie trail, hitchhiking from Tehran to Peshawar, Kabul to Lahore, Delhi to Goa, Kathmandu to Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Instead of staying in the finest hotels, where he would have certainly been noticed, he bunked in guesthouses, small lodgings run by local families and foreign Heads.
In 1979, political changes in the Middle East put an end to the hippie trail. John had grown tired of his nomadic lifestyle and settled on the outskirts of Kathmandu, where he opened a small bar inspired by his years spent in guesthouses. He named it ELVIS GUESTHOUSE.
After the place had been open for a year, John disappeared one day. A gin soaked journalist claimed to have spotted him on the beach in Occupied Cambodia, and others said that he had made his way into the ethnic minority areas of Southwest China. Eventually, the building was demolished to make way for a shopping mall. But a few photos of the bar survived, and we have created its exact replica here.
Girlpool will hit the road soon with Waxahatchee.
More pictures of the bar and the Girlpool show below...