Park Slope’s Barbès is $70,000 in debt thanks to ‘the harsh economic reality of the new Brooklyn’

Another day, another longtime local bar endangered by ever-rising rents. Park Slope’s Barbès – located at 376 9th St. and known for its lively backroom shows by a diverse array of bands– has long fought the tides of the neighborhood’s late stage gentrification and turned 15 years old on the first of this May, but it needs cash fast in order to stick around much longer.

Per the bar and performance space’s website, “changing demographics and the harsh economic reality of the ‘new’ Brooklyn are now threatening us.”

A longer post on a website dedicated to garnering funds to keep the bar open provides more detail:


Photo via Property Shark
Photo via Property Shark

Surviving as a small business in this new, re-branded Brooklyn has become a sometimes insurmountable challenge. The overall price of doing business has increased tremendously (higher rent, increase in the cost of goods, services, permits, insurance etc.. ) and we have accumulated a debt that our dwindling profit margin has made nearly impossible to manage: $50,000 owed to our bank and $20,000 owed to our landlord – most of it for city services related costs that, over the past few years, have spiraled out of control.

Our landlord had thus far been understanding, but as the city has now placed a lien on his building, we are faced with a hard deadline: pay $20,000 by July 1st.

Our credit line has reached its ceiling and our personal credit doesn’t allow us to borrow any more. Barbès has no assets – our only assets are the musicians who have chosen Barbès as a creative home, and the Barbès audience that comes and supports them.

So, we turn to you. Raising the full $70,000 we owe would insure that we stay in business for at least another five years – when our second lease ends. In this current economic and political climate, five years feels reasonably close to an eternity. Having a sounder financial base might even enable us continue longer, but we are still a few bridges away from that particular crossing.

To raise the needed money, Barbès is hosting a series of benefit concerts from musicians on their record label, the highlight of which is a special June 9th concert at Alphabet City’s DROM featuring Slavic Soul Party, Little Dynasty and others (tickets are $20 and available online).

Barbes has also launched an Indiegogo to raise the $70,000. As of this writing, and with a month left on the campaign, $28,906 has been raised. For thank you gifts, the Indiegogo offers, based on varying donation amounts, benefit tickets, vinyl, CDs from Barbès Records and, for givers of $1,000+, eternal gratitude, the entire Barbès Records catalog, “And let us know if there is anything else we might be able to do for you…”


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