Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment is partnering with The Bowery Presents — AEG Presents’ regional partner — to acquire the operating rights and assets to Webster Hall, the legendary music and entertainment venue located in Manhattan’s East Village. The parties will assume the long-term lease to the building, which will continue to be owned by current owner, Unity Gallega.
Webster Hall — which has operated as a venue since 1886 — includes the Grand Ballroom, The Studio and The Marlin Room live entertainment spaces. The officially-designated New York City landmark has served an integral role in the development of many artists’ careers and was named 2016 Nightclub of the Year at the annual awards of Pollstar Magazine. The magazine currently ranks Webster Hall as the No. 2 club venue worldwide for ticket sales.
“We are excited to build on the iconic history of Webster Hall,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. “Webster Hall provides us with an extraordinary opportunity to connect with artists early in their careers and expands BSE’s venue footprint into Manhattan. We appreciate all that the Ballinger family has done to make Webster Hall an industry leading venue and we are looking forward to working with them, The Bowery Presents and AEG Presents to make it an even greater destination for live music.”
“Partnering with The Bowery Presents and Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment to program and operate this iconic live facility will continue to enhance Webster Hall’s worldwide reputation as one of the industry’s most important venues,” said Jay Marciano, Chairman and CEO, AEG Presents.
Webster Hall has undergone several waves of transformation throughout the past century. In the 1920’s, Webster Hall notoriously held masquerade balls and was nicknamed “the Devil’s Playhouse.” RCA Records purchased Webster Hall in 1954 and renovated the venue to include a state-of-the-art acoustically-treated ballroom. Notable artists who recorded in Webster Hall’s studio during this time included Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan (his recording debut), Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, and Julie Andrews.
Beginning in the 1980’s, Webster Hall reemerged as a leading rock venue in the City, hosting artists such as Eric Clapton with Keith Richards, U2 (the band’s first-ever U.S. show), Tina Turner, The Beastie Boys, Prince, Sting, Metallica, Aerosmith, KISS, B.B. King and Guns N’ Roses. The Ballinger family began running the venue in 1989.