Disco Dance Bar Ethyl’s reopens in Williamsburg
You might not have started noticing Ethyl’s at 312 Grand Street until recently, but the relocation of the ’70s-themed dance bar and performance space has been in the works since 2018.
The original Ethyl’s Alcohol opened on the Upper East Side to pay homage to Elaine’s, Max’s Kansas City, The Copa, The Playboy Club, Jilly’s, Cafe Central, Studio 54 and all the other popular disco spots of yesteryear inspired by the 1970s adventures of owners and New York natives Charlie Sub and Brooklyn-born Gerard Renny.
After establishing downtown Ethyl, the team searched for another neighborhood to settle in and eventually landed in Williamsburg (in the space formerly known as Mulholland), which they considered a progression natural given the evolution of their clientele.
“A lot of our clientele was kids who came to visit the Upper East Side, who had friends who lived up there, family who lived there,” Renny explained. “During the pandemic, a lot of people who were regulars in downtown Ethyl moved to Williamsburg.”
And since opening — which, like most businesses, was delayed by Covid — one of the biggest differentiators between Williamsburg and the Upper East Side has been Brooklyn’s sense of community.
“Williamsburg people are a little more artistic. It’s more musicians, artists, performance artists. A lot of your clientele also work in the same industry as us,” explained Renny. “We think Ethyl’s is a perfect fit for the neighborhood. And so we made the changes that we felt we needed to make to create more of a neighborhood vibe, you know, and also to make sure the energy in the room is better.
To make these changes, Renny and the team decided to close at the end of August for a series of renovations, which resulted in more minimalist exterior signage to align with the look of the neighborhood and a freshly designed space with a front bar and a rear bar. designated room for performances by DJs, bands, dancers and more, plus a backyard lounge. Brooklyn’s propensity for community also extends to the menu, which includes signature burgers, the Ethylz Pretzel and jerk chicken wings (to name a few) with genuine produce and ingredients. local like Mike’s Hot Honey and Peter Luger Steak Sauce.
These updates were released to the public on October 13 and since then Ethyl’s has picked up the pace with weekly performances, dance parties and theme nights. Looking ahead, Renny is also planning monthly collaborative events with their neighbor, Southside Guitars, and residencies for local bands.
“We try to keep the community spirit, the neighborhood spirit,” Renny said.