112 Rivington St | New York, NY 10002 | 212-533-1888
Hours: 7p-4a Daily
Subway: J,M,F to Essex St/Delancey St | F to 2nd Ave
Written by: Emily Niewendorp
Fat Baby emerged onto the scene in 2005 as a chic, dance spot and (some would argue) dive lounge. The venue’s popularity has grown, via word-of-mouth and blogs, perpetually buzzing with activity, through holidays and rainy weekends alike.
The ground level of Fat Baby boasts a multilevel bar and lounge, decked out with specialty hard-woods and vintage wallpaper. A mezzanine with booths often serves as a VIP area and overlooks the dance floor. The music room downstairs carries a different, more creative atmosphere. The darkly lit room houses a small stage, a few couches, and a small bar with room for dancing. A side entrance for performers gives them a direct means of access and egress from the venue.
The hip, fashion-conscious staff at Fat Baby manage the day-to-day operations, while the booking agents keep the club on the cutting edge of New York’s music scene. Indie rock bands are featured the most, but jazz, funk, soul, and world music artists also crop up from time to time. Each week night, four bands play to neighborhood crowds, while the weekend bridge-and-tunnel patrons get only three bands—to allow for late-night DJ parties.
Co-owner, Rob Shaliman, previously owned a bar on Ludlow St. called Dark Room. He sold his stake in the company, in the hopes of using the capital to fulfill a dream: to own and operate a multi-floored, live music club.
The gentrification upheaval spawned by a real estate boom provided him with an ideal opportunity: a catering company had just vacated some highly coveted, Lower East Side real estate. Although the architectural framework of the building was sound, the rest of it was completely unsalvageable; the entire space had to be gutted and its layout completely altered to satisfy Rob’s vision of the new place.
An actual baby was the source of inspiration for the venue’s name. Fat Baby’s owner, Rob, and his wife were visiting with a relative and parent of a chubby little child, when his wife made an innocuous request: “Let me hold that fat baby!” From this incident the venue’s name was born.