622 Degraw Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Hours: Open for Events, Sun-Thu 8p-12a, Fri-Sat 8p-4a
Subway: 2,3,4,5,B,D,N,Q to Atlantic/Pacific St or R to Union St
Written by: Emily Niewendorp
Littlefield’s beginnings embody life in the 21st century: an eco-friendly, live-music venture purchases a warehouse from an out-of-business plastic bag distributor, with the transaction initiated over Craigslist. Meet Littlefield, an oasis destination in Gowanus, the industrial, up-and-coming Brooklyn neighborhood situated between Park Slope and Carroll Gardens.
As an eco-friendly venue creatively transformed out of a warehouse environment, everything in Littlefield was chosen for its recyclable and aesthetic qualities. Green ivy along its outside walls greets patrons as they enter the front patio. This patio area was cut out of the building to create outdoor space between the street and the venue. The storefront of glass and steel leads into the bar and art gallery, which is sometimes separated from the music room beyond by a large rolling wall. This massive wall contains collections of rotating art. Most pieces in the venue are salvaged; the bar and tabletops were fashioned from old bowling alley lanes from an Elks Lodge. The bar is lined with reclaimed stainless steel, and light fixtures from Build It Green in Long Island City, Queens add further ambience by creating a starry-night effect. One of the coolest alterations from the warehouse’s original structure is the scalloped walls, made from recycled truck tires. Not only do these walls add personality, but they improve the room’s sound quality as well.
Part of the challenge for Littlefield is attracting patrons from the minimal amount of foot traffic on the block and establishing the venue as a neighborhood hangout. Julie and Scott work to nurture the local community by reciprocating business with their neighboring proprietors. Local arts, music and cultural centers are flourishing and many are getting involved in Littlefield’s music programming. Neighborhood bands and individuals can curate their own shows, creating one-genre bills.
Currently, Littlefield is open only on days that have a show scheduled. Performance types in this warehouse space include: indie rock; hip-hop; reggae; dance parties—with the large wall rolled back; film screenings; art exhibits; opera; fashion shows and comedy. “The feel is so different from night to night, and the crowds are so different, but, you see people come back when a genre comes back.” says Julie, Littlefield’s co-owner.
Catering to both the art and the music world, Littlefield is finding its niche in Brooklyn. With its dedicated owners and staff, and an ongoing effort to provide consistent sound quality, Littlefield can truly be a multi-functioning and multi-genre venue.
The bar encourages imbibers to try new concoctions. Check out Littlefield’s specialty cocktails list, the high-end national microbrews and the bio-dynamic wines.
In May 2009, owners Julie and Scott opened Littlefield after years of involvement in various music scenes across the country and one fateful trip to Oslo, Norway. Julie says:
“…we took a trip to Oslo to visit Scott’s relatives and we heard this music. We followed it into this industrial neighborhood, where warehouses were tagged with beautiful artwork and we found this tiny club called Blå. It was on the canal, with an outdoor bar and we thought, ‘How wonderful to have found this little gem just by passing and hearing the music.’”
Despite opening Littlefield in the aftermath of the 2008 recession, Julie and Scott believe that their excitement is worth the risks and stress involved. “We try to put all the positive things into our place. Basically, if you build something you should love every part of it,” Julie says.