125 East 11th St
New York, NY 10003
Hours: Music times vary
Subway: N,Q,R,4,5,6 to Union Square or R to 8th St or 6 to Astor Pl
Written by: Laura Sherman
Webster Hall events are all the rage with music enthusiasts age 18 and up. Going to Webster Hall on the weekend is a sweaty and magical experience; the light shows alone are worth the price of admission.
Webster Hall creates magic on a daily basis. People show up to dance, dressed to impress, and performing there live as a musician is extraordinary.
The club fuses state-of-the-art audio, video and lighting technology, creating a playground for the ultimate party. Webster Hall can cater to groups of 100 to 2,000, with crazed dancing capacity for 1,400 on the Grand Ballroom’s suspended floor system. With 40,000 square feet, split among four floors, and seven event rooms there’s always a lot going on at Webster Hall.
Webster Hall has helped to create history in more ways than simply music. Built in 1886 by Charles Rentz, it was originally used to host society balls and political rallies. It is said that the women’s right to vote was unofficially decided in the Grand Ballroom, and during the prohibition period it was Al Capone’s speakeasy.
During the 1950s, RCA Records became the “acoustical integrity” of the Grand Ballroom at Webster Hall, and the venue became the home of the east coast recording studio. The club was graced by the presence of artists such as Ray Charles, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. In 1980, The Ritz opened at Webster Hall as the famous showcase for emerging rock acts and featured such amazing artists as Tina Turner, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Sting and Guns ’n’ Roses. After Prince performed on the stage he claimed it was, “The best stage in New York City.” The Ritz relocated in 1986, which allowed Webster Hall to be reborn.
The Ballinger family of Toronto, Canada, rewrote the rulebook on New York City nightlife when it purchased the club in 1990, and restored the name to the original Webster Hall. The venue has gone through several significant changes, but somehow managed to keep most of its original design. The ceiling dates back to 1886, and is Art Deco at its finest. The preserved decor allows your imagination to run free through history. In 2008, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated Webster Hall as a historical landmark. The Ballinger family stays involved with the club on a daily basis, and several of the nighttime managers are family members.