CBGBs used to serve music to punk rockers; a new incarnation will serve cheeseburgers to people in airports. (Photo: Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)
Legendary punk music club CBGB is reopening at Newark Airport. And like all things that come back from the dead, it’s scary and kind of unwelcome.
When CBGB OMFUG opened on Manhattan’s Bowery back in 1973, the grubby but beloved venue launched the careers of many a punk icon, including Blondie and the Ramones — as well as the ambitions of countless teenagers who dreamed of taking the CBGBs stage (and often did). However, it’s safe to say that none of them dreamed of sitting down to a caprese salad in an airport terminal while waiting for their flight out of New Jersey.
But that’s exactly what’s going to happen in the new CBGB, a bar and restaurant opening in Newark International Airport, outside of New York City. As shared in a pair of tweets the other day and reported by Gothamist, the familiar awning will now welcome nostalgic travelers with the most un-anti-establishment menu you can image, including $9 disco fries and $8 kobe chili dogs. The world’s remaining punk rockers are aghast.
The CBGB awning was spotted at Newark Airport. (Photo: @nickydiy/Twitter)
The lounge and bar will serve pretty basic fare: wings, wedge salads, cheeseburgers, and chocolate pudding. (Photo: @nickydiy/Twitter)
It’s been almost a decade since the original shut down — in true punk rock fashion, it was arguments with the man that finally did the club in (in other words, rent disputes), and it closed to great fanfare in 2006 with a concert by Patti Smith. Owner Hilly Kristal, an East Village icon himself, had given his club its famous initials CBGB OMFUG as a way to signal what you’d find inside: Country Blue Grass Blues and Other Music for Uplifting Gormandizers. The airport version follows suit, in a way, opting for CBGB LAB instead — as in Lounge and Bar.
Kristal died in 2007, the same year the club was turned into a John Varvatos clothing store. Now the old location on the Bowery is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the brand name can be found on an annual music and film festival.
At least that incarnation makes a little bit of sense. The idea that you’d want to eat anything in a place modeled after a small, sweaty, punk rock concert venue seems slightly misguided, if you ask us. But we’ll give EWR one thing: It’s bathrooms are probably cleaner.