Joonbug met up with David Handler, one of the founders of Le Poisson Rouge, to discuss how the West Village hot spot continues to be the shuffle button for the music lover, party goer and art aficionado. While sitting on a fish throne David spoke about how a group of classical musicians wanted a new outlet for young people to get down with class, culture and alcohol.
Josh Gordon: Has the place changed since you first opened?
David Handler: It’s definitely been an exercise in the things to hold on to and the things that are defining that you really must preserve and protect throughout the evolution of the concept and then those other things that you have to let go of or allow to change and let take on a life on their own. We knew we could count on people for their participation in a more eclectic, a more dynamic, more savant kind of experience. We’ve just been happy and proud to see the extent that people are interested and participate in, and that has been very encouraging.
Our feeling and our sort of motto is “Serving Art and Alcohol,” the idea of art and revelry being in mutually habitable spaces is one that I think should be more prevalent. I think that people recognize that there is a void in that regard, and they want to come to a place where they can have a great time and be around great people, have great drinks and food, but also experience the gallery’s first-rate fine art. In this space [main venue] have everything from string quartets to punk rock from Gamalon to singer songwriters and jazz.
JG: Can you describe the crowd at Le Poisson Rouge?
DH: We sort of think of it as more a psycho-graphic than a demographic; we don’t really look at an age or income bracket in the same way that certain products or people marketing products need to look at. We basically are looking for the curious listener who wants to push their palette and who wants to have a good time doing it. That I realize is an over-arching and not so specific criteria, but much in the same way that ours is not a specific criteria. It’s what I really find inspiring, and it may not be exclusively to this venue but certainly I know it exists here more than at other places that I’ve noticed. A person who is willing to inhabit a different musical space than they are typically used to and if they are going to push their boundary they know that Le Poisson Rouge is a place that they are going to have the highest standard of whatever that is.
……..to read the rest of the interview with Joonbug & David, click here!