By Sally Deering
Imagine Kanye West and his entourage blowing into Jersey City to check out its club scene. That’s exactly what happened on Feb. 11th when West made a surprise visit to The Dopeness on Second Street.
The rapper stopped by The Dopeness to check out the club’s vibe and according to owners Anthony Gude, Steven Schlatmann and Jonathan Scanlon, West sat and listened to the band on stage, shook hands with fans and then blew out the door with his entourage. He connected with The Dopeness and that’s exactly what Gude, Schlatmann and Scanlon want as the take-away for all their customers.
With a pending liquor license, it’s BYOB at The Dopeness. They offer a kooky menu of comfort foods – much of it bacon-wrapped – and entertainment that’s anything goes. And, of course, that dopeness vibe.
“We’re like a local arts venue,” Schlatmann says. “Some artists are good at what they do. We host them to build their networks. The Jersey City artist community is a big supporter.”
Last Friday, The Dopeness featured a juried film festival of emerging filmmakers. On Thursdays it’s spoken word poetry and on Saturdays, live music. They also present open mic and comedy nights. And whatever they charge at the door is split with the performers.
“We’re food and events,” Gude says.
The menu is an homage to bacon. There are bacon-wrapped hotdogs like the Viva La Mexico which comes with avocado, sour cream, jalapeno peppers and steak chili; and bacon blue cheese fries, too. There’s a taco bar and chicken tender variations like the Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Chicken Waffle and General Tso’s Chicken Fingers. The guys actually went on a road trip across the U.S. stopping at local eateries to discover tasty dishes they could put on their menu that would meld with the Dopeness vibe.
“Our food is American Fusion,” Schlatmann says. “There’s something on the menu from everywhere we stopped.”
The food doesn’t seem to be the reason Kanye West stopped by The Dopeness that chilly Wednesday night.
“He just showed up at the door with his entourage,” Scanlon says. “My wife was at the entrance and she looked up and there he was. She ran and got me and I gave him a walk through.”
“He sat at the bar and listened to the music,” Gude says. “He had his car double-parked outside. He shook hands with everybody. He was a nice regular guy.”
“Kanye West, he has the dopeness mindset; he lives a dopeness lifestyle,” Schlatmann adds.
And what does “The Dopeness” stand for? According to Schlatmann, it’s a kind of shared coolness.
“It’s like when a super cool community collaborates under one roof,” Schlatmann says. “It’s a cool collective state of mind. Kanye got it when he was here.”
Local clubs in Hudson like The Dopeness seem to be mixing things besides cocktails. Their entertainment menus are including a more diverse array of entertainment and along with live bands, they present stand-up comedy, improv, poetry slams, trivia nights, open mics, even film festivals. Here’s a sampling of some local hotspots that offer live entertainment for their customers and opportunities for local artists to express themselves.
LUCKY 7 TAVERN, 322 – 2nd St, JC. (201) 418-8585, www.lucky7tavern.com. . “Best Jukebox in Town”. SAT, MAR. 6 at 8 pm: A Handful of Friends w/TV Sound, The Big Easy and Stuyvesant. Singer/Songwriter Showcase on Tuesdays; Punk Funk DJ on Wednesdays; Ladies Night Thursdays; and Industry Sundays. Bands on weekends.
THE BRIGHTSIDE TAVERN, 141 Bright St, JC. (201) 435-1234, www.brightsidetavern.com.
Mon, 8 pm-12 midnight: JAZZ JAM with more than 15 musicians and singers participating; Tues, Wed, 9 pm-12 midnight: KARAOKE; Thurs, Sat & Sun, 9 pm-12 midnight: OPEN MIC.
THE DOPENESS, 332 – 2nd St, JC. (201) 963-4277. Feb. 28: NGHTCRWLRS album release show w/ Cicada Radio, Dentist, France. Mar. 14: Flylight, The Black Sox Scandal, Monitor, Scotch Mist. Mar. 28: The Gray Company with three TBA bands. Apr. 11: Morningside Lane, Debt League, Japanda, Dollys.
MAXWELL’S TAVERN, 1039 Washington St, Hoboken. www.maxwellsnj.com. Sun, Mar. 1, 4-6 pm: HOBOKEN: CASK & CARRY: AN IRISH WHISKEY TASTING. Tix: $45-$55; (201) 798-0406. “Sample one half-dozen authentic, imported Irish Whiskeys, whiskey cocktails and a small-plates dinner sponsored by Jameson Irish Whiskey to benefit Liberty Humane Society. Each curated taste will be guided by a whiskey expert and served with delicious, hot, tapas-style plates. Held in Hoboken’s storied Maxwell’s back room, this private evening event will educate new whiskey drinkers and thrill whiskey aficionados.” MON, MAR. 2: FRIENDS TRIVIA. Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place. Reservations at email@example.com. MAR 5 AT 8 PM: HOBOKEN COMEDY AT MAXWELL’S TAVERN. Myq Kaplan (Late Night w/ Seth Myers), Dan Frigolette (Boardwalk Empire), Matt Richards (BET), Stone and Stone (TruTV).
NORTHERN SOUL, 577 First St. Hoboken. (201) 963-9122, www.northernsoulbar.com.
Wed, 8-11 pm: The People’s Open Mic. Arrive early to secure a spot. Thurs, 8-11pm: LIVE MUSIC. Fri & Sat, 10 pm – 3 am Special Guest DJs. “With weekly live music, art shows, awesome bartenders, great craft beers, billiards, darts, dancing, and lots of laughs, Northern Soul is a bar for the people who enjoy good things without any attitude.”
THE KOLO KLUB, UPSTAIRS AT PILSENER HAUS & BIERGARTEN, 1422 Grand St, Hoboken. (201) 683-5465. www.koloklub.com. Kolo Klub, located upstairs of the Pilsener Haus & Biergarten presents live jazz, blues, and rock, and DJs, comedy acts, and theatrical performances. Fri, Mar. 20 at 8 pm: Off the Record performs.
WILLIE MCBRIDES, 616 Grand St, Hoboken, (201) 610-1522. www.williemcbrides.com. Irish Pub & Restaurant. Live bands perform. Fri, Feb. 27: Battle of the Bands. Sat, Feb. 28: The Amish Outlaws.
ClubSCENE is a new section in River View Observer. Send your weekly events to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 201-776-9222 to have your events included in ClubSCENE. All listings are FREE.