Cool Kids Travel Far and Wide to Party at Steeldrums

By James Rickman / Photographed by Rebecca Smeyne
It's 1:30 a.m. on a frigid Saturday night, and about 50 people are mashed into the courtyard of an industrial building somewhere between Greenpoint and Bushwick, waving their phones like emergency flares. Beyond the door, hundreds more fill a long, narrow room pulsing with LED lights and slow-burning hip-hop. Through the haze, you can just make out a DJ onstage, surrounded by fuschia-lit dancers and guys howling into microphones. A scrolling sign overhead reminds you to "HAVE FUN."

This is Steeldrums, a new DIY club that opened with a bang -- that is, with a Thunder Horse-designed event featuring Dev Hynes, Sky Ferreira and Inc. (pictured above) last November. More recently, it hosted the London DJ collective Night Slugs, as well as homegrown DJ Venus X's Ghe20 Goth1k party.

Michael Potvin, a lighting designer and former Boston DJ, launched Steeldrums with fellow Brooklyn artists Josh Haris and Joey Asal. Their choice of location -- uncharted nightlife territory a mile north of the Morgan L that's mostly occupied by Chinese produce distributors -- has proven that people will go to great lengths for a good party.

It helps, however, to stay connected with the Bushwick hive. "Everyone that's hanging out down there is like, 'Cool, that's right up the street!'" Potvin says. "So they're willing to include us as part of the whole community of new spots that are popping up, like the Bossa Nova Civic Club, Fitness and Body Actualized Center. The community's great."

With winter finally melting away, Potvin and Co. plan to open up the roll-door, pull back the front gate and start bringing together art exhibitions, DJs and food. So keep an eye out for Steeldrums (or #steeldrumz), and remember what the sign says: Have fun.

Steeldrums is located at 35 Beadel St., Brooklyn, NY

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