A couple of weeks ago, my friend Sarah was like, “Come to this bar C’mon Everybody. It’s on the border of Bed-Stuy and Clinton Hill. My friend has an art opening there and my boyfriend is DJ-ing.” To which I said, “Come again?” Not that I am the keeper of bars on the border of Bed-Stuy and Clinton Hill that have the capacity to host an art show and Sarah’s boyfriend’s DJ set—and which also happen to be, as I discovered after looking at an interior image, gorgeous inside—nonetheless, I was surprised I hadn’t heard of it, this enigma that had regular DJ residencies, a large live music venue with a capacity of 100, a separate back gallery for art openings and artist’s talks, and a very attractive arched mahogany bar with 70s retro finishes that simultaneously looks sleek and timeless. It was an entire night out under one roof. How had C’mon everybody, which opened on Franklin Avenue in June, remained so under-wraps?
The answer, I found out, was simple: C’mon Everybody’s four co-owners have been very, very busy. Three of them—Michael Zuco, Sam Gilliland, and Anthony Zuco—work full time jobs outside the bar and the fourth, Eric Sosa, who runs the venue’s extensive live-programming, in addition to planning food pop-ups and a seasonal bar menus, is, in the words of co-owner and Sosa’s fiancé Michael Zuco, “just hustling all of the time.” In short, rather than courting the media, the team has been busy keeping the big, eclectic party that they are interested in throwing seven days a week up and running. “Press hasn’t really been a priority for us,” says Sosa. “We’ve been busy building the fundamentals.” And given what C’mon Everybody’s idea of “fundamentals” appears to encapsulate, I do not find this hard to believe.
I met three of the co-owners inside the empty bar on a Sunday around noon (the fourth co-owner, Anthony Zuco, was busy being a dad in New Jersey). Slightly early for many bar owners to be up and in professional mode on a weekend, but about 45 minutes later, the place would turn into a big day-drinking DJ party, “Afrikandy.” “We’re doing a lot more parties on the weekends now,” says Sosa. “It’s cold and people like to go out on Sundays and drink.” And as I thought to myself, As if the man didn’t already have enough to organize, I found out that later that night, Sosa would be in the live venue space, doing the lights for a magic show. “It’s the first time we’re doing [magic]. There are three magicians who are hip—hip magicians.” I took a second to consider how “hip” and “magician” could be combined, but the concept was new to Sosa as well. “I don’t know, I’ll find out [tonight] myself,” he says.
Previously, Sosa did all the programming at the now-decamped-to-Detroit Galapagos Art Space, and at a multi-genre space in Manhattan called the Zipper Theater; he’s also worked as an artist agent. In short, Sosa knows things about entertaining people. Co-owner and long-time friend Sam Gilliland is a senior graphic designer, and Sosa’s fiancé Michael Zuco is a critical care nurse. (“If anybody [passes out] here, I can save them,” Zuco points out.) Finally, Zuco’s brother Anthony has a background in business. Combined, the expertise is diverse, but their vision of what a venue could be is the same. “What we’re doing here in general is diversity,” says Sosa. “The idea is to celebrate all walks of life and all types of art and music,” which, importantly for them, includes showcasing queer artists and people of color, Sosa tells me.
Here’s just a sampling of upcoming residencies and events at C’mon Everybody to give you an idea of what this diversity means: Everybody, Everybody, a monthly 90s dance party; Monday Night Burlesque, every third Monday; Bingo with Murray Hill, 4th Mondays; DJ Rich Medina will have a monthly residency and a New Year’s Eve Party; then there’s Brazilian Soul Session, every second Sunday—and on and on.
They’ve got diversity down, but also, potentially, noise. I wondered if it was difficult to get permits and neighbor support for all of that? Sosa said, yes, they do have neighbors who are sensitive to sound, but they put in work ahead of time at community board meetings, and getting signatures from neighbors for their full support, and Sosa is now on friendly texting-terms with them all. “The crowds have been very different each night,” says Sosa, and, a testament to how much the block has accepted their new multi-genre venue: “A neighbor around the corner threw a party here last Friday. The crowd was like late-40s through early 60s, but there was really good music and dancing and old school R&B and disco, and it was so much fun,” said Sosa. “It’s hectic, but everybody’s feedback has been really positive.”
It’s getting close to 1pm, so our group, sitting on what could be “the longest wood banquet in Bed-Stuy,” jokes Zuco—which is, indeed, very long and quite beautiful, just as all of the retro-modern wood work is there—starts to get up; the party must go on. Sosa greets an Afrikandy DJ who walks in, and I look up and see a giant, totally alluring framed image, which is like a big severed head with light beams emitting out from it on a beach. It’s the centerpiece of the room, and the hues of red and green and gold are synchronized in a weird but totally pleasing way, around the mystery head. It is glorious. Zuco says he and Sosa bought it for their own apartment at Housing Works, but then they realized it was just the image for their new bar.
“We saw it in the store and we were like, ‘oooooh god,’” said Zuco. “It found its way here and, somehow, it is exactly the right thing.”
C’mon Everybody is located at 325 Franklin Avenue, between Clifton Place and Greene Avenue; Sunday-Thursday, 6pm – 2am; Friday – Saturday, 6pm – 4am.