San Francisco Opening: Preservation Hall West at the Chapel

The storied New Orleans venue named after the legendary band (turning 50 this year) has made the 2,200-mile haul to Northern California, setting up its first satellite in Mission District: Preservation Hall West at the Chapel.

Though it launched with a trio of shows by its venerated namesake act (pictured here), and has already featured Steve Earle and Elvis Costello, the new Preservation Hall West at the Chapel is intent on upping the buzz of already buzzy Valencia Street by presenting very contemporary indie darlings like Here We Go Magic and The Joy Formidable. In a century-old building originally devised as a mortuary (we’ll spare you the "rock is dead" jokes), it’s a spectacular setting for live music, with bands playing under a 40-foot arched ceiling, right by the on-site restaurant. 

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Three Sisters (+1)

Next month, TEEN, the band formed by Teeny Lieberson (of Here We Go Magic) and her sisters, Lizzie and Katherine plus a friend Jane Herships, will release their debut album, In Limbo. There are already two tracks out: Better (which is better) and Electric (which is also prettty good.) It’s poppy and also slightly psychy. The girls wear high wasted jeans so you know they’re a Brooklyn band. They are, in fact. And in they’re playing three Brooklyn shows — one 7/18 at La Sala; one 7.20 at Le Poisson Rouge and one the night after at Union Pool. You should probably go see them. 

Hamptons Opening: Canal Room Southampton

With its Manhattan counterpart having achieved legendary status (the likes of Jay-Z, Elvis Costello, and John Mayer have all graced the stage), Marcus Linial and Sam Lott’s Canal Room Southampton is likely to be the Hamptons party of 2012.

The 7,500-square-foot, bi-level space is sure to be a magnet for music biz types, with retro-themed ‘80s and ‘90s nights (featuring live acts), while billiards and arcade games (and decidedly flash-free interiors) will make it a regular draw for those not interested in rubbing shoulders with socialite types. Kitsch cocktail selections include The Vanilla Icey and The Fresh Prince. 

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Williamsburg Gets Another Dose of Punk and Class

What do you get when you combine an Australian punk rocker, an owner of a dive-like venue, and someone behind one of the hippest dance-party bars in Manhattan? Anyone? Well, you get The Flat, a classy new bar in Williamsburg run by Johnny Siera of the band Death Set, Lit Lounge‘s Max Brennan, and Home Sweet Home‘s Kristin Vincent.

“This whole thing came about because a lot of people from Lit moved to Brooklyn,” says Brennan. “I made it look like an old London flat and didn’t want it be a dive like Lit.”

So, Brennan designed the spot using antique paraphernalia that he collected from various shops in the city. Now the chic bar features long leather couches, old photographs hanging on the walls, French wallpaper from the 1890s, low lighting, and a vintage chandelier that cost more than anything else in the space. All this a far cry from the original, nondescript bar that Brennan walked into three years ago.

“I saw only three people sipping drinks on a Friday night, and asked the owners if they wanted to sell,” he says, adding that he hadn’t originally intended to be in this location, but the with the right price and a 15-year lease, it felt serendipitous to build his bar there. And, Brennan reiterated, save for the live bands, it’s not like Lit at all.

“We primarily want it to be a place that’s not a dive bar, but also not a douchey Meatpacking club,” says Siera. “It’s a place where the rock ‘n’ roll crowd can be comfortable.”

It appears he got his wish. On a recent night, it wasn’t surprising to see the spattering of scruffy men in tight black jeans, plaid flannels, and stylish sneakers that sidled up to the bar to down one of the house cocktails and to chase shots of margarita with a Dos Equis. On the drink end, I can easily recommend Simon’s Breakfast, a blend of Tanqueray, cucumber, lime juice Worcestershire, and hot sauce, or  the decedent French 75 with Dorothy Parker Gin and lemon. They also, naturally, sell beer and shot combos (it is Williamsburg, after all) like the one mentioned and a have a full, well stocked bar.

Aside from drinks and glamour, Siera says they also plan to feature DJs, an array of indie, psycho punk, electronic, and rock bands, and old movies on their pull-down screen. As a woman flashed manically on the wall, Brennan brought over a selection of films they want to show including The Hunger, 400 Blows, The Third Man, and, he says, basically anything by Nicolas Roeg and Federico Fellini.

As for Siera, he knew Brennan after years of playing at Lit, so when the opportunity came up to help run the bar, he pounced. “I guess I was sick of touring all the time, so, it made sense,” he said. And, he warns, don’t expect to see his band playing at the Flat any time soon, if ever.