7. HiFi Bar
Originally known as Brownie’s before becoming HiFi in 2002, this quintessential East Village bar has served as a staple for the city’s rock music scene for 28 years until its closing in October 2017. In its heyday, however, HiFi hosted modern rock acts such as Spoon, My Morning Jacket, Interpol, and the National.
Over the past decade, HiFi attempted to keep up with the gentrifying neighborhood by replacing its live music stage with a digital jukebox, one of the first digital jukeboxes in the country, that held over 50,000 songs. The restaurant scraped its stage to put in the jukebox, but kept the vintage pool tables and pinball machines. While it still remained somewhat popular up until its closing, the HiFi Bar changed significantly from its original status as a grimy, rock-n-roll hotspot. Ultimately, the owner decided to close its doors to avoid straying too far from the bar’s original vision, citing a shift in neighborhood dynamics and the new generation’s indifference to the bar as the reason.