The week after I moved to Park Slope 10 years ago, a little French bar called Barbes opened on the corner of 6th Ave and 9th St., just a few blocks from my house. It was small, dark, and somewhat mysterious. Eventually, I got up the courage to take a peek inside, and soon discovered a whole world hiding out in the back room: a red-tiled speakeasy of world music, free jazz, and other eclectic sounds too niche or too strange to fit anywhere else. Immediately, I was hooked.
At this point, I can't even count the number of times I've been back to Barbès over the past ten years. It's become my Local: the place I'll go for a beer (or maybe a Sazerac) when I don't feel like traveling back from somewhere late at night. The place I'll go to hang out with friends from the neighborhood. The place I'll stop by on a quiet Sunday to get out of the house. Whenever I go, I know that there will be music, and that it will be good. Really good.
A couple of weeks ago, Barbès celebrated it's 10th anniversary in style with a string of five-a-night shows, ranging from classical, to jazz, to Romanian folk singing (and everywhere in-between.) Pride of place went to the regulars: Slavic Soul Party (Tuesday), the Mandingo Ambassadors (Wednesday), Chicha Libre (Thursday/Monday) - and, of course, Stephane Wrembel, whose been lighting up Sunday nights for almost as long as Barbès has been open.
During the festival, Olivier and Vincent announced that they re-upped their lease for another 10 years. Who knows how long I'll be in Park Slope, but I'm happy to know that Barbès will still be here whenever I want to visit. And, I bet it won't have changed a bit.
More pics on the photo page.