What makes a good nightclub? Some might argue it’s a first-class sound system, positive vibes, impressive talent, affordable tickets, an ideal location and a curated atmosphere. Jolene Sound Room Brooklyn checks these boxes.
The intimate venue is inspired by the “fierceness and femininity of Dolly Parton,” according to its website. The retro-themed space—focused on disco, house and techno—celebrates both artists from Brooklyn’s thriving nightlife and global dance music culture. Some sound designers who have spun behind the decks include David Morales, Demi Riauísmo, Eli Escobar, WAAJEED, Jamie 3:26, Analog Soul, Justin Strauss, Riquísimo and DJ Spinna.
According to Will Buck, the club’s music director and a Brooklyn-based tastemaker, he looks for deejays making an impact and creating parties in the local area. He also dives into what New York City residents are interested in beyond name recognition and social media followers. For out-of-town talent, he seeks deejays who haven’t played in the city before and then decides if they will pair well with artists in the Big Apple. Access to shows at the ‘70s-themed hot spot is more affordable than others in the area, with tickets selling for as low as $20 and even being free in some cases.
Most notable about Jolene Sound Room Brooklyn is the sound system developed by Nicolas Matar and Scott Ciungan of Phonic Technologies—the same team behind the sonic gear at legendary New York clubs Cielo and Output. Buck says these closed venues remain the city’s most famous spots in the last 20 years.
“[Phonic Technologies] cared a lot and were really knowledgeable about how to fill the sound room and make sure that no matter where you stand in the room, you are really getting the full experience,” he says about how the company set up Jolene Sound Room Brooklyn.
The bespoke venue, which opened in Brooklyn in March and has a sister location in Miami, is situated on the first floor of the Moxy Williamsburg hotel and is accessible through a separate entrance on Bedford Avenue. However, the venue prides itself on being more than a hotel nightlife hub: It has an identity that allows it to hold its own as a standalone club, making for an organic night out of hopping around the Molly Williamsburg’s concepts before ending the night dancing at Jolene Sound Room Brooklyn. In addition, the space is a collaboration between Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi of Bar Lab Hospitality, as well as Davide Danese, Coloma Kaboomsky and David Sinopoli of Link Miami Rebels and Space Invaders. The latter trio has owned and operated Miami’s esteemed Club Space since 2016.
The location of the Brooklyn-based groovy sound room proves important as Williamsburg and Bushwick are the heart of New York City’s dance music scene. While some may assume it is Manhattan, there was a mass exodus of dance music club culture to Brooklyn 10 years ago. Buck says this is because Williamsburg used to be more affordable, attracting an artistic community that made the borough a “fertile ground” for creative spaces, such as clubs and other art forms. He adds that Ridgewood, a neighborhood in Queens, is also becoming a focal point for clubbing. Examples showing these areas’ booming nightlife include 99 Scott, SILO, Brooklyn Made, the partnership between Teksupport and ArtsDistrict, The Brooklyn Mirage and Knockdown Center.
The music director and New York City deejay of 10 years says Jolene Sound Room Brooklyn occupies a distinct space between bar venues and big clubs: Bar venues host 150 to 200 people, while big clubs draw in as many as over 400 people. Buck says this positions the Williamsburg-based nightclub to reap benefits such as providing a cozy atmosphere, allowing guests to be close to the deejay and having better sound quality because there is less space to cover than a massive venue. The nightlife space also features craft cocktails, making it ideal for a night of dancing and imbibing.
Buck says his goal is to have the club be an inclusive, entertaining, safe and memorable spot focusing on sound and music quality. As for the venue’s future, he says he wishes to create a memorable guest experience from start to finish. Indeed, Jolene Sound Room Brooklyn is designed to cater to dance music culture while meeting the requirements of what it means to be a good nightclub.