On January 1, Apt. 78 – the chill uptown bar on 4447 Broadway that has gotten a seal of approval from Questlove, Biz Markie and Major Lazer – will be shuttering. DNA Info reports that after five years, José Morales has decided its time to move on. He made the announcement in an Instagram post, where he said that there wasn’t anything else he could accomplish at Apt. 78.
“We focused on bringing dope [DJs] to come spin at a 100-person venue for FREE,” he said. “We wanted to create a space for that individual that had an idea, dream, or talent and help showcase whatever it was they wanted to do for FREE. Think about all the shit we did first that everyone else did after?!!”
Though, he doesn’t focus on it too much, he does say that trying to organize events became an uphill battle and that ongoing conflict with the NYPD and Community board took some of the fun out of the venue. In 2014, Apt. 78’s block party was canceled because the community board deemed it “hazardous to the community,” (despite zero incidents at the 2013 block party….). Morales said it was politicians trying to get back at him for not allowing them to speak at the block party that got the party canceled.
In the last year – adding to Morales’ battles – Apt. 78 was temporarily closed by the police and had trouble with its liquor license after complaints that they had been serving minors and summons for disorderly conduct. After the community rallied around Apt. 78, Community Board 12 renewed their liquor license.
According to his Instagram post, Morales plans to open a restaurant called “Bodega Pizza” at the same location.
Morales has been tweeting touching messages about the end of Apt. 78, and tributes have already been pouring in. In an emotional post, blogger Mel a La Mode called the venue a framework for much of her 20s, and thanked Morales “For establishing a judgement-free safe haven in a community that’s never seen something quite like it,” crediting Apt 78 with incubating new DJ careers, and giving the WaHi creative community a space to define their own unique vibe and feel part of something bigger.
We will sorely miss Apt 78. Below, revisit some of the good times: