New York City’s revered live music club the Bottom Line closed down on January 22nd, just three weeks prior to its thirtieth birthday. The venue opened on February 12, 1974 and hosted thousands of performances over the years, most notably a string of Bruce Springsteen shows that helped launch his career in 1975.
Springsteen was one of the many who had offered financial support to the club, which had fallen behind on rent payments to its landlord, New York University, totaling $185,000. Though the financial backers, which also included Sirius Satellite Radio, had easily covered the back rent, the club’s founders and owners, Allan Pepper and Stanley Snadowski, wanted to secure a new, long-term lease before covering their arrears.
Discussions between the club and the university broke down and NYU requested an order of eviction from the courts, which was grated in early December. Both sides continued to discuss a new arrangement, but the Bottom Line’s owners walked away from the negotiations, which called for them to provide more than $1 million in renovations and begin paying a rent that had increased more than 200 percent.
Over three decades the 400 capacity club was best known for bringing the city a cross-genre selection of live music.
“The Bottom Line has always been about the music, and we find fulfillment in knowing that we have stayed the course and remained true to our vision,” a letter from the club’s owners read. “We are proud to have provided a stage where new acts grew to become familiar friends; where unknown acts became superstars, where pioneers and innovators could stake their claim; where acts who were tentative could fail, fall on their faces, and then could come back and learn to do it the right way; where established acts who were no longer the flavor of the month could maintain their dignity and nurture their creativity from a loyal audience.”