After a months-long hiatus, pierogis meet punk again this weekend. On Saturday, September 9, music venue and neighborhood beacon Warsaw (261 Driggs) is opening its doors to the public for the first time since January.
The closure was due to extensive renovations including expanding the balcony and green room — which now features pierogi pillows, of course — and making ADA and bathroom updates. For Warsaw production manager Adam Romanowski, the former are the two updates he’s most excited about.
“Artists are going to be a lot more comfortable this year,” Romanowski said about the new green room (which another attendee of Warsaw’s friends and family event this week could be overheard saying looks “like a f**king hotel”).
Warsaw also updated it’s POS systems to take card, so you can keep the drinks (especially thanks to new added bars) and pierogis flowing even when you run out of cash.
But while the venue has gotten plenty of modern, spacious upgrades, it hasn’t lost the Polish authenticity and charm that makes it so quintessentially Greenpoint. The pierogis and kielbasa still remain, slung by Warsaw staple Danuta Zakrzewska (who is also a local rollerskating legend), plus the unique staging and decor that makes it so distinct while calling back to the venue’s original roots as a Polish community center.
“I’m really excited about it, I feel like a proud father,” Mark Chroscielewski, general manager and Warsaw founder, explained. “We started this over 20 years ago as a mecca for young people.”
Warsaw as we know it today started with a kegerator and a dream — Chroscielewski’s father was the president of the Polish National Home in its heyday, but after crunching some numbers, it was Chroscielewski’s idea to open the club up to the public and host concerts (and sell cheap beer) to keep up with the trends of the time. As he recalls it, Warsaw’s first concert was days shy of 9/11 and featured rocker Bonnie “Prince” Billy.
Now, the venue is hosting an eclectic lineup of bands like Osees, Pussy Riot, and Arkells; pop group CHAI, indie singer Frankie Cosmos, and even a live show for the I’ve Had It podcast. The reopening show on Saturday will be headlined by Scranton native and founding Tigers Jaw member Adam McIlwee under his stage name Wicca Phase Springs Eternal. Tickets are available here.