Opening day at The Low Beat: Photos

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After hearing rumors of a soft opening of The Low Beat, I had to check the space out. I had wanted to check it out while they were still working on the inside, but because that didn’t happen, I had no idea what to expect.

The Low Beat sits at 335 Central Ave next to Pauly’s Hotel. While this is a bit further from me than Valentine’s was, this gives both spaces the opportunity to have concurrent bookings and operate in tandem. Think upstairs/downstairs Valentine’s, but next door to one another. This could be a very valuable asset of the new space.

The Low Beat’s space is awesome. It’s as clean as a hospital compared to Valentine’s and the feel of the place is much homier compared to the cinderblocks of Valentine’s. Warhols Woodshed was jamming out when I got there and the crowd was happy to see the space operational. The space is about the same as downstairs Valentine’s. The bathrooms are a trillion times cleaner as well which pretty much everyone can appreciate.

There’s still no concrete timeline for the demolition of Valentine’s. Rumor has it that the pizza place next door still has over a year on their lease. But after being jerked around for so long by Albany Med, it’s clear why Howard decided to flip the switch as early as he could.

Stay in the loop with The Low Beat via their facebook and website.

A first look at Superior Merchandise Co.: Photos

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As all classic novels begin, I recently got a follow on Instagram from an account of interest. Said account is a not-yet-in-existence business based in Troy. The tagline read “Design Boutique and Bookstore + Beer, Wine and Coffee Bar”, so clearly, I was interested.

About ten seconds of digging led me through their photos and I could see that this project is no small undertaking. The building at 147 Fourth Street in Troy was abandoned for a long time, filled with garbage, and was stated to be demolished. That was until Felicity and Mike swooped in and purchased the building from the city. Jeff Buell, who is no stranger to fixing things up in Troy (simply google him) has his team on this project in full force. A load-bearing wall which was in disrepair has already been braced. An illegal addition to the building is to be demolished soon. The list goes on. And on.

The actual business, Superior Merchandise Co., will be a design boutique and bookstore with beer, wine and coffee. They’ll have a mix of old and new items such as posters, prints, clothing, jewelry, magazines and more. The owners will be living on the third floor of the building, with apartments also going into the second floor. This space sounds like a pretty ideal place to spend time and maybe even pick up things for your apartment, or for a unique gift for someone. The space is expected to open in early 2015.

These stories of to be bulldozed buildings getting bought and fixed really gives me hope for what’s to come. There’s no reason to build some new zero-personality cookie cutter home for people when there’s tons already standing ready to be rehabbed.

Click the photo above to check the gallery! And don’t forget to like Superior Merchandise Co. on facebook.

The New Madison Theater opening Friday: Photos

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Yesterday, I stopped by the Madison Theater to check out the changes that have been taking place over the past few months, and to talk about what to expect when they re-open. To make a long story short, Tierra Farm has bought the theater since the landlords wouldn’t guarantee a renewed lease for the coffee shop. The farm is no stranger to real estate, so working out a way to purchase the building wasn’t anything out of the ordinary to them. However, the whole operating a movie theater thing is.

Continue reading…

Miami Art Basel 2013: Photos and Recap

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Last year, I made the trek to Miami for the internationally acclaimed Art Basel, on a total whim. That’s the thing about Miami – it’s such a popular travel destination that if you play your cards right and search online diligently, even booking last minute, you can fly there roundtrip for way less than one month’s rent.

This year, I almost didn’t make it happen but my friend Christina helped me to remember that traveling is always worth it and we’d make it work financially later. This year, we had a better footing of how to begin with the art beast that is Art Basel and didn’t get quite as lost. To put it simply, every day throughout the long weekend, you wake up, get ready, figure out your first meal of the day, come up with your first art-related destination and then let the day run its course. You likely will end up a cool gallery you didn’t know existed or an after-party with an open bar and amazing DJ. There is so much going on with Basel, the first rule is to accept that you cannot and will not see it all.

This year we did pretty well, hitting up the Wynwood Arts District (during the day and at night, it’s two different vibes), the SCOPE art fair (which this year, took place right on the beach), The Miami Project art fair and the Select art fair, which took place in a gutted hotel. It is an art overload, as it features the who’s who of the contemporary art world mixed in with thousands of upcoming talented artists and galleries.

There is no perfect map or guide to attending the fairs during Art Basel – you just have to follow the path you are visually drawn to. The same goes for nightlife and music. This year we managed to catch sets from SBTRKT, Ryan Hemsworth, Jubilee, L-VIS 1990, Danny Brown, Trick Daddy, A-Trak, Schlohmo, Jaques Greene, Gooddroid and SZA; all in three nights. We didn’t hit up the food trucks this year, but made up for it with sandwiches from Jimmy’z Kitchen. We also managed to spend some time poolside and see the beach, which last year we didn’t have time for. I think I’d prefer to visit Miami during Art Basel weekend over any other time of year. Basel is great time to visit Miami because people travel from all over and for different reasons, and you end up meeting a lot of people through the simple common interest of checking out art and music.

For those of you who can’t quite make Miami happen or want to check out certain art fairs prior to next December, several are hosted annually in New York City, such as SCOPE, which will be returning in March 2014. It is definitely worth a city trek; I made it last year to SCOPE in the city, and it’s a great taste of a slice of what is on display in Miami for Basel.

Hit the jump to see some photos from this year’s trip!

Continue reading…

KAB Guide to Nashville

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Since the busy season at work is technically over, I took a celebratory vacation somewhere I had never been, for no other reason than to do something new.

I heard many great things about Nashville, especially from a DJ we had booked a while ago for a party at the Fuze Box. I did a bit of research, gotten a few recommendations from friends, put it all in a spreadsheet and got on a plane. Nashville feels to Austin as Albany feels to New York City. There was fewer things to do overall, but there was always something going on and tons to check out. The standout places to me were definitely Barista Parlor, Rolf and Daughters, Mas Tacos and No. 308.

Barista Parlor is a massive indoor/outdoor coffee shop in what I believe was at one point a car repair shop, since it has three bay garage doors in front. In the center of the huge there is four counters in a square, with the baristas gear all on the inside of it. They are a multi-roaster coffee shop which is pretty rare, and it was great to be able to get different coffees from different roasters. Most of the photos above are from inside here since it was within walking distance, and was part of the morning ritual.

Rolf and Daughters. Holy shit. We got a reservation to this place about a month in advance, and I’m glad we did because in that time I had learned they were ranked as the number three new restaurant by Bon Appetit, as well as getting on Esquire’s best new restaurant list. The food here was insane. The drinks here were insane. I am no foodie by any means but as a vegan I am generally more aware of what’s going on with what I’m eating. Even with that said, everything I ate was incredible. I had no idea what was acctually going on in my entree but it was incredible, as were the appetizers and drinks.

Mas Tacos in it’s last life was Nashville’s favorite taco truck, but they have since found permanent digs and are open a few hours a day for lunch. Or if you’re me, breakfast. Actual tacos, double wrapped in corn tortillas, with cilantro and most obviously, NO RICE. Fried avocado taco was insanely good, plantains and beans was incredible and the list goes on. They’re a busy little hole-in-the-wall spot that was packed since the moment they opened the doors. Someone in Albany needs to just completely rip this off for our own sake. A few photos above are from here.

No. 308 was a strange little spot, but awesome. It was essentially a dive bar, but with two huge pages of craft cocktails, as well as plenty of beers. They have a section of house made soda drinks that aren’t carbonated until you order it. I got a gin and ginger ale and it was all mixed together, then carbonated in front of me and put on ice. Another stand out there was their concoction of gin, Pimm’s, house-made cucumber water, serrano chili and rosewater. Again, just in a class of its own.

I can go on and on but the takeaway here is that there’s a ton to do everywhere. Just go and seek it out. Southwest flies out of Albany to basically everywhere, and runs deals all the time. I’d suggest Nashville.

Hit the jump for the gallery and the quick little synopsis of other places I visited on the trip. Continue reading…