KGB in the News

The Inquisitive Eater
The Inquisitive Eater

85 E 4th Street houses the Kraine Theater, the famous KGB Bar, and, its latest edition, the Red Room. Though there is much discussion about its individual parts, the building as a whole has a long and rich history, much of which is evident. The owner, Denis Woychuk, is one of the wittiest, warmest people I’ve ever met, and is quick to open up.

As we sit and chat in the Red Room, he’s quick to relate everything that’s happened in 85 East 4th: “In 1838 this building was built. Think about this. The Civil War is almost 30 years in the future. Lincoln’s wearing short pants and studying his grammar, he’s… I really don’t know what Lincoln was doing.”

Almost since the start, the building was used for political purposes. “In 1878, this building was the first headquarters for the Women’s Aid Society in America,” Denis says. Concerns for worker’s rights, particularly immigrant worker’s rights rose at the beginning of the 20th Century, and by 1911, the same year as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, the building was occupied... ›› read more

AM New York

The establishment is mantaining a longstanding neighborhood tradition as a home for writers and their work.

A faint red hue illuminates the door frame of one of the East Village’s last literary hangouts, the KGB Bar on East Fourth Street. Perhaps it’s fitting that this neon glow almost seems like a secret invitation to enter the space, located in a building that owner Denis Woychuk calls “Culture House,” a space retaining its identity as a literary bar when many other cultural institutions in the neighborhood have come and gone. “We do a lot of culture here,” Woychuk says. ›› read more
Bedford + Bowery
Absinthe Tasting at Red Room

The Red Room above KGB— the former black box that you were probably dragged to by college friends doing DIY theater in the early aughts— has become a swanky, prohibition-themed bar. Every bit as tuxedo as the KGB is shirtsleeves, it boasts warm lighting and art deco details, with a tiny stage and a copper bathtub. “The Green Fairy” event showcases a monthly absinthe tasting paired with era-appropriate entertainment: August’s episode features live piano by Chris Johnson, absinthe history by Kellfire Bray, and Nelson Lugo on the Victrola during breaks. Ticket prices drop for those in “vintage, evening wear, unmentionables or intimate attire,” encouraging you to help create the ambiance.

We caught up with producer Don Spiro to get inside the cat’s pajamas, and also checked in with T.A. Breaux, founder of Jade Liqueurs and arguably the enthusiast most responsible for the revival of genuine absinthe. A scientist, he spearheaded reverse-engineering found bottles of original 19th century absinthe, sharing his research and helping give rise to the diverse current marketplace. ›› read more

Person Place Thing with Paul Schaffer

(Podcast - click here to listen on Person Place Thing site.)

For 33 years, he was David Letterman’s music director and comic sideman, a career that began in Canada with the Toronto production of Godspell, as did those of Gilda Radner, Martin Short, and Andrea Martin. Some production! Some careers! And now what? What do you do when your job ends after three decades? Savvy reflections on a life in show business for Humanities New York. ›› read more

Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation

It only takes about 30 seconds to walk between the buildings at 64 and 85 East 4th Street. Today that walk would take you from a show at the IATI and Paradise Theaters to a drink at the KGB bar. But nearly one hundred years ago, that same distance would take you deep into the heart of the labor organizing movement on the Lower East Side.

On East 4th Street at 2pm on July 7, 1910 the largest labor strike in the U.S. until that point began with furor. Nearly 70,000 members of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) descended upon a seemingly non-descript building at 64 East 4th Street where socialist journalist Abraham Cahan addressed the members of the union. 64 East 4th street was by no means a random meeting point. It was the home of the Labor Lyceum – a building that had been, and would still be, a significant address in the history of Lower East Side social and labor movements. ›› read more