Music Industry Execs Open Idle Hands Bar
Whether through TV shows like ‘Cheers’ and ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ or beer-fueled bonding sessions with friends, nearly everyone’s dreamed about owning a bar. A trio of New York music industry veterans has just made that dream a reality by opening Idle Hands, a speakeasy-themed bar in New York City’s Easy Village with the tagline ‘Bourbon. Beer. Rock.’
While label vet Marc Schapiro entertained the idea of bar ownership for the last decade while working at labels like Roadrunner and Ferret, it wasn’t until he started his own company, Branch Marketing Collective, several years ago that he got serious about it.
“Being in the music industry and going to bars and concert venues all around the world, i saw what other people were doing,” he tells Noisecreep. “I figured out what i liked and didn’t like about bars, and thought I could do it better. it’s the same reason people start labels or bands.”
His music industry colleagues David “The Rev” Ciancio and Rob Morton had similar thoughts, and the seed was planted. Ciancio’s reasons for jumping into bar ownership are more personal. “I’ve wanted to own a bar ever since I was 16 and my dad made it sound like the coolest thing in the world,” he says. “He had a dream that he and I would one day own a bar together. Unfortunately, I lost my father before he was able to realize his dream, but I can now proudly say, ‘This one is for you, Bones.’”
Schapiro says the partnership between the three makes perfect sense. “We decided to partner up because we each had different ideas and connections,” he says. “Rev was really into craft beer and Rob was really into bourbon, and that’s how we came up with the ‘Bourbon. Beer. Rock.’ concept.”
As a result, Ciancio will be in charge of selecting beers and Morton will take care of the liquor menu. Other than their alcohol preferences, each of the three owners bring different things to the table. Schapiro’s finance degree came in handy when making a business plan. The Rev, who manages artists including Shadows Fall and runs the food blog Burger Conquest, will be handling the bulk of the social media and event marketing for the bar. And Morton’s video production background comes in handy with the day-to-day details like scheduling and inventory.
While there’s no shortage of places to have a drink in the East VIllage, the three are looking to spread awareness of the bar like they would a band. “It all comes down to word of mouth,” Schapiro says. “Our marketing budget is $0. It’s Internet postings. We’ve already gotten a lot of good press, and the way we’ve done it — a soft launch, starting a buzz, doing social networking — we’re treating this like a release. We’re going to try to ‘break’ this bar for the next few years.”
Ciancio maintains that running a bar is like managing a band. “There’s always more work to do, the competition is fierce around every corner, and someone is always asking for a freebie,” he says.
The ‘rock’ portion of the bar will help it stand out as well. The walls are lined with framed concert posters by the likes of Frank Kozik and Derek Hess (not to mention a signed headshot of Mario Andretti). A bill signed by the Rolling Stones‘ Mich Jagger and Ronnie Wood is displayed over the bar. The bathrooms are completely covered by band stickers.
The music collections of the three owners also ensure that Idle Hands will never be mistaken for a dance club. “There will be no Lady Gaga here,” Schapiro says. “But after seeing her Ping page, this is her open invitation to come visit!”