It was mid-June 2018 when NYC comedy club, The Stand closed its doors in the Gramercy location it called home ever since the club began. The closing was necessary, the club had outgrown itself in a quick handful of years to a point where the 70 seat comedy room was just not enough. The owners dreamed of a larger location, possibly multiple rooms. After a little over a year, a lot of hard work, and some pop up shows along the way, this week The Stand re-opened its doors in a new location on 16th St in Union Square and we were there for the grand opening celebration.
The Stand was always operated by comedy fans who knew what they liked and worked hard to fill its doors with great comedy shows and food to keep fans coming back to the club. With that ethos in mind, their new location looks like it will continue to do just that but to a much larger scale.
As you walk into the club, it’s atmosphere is different than what you imagine a comedy club to be, large ceilings, generous bar, restaurant (with new exec chef Harold Villarosa), and a Pizza bar. We took advantage of said pizza bar and tasted some of their creations which will probably have food bloggers talking just as much as the comedy fans. For the sake of this write-up, we’ll leave the food reviews to the foodies.
The back of the main floor also features restaurant seating. But make no mistake, it also has a small comedy space with a stage that has already started to host specialty shows and live podcast tapings. In fact, Legion of Skanks podcast recently relocated from its longtime taping spot at The Creek And The Cave in to this very stage at The Stand. This space provides a very special opportunity for the club to be turned into a much larger comedy room. Large, retractable glass dividers allow for the stage to be intimate for 60 people, or when opened, allow a show to seat hundreds as far back as to the bar plus standing room. Making the space very diverse for what it can accommodate.
If you wish to find out what other secrets The Stand holds (and where you’ll find the comedy diehards), make your way to the side of the main level’s stage and head down a long hallway, past the kitchen and bathrooms and you’ll find the steps to the basement space. At the bottom of the steps tucked away in the corner is a speakeasy bar serving you signature cocktails before the true gem of the comedy club is revealed, a performance space very much outfitted in the spirit of its old room.
The new downstairs/basement space is where you’ll more than likely see some of the best stand-up comedians working in the city. They managed to re-create the intimacy a small 80 person basement had, a stage with close seating, low ceilings and dark. They went a bit deeper with the seats and wider to accommodate around 160 people now. Their lineups were never in question but you can just imagine how much more it will serve comedians at a club that in addition to having nation acts drop in, really works to cultivate the next generation and those on the rise can perform in front of larger crowds on a regular basis. And of course, the stage has their updated blue and black logo still paying tribute to their pal, late comedian Mike Distefano.
As we walked around this space, we heard pretty much every comedian in attendance at the party toss off some great statement about the room. They all seemed eager to get on the stage in front of a crowd. This room seemed built for the comedians and we will not be surprised if more than a few live performances get taped in this space in the near future.
So, comedy fans, Union Square is now a new destination you must put on your NYC comedy map. The Stand is open for business and by all indications, business is gonna be boomin’. Whether you want to grab drinks and food with friends or see some of the best comedy the city has to offer, you should make your way over there and do it soon.
Follow The Stand on Instagram, where you’ll see pretty much every comedian you can think of jumping on their stage.