Dive Bombs and Dive Bars # 5 – Ramming Speed’s Guide to America’s Rock n’ Roll Venues

Name: Saint Vitus
Category: Venue

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Behind an unmarked black door on Manhattan Ave in Greenpoint lies America’s kvltest watering hole. “None More Black” doesn’t even begin to describe the interior of Saint Vitus; everything from the walls to the toilet seats are a bleak absence of light, the only respite being the red twinkle of small candles smeared around the room. The staff seems to take their metal very seriously, and the decor is a refreshing change from the kitschy Hooters-meets-TapOut vibe of most “rocker” bars. Expect to hear doom and black metal blasting in the front room and a mix of local and national metal bands playing in the back venue.

Sound/Stage: The only sound issue I ever had about playing Saint Vitus was the lack of a drum monitor, but thankfully they finally picked one up in time for our gig last April with Revocation and Cannabis Corpse. If bands are backlining, it can be a little tricky moving around, as the stage is fairly shallow, but the PA and sound staff are very capable.

Drink Menu: Of the half-dozen drink specials, my favorites are “el CARDENAL” ($7 for a Modelo can & a shot of Sauza) and “BISHOP” ($6 for a tall Coors heavy & a shot of Evan Williams). On tap you’ll find craft selections from Six Point and Ommegang, among others.

Food: Smell-goods might call it tapas or whatever, but next to the bar stands a free-floating station selling small, taco-like sandwiches. Whenever we’re there, I always get a couple of the delicious vegan BBQ/kimchee sammies, but for the meaties they also have pulled pork, cheesesteak and more. Don’t forget to tip! Dude is working just as hard as the bartenders.

Hospitality: Depending on what headliner we’re rolling with we’ve been treated to everything from cases of beer to a handful of drink tickets, but they’re good for beers AND well drinks (important!). The basement doubles as bar storage/band area, and it’s great for warming up, changing and all that other shit people never think you need a private room for.

Crowd: I’m the farthest thing from a metal purist, but you can tell this place is legit by looking around the room. No Chads or Chrissies doing Jager bombs and table dancing, just true metal punk warriors getting shit-tanked.

Bathroom: The shitters get an A+ in my book. They have huge deadbolts, plenty of soap/TP, and even if they’re dirty, you’d never notice in the PITCH FUCKING BLACK. Squirting PBR out of your butthole has never been so grim.

Staff: The people that work at Saint Vitus seem to take their jobs very seriously while remaining friendly and helpful. The bartenders on hand have always been quick and attentive, the door guys are friendly but unfuckwithable, and the owner seems like a great dude from our limited interactions.

In Closing: Ramming Speed has played this place four or five times and only once have I walked out of the door even remotely sober. I’ve had the pleasure of playing with awesome locals like Natur and Skullshitter, shared a good cry with old friends (I’m looking at you Princess and Rock Bottom), chugged millions of beers to Pentagram and Mötley Crüe over the bar sound system, and front-flipped off a table during the Barn Burner music video shoot. I know NYC has tons of bars and venues, but this place is something special.