Club Bonafide, located at 212 East 52nd Street, is bringing music back to 52nd Street with the same open, embracing attitude as existed when 52nd Street was known as "Swing Street." Richard Bona views Club Bonafide, as a vehicle for reigniting an openness within venues both by doing away with exclusivity clauses and by looking to instill a more genre-blind booking. In this way, Bona hopes to encourage a celebration of live music and an environment of collaboration that he views as crucial to building a scene. “Charlie Parker was performing on 52nd Street every night,” he notes. “And that’s part of what made him great. The artists have to be able to perform, and it helps no one if a great musician can only play in New York at a major club maybe three times a year.”
Bona views the club as an opportunity to present an improved business arrangement for performing artists. “As musicians we are missing something,” he explains. “We compose, we write and we create music, but when it comes time to sell it, we give it to someone else. And if we do that, we own nothing. This has been bad for us: costs have tripled and quadrupled since I came to New York 21 years ago, but salaries for musicians have not gone up. I went to a club to see a friend release his record and I found out that he had to pay $600 to even play in the club! When I saw that, I thought ‘Why must every cost go up, but artists’ fees go down?’ So I considered how we can get out of that, and I decided to create a club where the musicians can make money playing, where they can sell their CDs and get 100% of the revenue. I want to do something different and I believe we can run a club where everybody can make money.”
Richard Bona will be the club's first performer during the opening nights from September 9th-11th
Nik West will be the venue's second performer to play the venue on September 12th and 13th
"This was a city for music with bands, but now most of the guys are with pickup bands, and they only get to play one night here and another there. This kind of environment pushed me to open up a club.” With that idea in mind, one day he was walking down East 52nd Street and came across what he thought might be a good space, especially since the address number was 212. “We have the New York telephone area code already! I talked with the building manager and told him what I wanted to do. And he liked the idea very much. After that everything fell into place. And we signed a 25-year lease, which is unheard of, and we have the right to build up on top.”
Club Bonafide is owned by world-renowned, Cameroon born musician Richard Bona, and restaurateur Laurent Dantonio who owns two restaurants in Brooklyn; Santos Anne which offers a Mexican-French fusion cuisine, and Pates et Traditions which is a casual Gallic corner café with a South-of-France-focused cuisine. Richard is well known for sharing the stage with several of the most accomplished artists in the scene, including Pat Metheny, Harry Belafonte, John Legend, Mike Stern, George Benson, Branford Marsalis, Chaka Khan, Bobby McFerrin, Herbie Hancock, and more. The New York Times wrote of Richard: “Like many African songwriters, he sings lessons and parables. The language of his music is less specific; it draws on pop and jazz from across Africa, the Americas and Europe. His songs assume a virtuosity so complete that it only has to whisper.”
Club Bonafide is an intimate listening room with seating of 75 with a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system and a separate bar area, with a bar menu consisting primarily of products sourced from local businesses in the New York City area.
Club Bonafide is truly a unique New York experience.
For Schedule and Tickets: Club Bonafide