An icon of the New Jersey Music scene was torn down today. An irreplaceable, storied venue has been taken from us. Let it be remembered that on November 17, 2022 the legendary Brighton Bar was demolished.
Back in 2016, about a month before I took over Jersey Rock, our Program Director Carl Craft asked me what I knew about the Long Branch music scene. My immediate response was “You mean The Brighton Bar?” I know there are other great places for live music in the area, including the dearly departed Inkwell, but to me The Brighton Bar was a music scene in and of itself. It was a special place; grimy, welcoming, and truly Rock N’ Roll. It was dark, adorned with art and oddities that were oozing with coolness and creativity. Across from the bar was the iconic wall, covered in the names of bands that had rocked the venue, including many who treated the place like it was their second home.
My first time in The Brighton Bar was as a DJ with Monmouth University’s student-run radio station WMCX-FM. We put on a number of shows there in the 2000’s. My final time at The Brighton Bar was Thanksgiving Eve 2019 for the annual Big Tom And The Guns Show. In between, I got to host Jersey Rock events at the Brighton Bar showcasing local talent. One of those shows was The Allison Swift Memorial Show in August of 2016. I’ll never forget how then Brighton Bar owner Greg Macolino gave us the venue to tribute a fallen member of our WRAT family and to raise money for her children. We had a stacked bill that night, which included Frankenstein 3000. The group is lead by WRAT’s host of the Electric Ballroom Keith Roth, one of the aforementioned individuals who called The Brighton home. Keith had this to say:
“It’s heart-wrenching to see the Brighton Bar demolished. It’s like a piece of me being destroyed. The countless shows I played with so many iconic artists. Oh the memories…so many good times that I experienced there for decades. It was my Punk Rock Cheers! Devastating!”
Keith Roth’s sentiment echoes throughout the Jersey Rock scene. Just about everyone who’s ever played or attended a show at The Brighton Bar has put out some kind of tribute on social media, including Monster Magnet and Atomic Bitchwax bass player Chris Kosnik, who captured the demolition on video. He wrote:
“Too many memories to list. Met my wife here, worked as a sound man for 6 years and got signed to Atlantic Records with Godspeed. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll. This place had it all. Thanks Jacko and Greg. RIP Brighton Bar. Long Branch NJ.”
You can watch the video Chris captured of the demolition below. We are grateful to him for capturing it and letting us use it.
Thank you Brighton Bar for opening your doors to the local music scene. For providing a place for creativity to thrive and great times to be had. We will never forget you.
Photo/Video Credit: Chris Kosnik