Brighton Bar of Long Branch, home of original music at Jersey Shore, has shut its doors
Demolition begins at at Long Branch's Seaview Towers Asbury Park Press
The legendary Brighton Bar of Long Branch, the longtime home of original music at the Jersey Shore, has shut its doors.
Shows and events in April at the venue are canceled with no postponement dates, according to bands and promoters, and there are no shows scheduled beyond the month.
The venue has not announced why the shows have been canceled. Venue owner Gregory Macolino has not replied to requests for comment.
The last night at the Brighton was the March 21 RetroSonics show.
“All the Brighton Bar show are canceled,” said Steve Ferrigno of the Quiet Ones, who were scheduled to play on Saturday. His other band, Metalland, were Brighton regulars who will now play May 1 at the Jackson Moose Lodge in Jackson.
The Brighton on Brighton Avenue in the West End section of Long Branch is famously called “Home of Original Music on the Jersey Shore,” and, more specifically, it’s the first home of punk rock at the Shore.
Greats like Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Bernie Worrell, the Dictators, the Dickies, the Damned, Hubert Sumlin, Three Doors Down, Gene Loves Gezebel, Jacko Monahan and more have played the Brighton stage, and hard rock bands Monster Magnet and Godspeed got their start there.
Macolino is the sixth owner of the venue.
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“He made it possible for a lot of bands to play,” said Ferrigno of Macolino. “Even during the COVID thing, the Quiet Ones did a live broadcast with no audience from the Brighton and Metalland played outdoors in the driveway.”
The Brighton started a new restaurant offering called Peasant's Pasta during the outbreak, which closed indoor entertainment venues from March to September last year. Indoor entertainment venues are presently limited to either 35 percent of a venue's capacity, or 150 people for indoor shows.
“He allowed for so many benefits to happen there,” Ferrigno said. “The Brighton was always a willing and welcoming place. I really hope at the end of all this it's good for Greg personally, and I also hope it's him staying there. Everyone's rooting for the return of Greg, or if it opens under new ownership, it’s the same commitment to the local music scene that Greg has had.”
The Brighton has also been supportive of the local comedy scene under Macolino, said Brian St. John, host of the venue's Mystery Variety Show.
“For many years the Brighton Bar provided a home base for the Jersey Shore's otherwise unwanted comedians to work on their acts, themselves, and with each other,” said St. John via email. “Without the venue, the current scene would not exist but it will continue to thrive due to the foundation the Brighton Bar helped set.”
Macolino, a history teacher at Long Branch High School, played the Brighton before he owned it with the bands Chronic Sick and the X Men, both stalwarts of the Jersey punk scene in the ‘80s.
The Brighton Bar has been open since 1915.
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Chris Jordan, a Jersey Shore native, covers entertainment and features for the USA Today Network New Jersey. Contact him at @chrisfhjordan; email@example.com.