Nylon Nights

The DJ-Run Club You'll Want To Go To Every Thursday

Eli Escobar’s new Williamsburg venue was made for dancing — and hot dates.

Filling a Brooklyn club when it’s not the weekend isn’t always easy, but when I walked into Gabriela — the two-month-old Williamsburg space by veteran New York City DJ Eli Escobar — on a recent Thursday, I was surprised to see that it was packed. The two-floor venue still had that new-club sheen: Warm, red lights made it look like a dream as fog from an overworked smoke machine engulfed the attractive crowd spilling from its three distinct rooms. As I bypassed the coat check (the jacket was part of my look), I said a quick hello to Kevin Fallon, the owner of Fantasy Explosion — which told me the NYC’s downtown vintage community was already in the mix.

In the brief time Gabriela has been open for business, it’s established itself as a coveted weekend dance floor if you’re looking for good music and quality DJs (local party-starter Kim Anh recently graced the bill). But it’s on Thursdays when Escobar puts on Romance Thursdays, a no-cover and sometimes themed party focused around new wave and synths, his nod to the ‘80s New Romantic era. Tonight’s theme, however, was more contemporary: indie sleaze, which was already evident in the music that was blasting. Escobar was behind the booth with DJ Jubilee playing the Boys Noize remix of Feist’s “My Moon My Man.” It hit hard.

Kenny Rodriguez
I realized how much Romance Thursdays could live up to its name in a different way, as a curated destination for a hot second or third date.

My boyfriend and I grabbed tequila sodas in the booth-lined bar room, and made our way to the already-full dance floor that was dark, welcoming, and filled with girlies who came prepared in thick black eyeliner and classic American Apparel. A lot of these people were Romance Thursday regulars, Escobar told me, and some haven’t missed a party since they opened. Escobar is a legend in the scene so expectations are high when it comes to the crowd and soundsystem — which is next level. (“There’s a lot of depth and richness,” he said, adding that the system is vintage.) I spotted a group of other DJs — NIGELTHREETIMES, James Mulry, and Debbie D. from Avenue D — but otherwise, Jubilee said, the crowd here just wants to dance: “Nobody’s rude or makes requests.”

After a major dance moment, we headed up the spiral staircase to the balcony that ended up becoming my favorite part of the club. Overlooking the bar with the bass still pumping beneath the plush banquette seating, it highlighted one of the most important and underrated parts of clubbing: sitting down and chatting. The vibe was sexy, and I realized how much Romance Thursdays could live up to its name in a different way, as a curated destination for a hot second or third date. I finished my drink and got ready to head back to the dance floor — before making a mental note to return for a post-dance makeout.