Pete’s Candy Store
Opened in 1999, Pete’s Candy Store continues as Williamsburg’s original live music venue. Featuring acts such as Will Oldham, Beth Orton, Devendra Barnhart and Norah Jones, this small venue and neighborhood tavern developed an early reputation for special shows and rare treats.
The storefront at 709 Lorimer Street in Brooklyn has been in operation since the 1920’s, when the grandfather of the current building owners ran a local general store, known affectionately by the nickname Funzi’s. By the 1970’s, Funzi handed over the reins to others, one of whom, Pete Caruso, named the spot Pete’s Candy Store. By that time, the store had evolved into a sort of greasy spoon diner and neighborhood numbers joint. This same arrangement, later including some poker tables in the rear where the live music room now exists, continued well into the 1990’s.
After the transition to bar and music venue, Pete’s became a wider known neighborhood institution and an early “hipster hot spot”. Beth Orton played the very first show at Pete’s Candy Store. Some of the earliest musical residencies featured The Howard Fishman Quartet, Greg Garing and Matty Charles and the Valentines. Reverend Vince Anderson and his Love Choir were a Sunday fixture for several years. Norah Jones played frequent shows and continues to return for unannounced gigs.
While the list of noteworthy performers is quite lengthy, Pete’s Candy Store has always been a free venue and has booked mostly unknown and unsigned bands, many of which have gone on to greater recognition.
Pete’s continues as a local tavern and music venue with a far reaching reputation.