New Jersey nightlife hotspot gets a facelift thanks to jack of all trades, EDDY G. [Interview]
EDDY G. is ushering in a new wave of nightlife entertainment in the tri-state area with a recently completed multi-million dollar renovation of his newly rebranded sports bar, restaurant, and nightclub, barCode 2.0.
EDDY G., real name Edwin Gomez, is an entrepreneur and real estate developer based in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Apart from being a successful business man, the jack-of-all-trades wears the hats of a DJ, producer, label owner, and venue owner all at once. The venue has a reputable track record too—barCode has hosted artists including 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Aventura, Bad Bunny, Ozuna, Green Velvet, The Martinez Brothers, J. Balvin, and the late Pop Smoke among many other venerated national and international talents. As vertically integrated as they come, EDDY G. is also his venue’s own landlord, and on the production side, Gomez’s upcoming single “Losing You” will be released in late 2021 via his own imprint, barCode Music.
Perhaps most excitingly, the venue is currently expanding to include a 110-room hotel with a three-level parking facility and 24-hour liquor license as well as another 21,000 square-foot venue behind barCode and a New Jersey Transit train stop adjacent to the multi-environment entertainment complex. Plans are also underway for additional barCode-branded entertainment establishments, including a sister site that sits just between Brooklyn and Queens that is expected to open its doors in 2022.
With a number of exciting updates on the docket, Dancing Astronaut sat down with EDDY G. to learn a little more about the barCode banner and the man behind the brand.
What differences can attendees expect between the newly expanded Jersey space and the debut of the Brooklyn venue?
EDDY G.: For one, they’re totally different capacities. barCode NJ holds 5,000 people indoors. barCode NJ gives me the greenlight to bring a Tiësto or a David Guetta on the electronic music side, while for the hip-hop market, I can bring in a Travis Scott. In the barCode NY venue, I believe [it] will be a 1,500-person capacity, so the talent I’ll bring in is more local, so I have to build more of an experience. As far as production and entertainment, it will be more driven for that. The barCode NY venue is to be pushed more to be a stronger sports bar concept, because I want to have the ultimate sports bar, with screens sized 35-feet wide by 25-feet high. There, watching a sporting event on a screen that [large] will be a whole different experience. The NY venue will focus a lot on our food offerings: wings, burgers, dishes like steaks, etc. In the barCode NJ space, food is something we have but it’s not our main focus.
The head chef is my son. I sent him to culinary school in New York at the Institute of Culinary Education, and now he’s working for me as the Director of Food & Beverage. My son’s thing is cooking—for me, it was music—so my son is going to be in charge of the food and beverage offerings.
Musically speaking, in the Brooklyn barCode location, I’ll be catering more to a dance market, for example on a Saturday night. In barCode NJ, we do our dance market in the daytime. We don’t do it at nighttime. In our NJ venue, the night is more for open-format.
COVID-19 notwithstanding, from a business/real estate perspective, what challenges are you faced with when it comes to piecing together a multi-complex experience?
EDDY G.: “Making sure everything is up to standard as required by the Health Department. That’s a challenge, because it can change at any minute. We have to be ready to adjust. Like we did in the past, with people only sitting down and not dancing. So, we build an experience so that only sitting down, they’re still enjoying a good show. We have tons of staff, too. This way, we try to minimize the amount of people going to the bar to get drinks.
In terms of audiovisuals, we spend a lot of money on production, as well as on entertainers. We have people on staff who go around in costumes as entertainers. The entertainers depend on the theme of that night. Now that we’re wide open, without capacity limits, no face masks required, no vaccination required [in NJ]….in our Brooklyn space, people are going to be more accustomed to the new COVID-19 rules by the time we open that venue.”
Was there one specific event or inspiration that motivated you to expand operations?
EDDY G.: “To me, I always look at concert venues. I’m a DJ, so I’m very passionate about that side. New York City, it had so many big venues. One of them I respected so much was Crobar. Crobar was such a beautiful experience. It was such an amazing venue. If I ever had the chance to do it, I told myself, ‘now, I’m taking the chance with expansion.’ Even if I have 2,000 people in the venue, I can size it so that it looks like I don’t have an empty building. I can still make the place feel incredible, even with only 1,000 people. We’ve had Bad Bunny and Ozuna for my birthday. We had both of them for my birthday. That was another amazing experience.”
What kind of standard would you like to set with these types of multi-complex experiences to fans, and how are you looking to make a unique impact on NYC/NJ club culture?
Eddy G.: I believe I already did it by building venues that have multiple uses. For example, back in the day, if there was a Sunday NFL football game on TV, you never went to Pacha to watch the NY Giants. Also, when you went to a sports bar, you never went there to hear Little Louie Vega DJ! I’m combining the best sports bar with major nightlife venues. Or on nights where it’s a major venue, I can turn my place into a sports bar during the day. The secret is being able to have multiple uses within the same space. When you come to barCode, you can sit down, eat, watch a sporting event, you can shoot pool. If it’s a Saturday night, we close the pool tables and now we have a space that’s utilized for nightlife, so tonight we might have Tiësto. This allows me to become a multi-use venue. We’re open seven days a week, which is very unusual for a nightclub. I can size it for [what] I need. I can open a section for 300 to 400 people, for example, and because we have retractable walls, I can pull those back for a bigger show and now you have a 5,000-capacity venue.
In terms of what makes barCode special, there’s nothing else like it. It’s a venue that’s not just one thing. Typically, a lot of venues stamp themselves to a specific genre. Back in the day, when you went to Pacha, you never thought you’d hear salsa or merengue music. I’m creating a small version of Madison Square Garden. I want to be able to work with all different types of markets, where I can bring in Travis Scott one night, the day after that, Tiësto, the day after that I can have a country artist, and after that, I can have a Mexican band. I haven’t had a country artist yet, but I would love to start.
Featured image: Alejandro Cruz