New York is full of surprises, and with Death By Audio, Glasslands and 285 Kent all within spitting distance of each other you’d be forgiven for not thinking that there would be another venue on the same block. Lo and behold, Ran Tea House is a hidden gem in Williamsburg, right nearby.
Located at 269 Kent Avenue, Ran Tea House is next door to 285 Kent so you guessed it, your nearest subways are the L at Bedford, the J at Marcy or the G at Metropolitan.
Ran Tea House usually host one or two shows a month. I went there during CMJ to see Joanna Gruesome. They have also hosted other MSL favourites like Journalism and Ava Luna. Cassie Ramone has also played a DJ set there.
First of all; yes, it is actually a tea room (see the rather extensive menu)! I’d be interested in coming here on a non-gig night to have a cup. I’m a lapsed tea drinker, having pretty much switched exclusively to coffee after moving here. Tea sucks in the US, coffee sucks in England. I’m generalizing a little bit, but maybe all that limescale back home adds to the taste? Plus, I don’t have time for your puny 120v electricity to boil the damn kettle (the UK runs at 230v, kettles back home boiled by the time you finished this paragraph.) Get with it, America, you’re supposed to be number 1!
I like the vibe inside the venue, it’s a 3,000 square-foot warehouse space with a wooden deck area at the front that has some tables and low-riding chairs. Down the steps is a brick bar to order drinks and then at the back of the room is are two steps and small area which acts as the stage for bands. Capacity is, at a guess 250, give or take.
All that tea is going to make you need to use the facilities, which are found towards the front of the venue in the corner. There’s only one bathroom, so patience is required at a packed show!
The sound system is… I’ll be polite and say modest. Fuses blew a couple of times while I was there, and things had to be fixed which caused delays. The CMJ show was pretty packed at times, and I suspect more demanding than a typical show they put on. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.
While the sound system could be improved, the venue itself is welcoming and should be on your radar. Get your zen on with a brew at some point.