B.B. King Blues Club in NYC Is Closing After 18 Years, Citing High Rent

AP Photo/Richard Drew
People pause under the marquee of B.B. King's Blues Club & Grill, in New York's Times Square on May 15, 2015. 

B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in the heart of New York City's Times Square will shut its doors this month after 18 years in business, citing rising rents in the neighborhood it says it helped revive. Since opening in 2000 on West 42nd Street, the club named for the late blues icon has played host to Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Jay-Z and other influential acts.

The club said on Tuesday that its final show will take place on April 29 with blues  legend Buddy Guy. Rick Ross, Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh  and George Clinton are also slated to perform in the venue's final weeks. A new location in Manhattan is being sought, but no other details were given.

"Despite many sold out shows, the [Times Square] location's rent escalated to an unsustainable level, leaving us no choice but to close our doors," said Tsion Bensusan of venue operator TSE Group. "Unfortunately this has become a growing trend in New York City, with other iconic music venues and businesses falling victim to opportunistic property owners. This venue’s legacy extends much further than the stage, playing a role in Times Square’s revitalization two decades ago. It is a shame that wasn’t taken into consideration regarding its future in the area."

The B.B. King Blues Club & Grill is now independent from the B.B. King's Blues Club chain, which launched in 1991 on Beale Street in Memphis and currently has locations in Nashville, Orlando, New Orleans and Montgomery, Ala.

King died in May of 2015.

B.B. King Blues Club & Grill Closing Week Celebration Show Schedule:

April 17 & 18: Buddy Guy
April 22: William Bell's Memphis Soul Revue 
April 23: Rick Ross 
April 25: Slick Rick & Doug E. Fresh + Special Guests 
April 26: El Gran Combo
April 28: George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic + Special Guests 
April 29: Buddy Guy


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