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."