The Brooklyn bar and performance space, which opened in the South Slope section of Brooklyn on May Day of 2002, has presented over 18,000 events since it opened.
Started by two French expats at a time when Brooklyn had not yet fully experienced the cultural explosion it is now known for, Barbès’ original goal was to provide a space and a community for artists and musicians – many of whom were based in Brooklyn and needed an alternative to Manhattan clubs which didn't always foster original or non-commercial projects.
Times have changed. The epicenter of New York’s creative energy has long since shifted to Brooklyn, and Barbès is proud to have been one of the participant in this transformation. A pride mitigated by the bit part it might have played in the over gentrification of the borough..
Barbès never focused on any particular type of music. As a result, it was named as one of the ten best jazz clubs in the country by Playboy magazine as well as the second best World Music venue nationwide by the readers of About.com. Barbès has also been an active presenter of Western classical music, improvised music, Americana, and just about any kind of quality music that will suit its small backroom.
The club has long favored residencies which have contributed to developing such talent as Slavic Soul Party, Stephane Wrembel, Jenny Scheinman, Combo Chimbita, Bulla en el Barrio or The Mandingo Ambassadors - all of which have established flourishing careers outside of the club.
Other notable achievements by musicians who have long been associated with Barbès would include many of the artists on our associated record label, Barbès Records, including Hazmat Modine, Chicha Libre, Banda de los Muertos, Pierre de Gaillande, Sanda Weigl, and Las Rubias del Norte.
Illustrious performers who have graced our stage include, in no particular order, Rachelle Garniez, Anthony Coleman, Andy Statman, Smokey Hormel, Chicha Libre, Matt Darriau, Erik Friedlander, Ethan Lipton, Madeleine Peyroux, Les Primitifs du Futur, Guy Klucevsek, Eszter Balint, Big lazy, Pedro Giraudo, MIchael Buscemi, Opera on Tap, Catherine Russell, Gyan Riley, Marta Topferova, The Microscopic Septet, Bill Frisell, Brooklyn Qawwali Party, Rick Moody, David Del Tredici, Robbie Fullks, Frank London, Marc Ribot, The Wiyos, Seb Martel, Norah Jones, Red Barraat, Son de Madera, Sonagi Project, Alash, Gina Leishman, Nation Beat, Roy Nathanson, Bruce Cockburn, Alex Meixner, Greta Gertler, Sanda Weigl, Polka Madre, Danny Kalb, Sxip Shirey, Doug Wamble, Beat Circus, Matt Munisteri, Michi Wiancko, Stephane Wrembel, The Parker String Quartet, Las Rubias del Norte, Banning Eyre, Chris Speed, Jim Black, Oscar Noriega, Banda de Los Muertos, Mavrothi Kontanis, The Roulette Sisters, Hazmat Modine, Slavic Soul Party, Lucia Pulido, Don Rauf, Scott Kettner, Rob Curto, One Ring Zero, Pierre de Gaillande, and many, many more.