Raving in NYC doesn’t have to be so, well... ravey anymore. Nowadays, the outdoor-indoor gathering place on the border of Bushwick and Ridgewood, is redefining the New York clubbing scene one Body Music Therapy session and one Saturday afternoon BBQ at a time. It’s a social club with a wellness bent, and its unassuming location makes it a hidden gem for wholesome hangouts.
When Nowadays opened in the summer of 2015, it started as a seasonal outdoor bar, restaurant, party haven, and hangout. In 2017, owners, founders, and resident DJs Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin (previously known for Mister Sunday and Mister Saturday Night parties) expanded the space indoors, making Nowadays a place to attend year-round.
Now, whether you’re inside or outside, being in Nowadays is an inclusive hangout that feels a lot like a friend’s house. You can still dance all night to the DJ spinnin’ on the weekends, but you can also recover the next day by attending a yoga class or chillaxing in one of their newly installed hammocks, play a game of ping pong, or walk your dog over and laze away the afternoon at a picnic table. These backyard vibes and balanced programming are all part of their progressive vision brightening up any day or night in Ridgewood.
Carter and Harkin’s goal is for people to enjoy themselves and be completely present in the moment — an idea that seems like a novelty in 2019. And the dance floor, to them, is like a sacred space: phones stay in pockets or purses allowing you to create real, meaningful connections as you throw down your best moves. It’s better that way.
Nowadays isn’t all about the booze. In 2017, Carter and Harkin joined forces with Henry Rich—owner of Metta, Rucola, and other popular NYC restaurants—and they began serving up some healthy and delicious food options. Their menu has a lot of plant-based food, like the Hummus Wrap with cucumbers, pickled veggies, and harissa on a sundried tomato tortilla or the Cabbage Slaw with purple and green cabbage and shredded carrot. Though, it’s hard to pass on the BBQ Chicken Banh Mi sandwich.
Recognizing the rise of sober partying, they feature a variety of non-alcoholic beverages, and they really try to keep their offerings local, like New York-made Rise nitro cold brew and White Label yerba mate soda. GT’s Kombucha is also a fixture for the fermented crowd.
Meanwhile, Vibamins, the most unique offering in terms of non-alcoholic options, are served from a fresh and healthy perspective to keep club-goers raving all night long — or to help them recover the next morning. These vitamin-enriched bevs include flavors like Pre-Rave for energy—made with cold brew, raw cacao, maca root, cinnamon hemp milk, banana, peanut butter, and dates—and Calm Baby Down (CBD) for some peace and contentment later on in the night. It’s made with CBD extract, passion flower, lemon balm, skullcap, lavender, catnip (yes, catnip), spearmint, and sustainably harvested palm sugar.
This chill space for dancing (sober or not) and healthy bites is actually pretty cultured, too. Their Body Music Therapy classes—which are known to incorporate yoga—combine breathing techniques and electronic music, comedy showcases bring down the house, a philosophy professor examines the nature of truth, and authors host readings for their material.
In their indoor space, recurring Classic Album Sundays tackle a past album masterpiece, such as Nas’ Illmatic or LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver, with a communal listening session. In their outdoor space, the Saturday afternoon BBQ includes bocce ball, ping pong, quality tunes, and is a chance to indulge on rotating barbecue fare, Italian hot dogs, and Republic of Booza ice cream. They also currently have an outdoor pop-up taproom that features local brewery Evil Twin Brewing.
Whether you’re there for the Saturday afternoon BBQs, the yoga on Monday nights, or the rave on Saturday nights, Nowadays should be on your list for your group of friends to visit this summer. It’s the only party where you’ll meet tons of new people and remember their names, too.