Rami Haykal-Manning's Guide To Opening Your Own Venue

For all community leaders daydreaming of opening a venue, here’s an intimate look into Rami Haykal-Manning’s journey in opening Elsewhere.
Avante Price
August 23, 2023

We've all been there - wandering the vibrant streets of Brooklyn, music notes lingering in the air, hopping from one event to the next. Many of us are even leaders of our own communities, popping up events at various venues all over the city on a weekly basis. But what if there was a way to anchor that floating energy into a permanent home? To open your own venue? It’s something we’ve all considered at one point or another.

For all community leaders daydreaming of laying down roots for their tribe, here’s an intimate look into Rami Haykal-Manning’s journey in opening Elsewhere (one of Brooklyn’s most vibrant venues) and vital lessons to turn your venue dreams into reality.

In case you missed last week’s full interview with Rami, catch it here:

Rami’s dream was not unlike most of ours: to translate the fleeting moments of musical connection into a continuous experience. The challenge of setting up a brick-and-mortar venue, however, was steep. A tangled web of city councils, health and safety protocols, police departments, and that’s just scratching the surface. It seemed the nightlife maze had few maps.

Imagine the warmth of a space where every night feels like a reunion. Where the community doesn't just spend time, but also crafts memories. That was Rami's aspiration for Elsewhere, and if it resonates with your dreams, the following strategies Rami embraced might just be your roadmap:

Deep Dive into Knowledge and Mentorship:

The foundation of every grand dream is knowledge. Rami didn’t just seek mentors; he immersed himself in the world of those who’d walked his path in Brooklyn’s nightlife. Here’s a tip: Set up monthly mentorship meetings with seasoned venue owners and diligently note down their wisdom.

Comprehend the Intricacies of City Dynamics:

Establishing a venue isn’t merely about the space; it's about embedding yourself within the city's fabric. Grasp building codes, and safety protocols. A great place to start is by organizing a dedicated team or committee within your community that liaises with city officials, ensuring you always stay in the loop.

Forge an Iron Spirit:

Challenges? Expect many. From administrative hurdles to logistical nightmares, this journey is not for the faint-hearted. Rami’s unwavering spirit was both his shield and sword. We recommend creating a vision board or a manifesto for your venue dream. Whenever doubts creep in, let this board remind you of your 'why'.

Make Community Your Core:

A venue without its community is just walls and floors. Engage your tribe. Run surveys, host brainstorming sessions, and let them partake in the evolution of the dream. Organize monthly community catch-ups to update, gather feedback, and co-create the vision.

Cherish the Journey:

Every license obtained, every brick laid, every sound test – they’re not just tasks. They’re milestones. Rami reveled in these, using them as fuel. Document your journey – be it through a vlog series, diary entries, or social media updates. Let your community celebrate these wins with you.

Brooklyn's nightlife is a tapestry of cultures, sounds, and stories. Elsewhere, under Rami's vision, didn't just become another thread but a prominent stitch holding parts of this tapestry together.

He recognized that every challenge, every ‘no’, was a hidden lesson, preparing him for the next step. By incorporating local artists, tapping into Brooklyn's diverse culture, and staying flexible to the ever-evolving music scene, Rami ensured Elsewhere wasn't just a venue – it became an experience.

Today, Elsewhere stands tall, echoing tales of passion, perseverance, and community spirit. Rami’s roving tribe has found its anchor in Brooklyn's heart. Now, it's your turn. Community leaders, event organizers, and dreamers – the path might be winding, but the destination is worth every twist and turn. Begin today, equipped with insights, strategies, and a burning passion, and watch as your wandering tribe finds its home. Your 'Elsewhere' is waiting; it's time to build it.

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