HQ has been slowly coming to life. Last summer, Scott Happel and Peter Ore, two of the owners of the Oriental Theater, launched the music venue in the former 3 Kings Tavern space at 60 South Broadway, hosting burlesque on Saturday nights, COVID-19-safe karaoke on Wednesday nights, and goth DJ nights on Sundays. Now they're cooking up a weekend ’80s-themed brunch that debuts on Saturday, March 27.
The name of the weekly event, Don't You Forget About Brunch, is a nod to "Don't You (Forget About Me)" from the Breakfast Club soundtrack.
Brunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and the Sunday edition has an added feature: It will be deejayed by the Mystery Sisters spinning ’80s favorites. Both days, HQ will dish up breakfast tacos and burritos, French toast sticks, avocado toast and "ultimate hashbrowns," all cooked up in a food truck behind the building. There will be vegan, gluten-free and meat options. No dish will cost more than $10; bottomless mimosas will run $15.
"It’s a little on the casual side," Happel says. "The food comes out on paper plates. It’s cheap. It’s fun."
In addition to brunch, the venue just booked its first band, the legendary punk act Agent Orange, for Friday, September 24. According to Happel, HQ will fill the last quarter of the year with a complete calendar of shows.
Assuming people keep getting vaccinated and the vaccine is effective, he says, "we're planning to be a fairly functional live music venue by September. Everything seems to be going in that direction."
During the pandemic, the Oriental Theater has continued putting on shows when possible through its Safe Sound Series; under new city COVID regulations, the club has raised its capacity from 75 to 150.
But while things are looking more hopeful than they have in months, Happel doesn't want people to forgo basic COVID-19 precautions when they go out and party.
"The light at the end of the tunnel is visible," he says. "I’m still reasonably cautious. I don’t think everyone should run out and start making out with their friends on the street. We still need to be careful for the next three months. If we can get to July with an extremely high percentage vaccinated, it will really be close to normal life."