When you stroll up to Schimanski, it doesn't look much different from its defunct predecessor, Verboten, with its façade of classy rusted metal and sandblasted brickwork. Inside, the Williamsburg, Brooklyn nightclub looked pretty much identical too, aside from the addition of a high-end Alpha Dynacord sound system. In fact, when I arrived at the club's "pre-opening" Halloween party on Monday night (October 31)—a blow-out featuring a cast of American and European house and techno heavyweights like DeWalta, Konstantin, Boris Werner, Jesse Calosso, and Caleb Calloway playing till 4AM—I overheard one clubgoer say, "Everyone's just going to keep calling it Verboten."
Still, there were a few differences between the two clubs that stood out. For one thing, the Schimanski team named the place after a working class cop from an 80s German crime TV show called Tatort. Like the patron saint of clubland, Schimanski lorded magnanimously over the crowd, a photo of his rugged visage and extraordinary stache staring down at club-goers from various framed portraits and a projection on a wall across from the bar.
Once inside, the place will feel comfortingly familiar to Verboten initiates; the long bar is to your left, bathroom to the right (note: the window in the men's bathroom is still there, with its bizarre function of allowing you to you pee in a urinal while gazing out onto the dancefloor). And the reclaimed wood floor and exposed warehouse rafters remain—as does the venue's sizeable sideroom, which happened to be shuttered for the night. There was also a similar immersive video projection system that wraps around the club's walls, illuminating the space with trippy visuals.
There was one new piece of interior flare though: a fiberglass disco shark hanging over the bar, created by New York-based artist Kevin McHugh, who once managed the renowned New York DJ and producer Danny Tenaglia. McHugh makes models of the endangered Mako shark—and other aquatic creatures, like tiger sharks and sea turtles—to raise awareness for maritime conservation. If you've danced in Coachella's Yuma tent or at Sound in LA, you'll recognize his shimmering pieces keeping swimming over the dancefloor.
Onstage, the DJs shuffled through expected genre variants like tech-house, Latin house, and grimy techno, keeping heart rates somewhere around 128 BPM with a steady 4x4 kick drum. The giant speaker stacks hanging on either side of the DJ booth and lining the floor beneath it sent feels through every part of the body—and the additional speakers spread throughout the space, including over the bar, ensured that the sound carried pretty well throughout.