One week in this past August a club quietly opened in the Powerhouse Arts District of Downtown Jersey City. It’s called Transmission and its proprietor, Howard Brunner, wants to brings something new and unique to the area.
Originally planned for Manhattan, Brunner and his architect Chris Huffman, of Here on Out , worked through a few spaces there, but nothing felt right. The final straw was a location in the Flatiron that looked promising until further inspection revealed the building was sinking – a little too much.
When he began the process a few years ago, Brunner never considered Jersey City. The timing wasn’t right, “Jersey City wasn’t ready for a club back then” Brunner said. But between the rapid popularization of downtown and finding “the only space in JC where this could possibly work,” Transmission finally began to take shape.
Transmission is a complete labor of love. Every detail has a story – like the glass panes looking into the club room or the mirror shards on the claw foot tub behind the bar. Brunner is the type to wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, jot it down and email the architect immediately to see if it’s possible. He also doesn’t take no for an answer. He prefers to try. For example, taking a hammer to the columns throughout the space to achieve a cheetah like pattern. Some things just can’t be rendered on CAD.
“We’re in the business of escapism,” Brunner explained as he walked us through the space. He wanted to evoke a sense of abandonment and pair that with stark juxtapositions. These can be felt throughout the space. The table tops are English romanticism paintings. The idea of setting your drink on such hallowed work certainly makes you think twice. Or the American Empire sofas – whose ornateness seems out-of-place in Transmission’s cold industrial shell.
But these juxtapositions are simply an extension of Transmission’s raison d-etre – music. And not some genre specific type of music, but music as an art. The DJ booth is kept in balance with a grand piano. The entrance to the club room is flanked by images of Bach, the father of western music and Richard Wagner, the father of modern music.
Brunner wants to keep the lineup just as diverse. Ideally pairing rock and roll acts alongside electronic DJ’s or Burlesque performances. Which is another reason the space is so perfect. It’s separated into two distinct spaces, the lounge in the front and the club room in the back. The club room even has a separate entrance to allow completely independent events. But they’re also connected, ideally allowing patrons to flow between the two and experience all the contrasts the space has to offer.
More info on the events can be found on Transmission’s website.
Transmission is located at 150 Bay St, Jersey City