New Jersey’s nightlife hotspot gets a makeover with EDDY G jack of all trades [Interview] : Dancing astronaut
by: Austria Masim
October 7, 2021
EDDY G. is ushering in a new wave of nightlife entertainment in the tri-state area with a recently completed multi-million dollar renovation of its new sports bar, restaurant and nightclub, barCode 2.0.
EDDY G., real name Edwin Gomez, is an entrepreneur and real estate developer based in Elizabeth, New Jersey. In addition to being a successful businessman, the jack-of-all-trades wears the hats of DJ, producer, label owner and venue owner. The venue also has a renowned reputation – barCode has hosted artists including 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Aventura, Bad Bunny, Ozuna, Green Velvet, The Martinez Brothers, J. Balvin and the late Pop Smoke among many other revered national and international . talents. As vertically integrated as they come, EDDY G. is also the owner of his venue, and on the production side, Gomez’s next single “Losing You” will be released in late 2021 via his own imprint, barCode Music.
Perhaps most excitingly, the venue is currently expanding to include a 110-room hotel with three-level parking and a 24-hour liquor license as well as another 21,000 square foot venue behind the code- bars and a New Jersey Transit train stop adjacent to the multi-environment entertainment complex. Plans are also underway for other BarCode-branded entertainment establishments, including a partner site right between Brooklyn and Queens that is slated to open in 2022.
With a number of exciting updates on the record, Dancing astronaut sat down with EDDY G. to learn a little more about the BarCode banner and the man behind the brand.
What differences can attendees expect between the newly expanded Jersey space and the early Brooklyn site?
EDDY G .: On the one hand, these are totally different capacities. barCode NJ holds 5,000 people inside. barCode NJ gives me the green light to bring a Tiësto or a David Guetta to electronic music, while for the hip-hop market, I can bring a Travis Scott. In the NY barCode, I think [it] will have a capacity of 1,500 people, so the talent I will bring is more local, so I have to build more experience. When it comes to production and entertainment, he will be more motivated for it. The barCode NY venue needs to be pushed further to become a stronger sports bar concept, because I want to have the ultimate sports bar, with screens 35 feet wide by 25 feet high. There, watch a sporting event on a screen that [large] will be a whole different experience. The New York location will focus a lot on our food offerings: wings, burgers, dishes like steaks, etc. In the barCode NJ space, food is something we have but it’s not our primary focus.
The chef is my son. I sent him to the New York Culinary School at the Institute of Culinary Education, and now he’s working for me as the Director of Food and Beverage. My son’s thing is cooking – for me it was music – so my son is going to be in charge of the food and drink deals.
Musically speaking, in Brooklyn barCode, I’ll be dealing more with a dance market, say on a Saturday night. At barCode NJ we do our dance market during the day. We don’t do it at night. In our room at the NJ, the night is more open format.
Despite COVID-19, from a business / real estate perspective, what challenges do you face when it comes to re-enacting a multi-complex experience?
EDDY G .: “Make sure everything meets the standards required by the Ministry of Health. It’s a challenge, because it can change at any time. We have to be prepared to adapt. Like we did in the past, with people who just sat and didn’t dance. Thus, we build an experience so that, sitting only, they always enjoy a good show. We also have tons of staff. This way we try to minimize the number of people going to the bar for a drink.
In audiovisual terms, we spend a lot of money on production, as well as on artists. We have people on staff walking around in disguise as animators. The animators depend on the theme of this evening. Now that we’re wide open, no capacity limit, no face mask required, no vaccination required [in NJ]… .In our Brooklyn space, people will be more used to the new COVID-19 rules by the time we open this place. “
Was there a specific event or inspiration that motivated you to expand your operations?
EDDY G .: “For me, I always watch concert halls. I’m a DJ, so I’m very passionate about that side. New York City, there were so many great venues. One of them I respected so much was Crobar. Crobar was such a great experience. It was such an amazing place. If ever I had the chance to do it, I thought to myself, “now I’m trying my luck with the expansion”. Even though I have 2,000 people in the room, I can size it to look like I don’t have an empty building. I can still make the place amazing, even with only 1,000 people. We had Bad Bunny and Ozuna for my birthday. We got them both for my birthday. It was another amazing experience.
What kind of standard would you like to set with these types of multi-complex fan experiences, and how do you seek to make a unique impact on New York / NJ club culture?
Eddy G.: I believe I have already done this by building multipurpose places. For example, back then, if there was an NFL football game on Sunday on TV, you never go to Pacha to watch the NY Giants. Also, when you went to a sports bar, you never went there to listen to Little Louie Vega DJ! I combine the best sports bar with the main nightlife spots. Or on evenings when it’s an important place, I can turn my place into a sports bar during the day. The secret is to be able to have several uses in the same space. When you come to BarCode, you can sit, eat, watch a sporting event, you can shoot pool. If it’s a Saturday night we close the pool tables and now we have an area that is used for nightlife so tonight we could have Tiesto. It allows me to become a versatile place. We are open seven days a week which is very unusual for a nightclub. i can size it for [what] I need. I can open a section for 300 to 400 people, for example, and because we have retractable walls I can take them out for a bigger show and now you have a 5,000 seat venue.
In terms of what makes BarCode special, there is nothing else like it. It is a place that is not just one thing. Typically, many places have attached themselves to a specific genre. Back in the day, when you went to the Pasha, you never thought you would hear salsa or merengue music. I’m making a small version of Madison Square Garden. I want to be able to work with all types of markets, where I can bring Travis Scott one night, the next day, Tiësto, the next day I can have a country artist, and after that I can have a Mexican band. I haven’t had a country artist yet, but I would love to start.
Featured Image: Alejandro Cruz