Legendary Punk Rock Club Finds Afterlife as Mediocre Newark Airport Restaurant

CBGB’s was a legendary punk rock music club in New York’s East Village that opened in the 1970s. It ultimately shut down after a rent dispute and lease non-renewal in 2005.

It was an important stop for the B-52’s, Blondie, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, and the Talking Heads.

One of the most important music venues in Manhattan, it’s been recognized by musical pioneers in their best known works. The bassist for Guns ‘n Roses wears a CBGB t-shirt in the Sweet Child o’ Mine video and Green Day’s drummer wears one in the video for Welcome to Paradise.

Perhaps a bit less authentic (cough), we learn in Sex and the City 2 that Samantha was working as a bartender at CBGB when she first met Carrie Bradshaw.

Here are the Ramones, live at CBGB’s, in 1977.

Now CB’s is a restaurant in Newark airport’s terminal C.

Just like the original CBGB, there are iPads for ordering, a flatscreen TV showing a sports match, stained glass, your Aunt Cindy from Flensburg, MN, a dark faux-brick facade, Togarashi-Seared Tuna served with a seaweed salad ($16), and a pillar with wallpaper depicting graffiti tags on it.

It’s just opened, and I haven’t eaten there yet. But you can have a bacon cheeseburger or turkey club while waiting for your United flight as you reminisce on the rebellious musical days you may never have been a part of.

Some would call this taking “our memories [and] merchandizing them back to us at a significant mark-up” while I just figure it’s anything anyone can do to make us forget that airport restaurants are almost invariably and necessarily awful.

As the exclusive airline tenant in terminal C, United Airlines almost certainly gets a cut of all concessions revenue. So far from Gershwin, United too now has a stake in a piece of punk rock’s past.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. OTG has ruined EWR (though it was no jewel to begin with). iPads everywhere were bad enough, now there is no room to walk thru C. Vino Volo was a nice option esp given the decrepit state of the UCs there. Oh well.

  2. Gary — How can you honestly call the restaurant mediocre when you have not even eaten there?

  3. The menu gives me douche-pimples:
    All Ages Brunch ($18) – Mousse up that mohawk and join us for a family friendly meal. All entrees come with an endless cup of Joe Strummer.
    Raw Power Lunch ($27) – Want to keep your abs looking like Iggy’s? This juice-and-raw salad combination will keep you lean and mean on your flight.
    Sloppy Joey Ramone ($12) – A vegetarian blitzkreig for your tastebuds. Comes with a suicide salad.

    I, for one, have no interest in partaking in endless cups of Joe Strummer nor a suicide salad.

  4. Not all airport restaurants are awful. We just ate at Phillips Seafood in ATL. The food and service were very good. One just needs to know which restaurants to avoid!

  5. Since the new concession company took over terminal C, NOTHING is good as far as food goes. So I’d venture that this one isn’t good either :).

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