Crybaby, a New Nightclub in Oakland, Opens With Promising Lineup of Shows

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Four young men pose for the camera
Trash Talk plays during Crybaby's opening weekend on Sunday, March 6, part of an eclectic, inclusive calendar of shows at the former Uptown Nightclub site in Oakland.  (Ari Marcopoulos)

This weekend marks the grand opening of Crybaby, a new 400-capacity nightclub located in the former Uptown Nightclub building in Oakland—and from its initial schedule of shows, the 21-and-up venue appears ready to make its mark as a promising new independent venue in the Bay Area.

Crybaby's official opening arrives March 4, coinciding with the area's popular First Fridays, with DJs Shortkut, D-Sharp and Lady Ryan. Saturday, March 5 brings electro-funk revivalist Dam-Funk, and on Sunday, March 6, it's a hardcore bill topped by Trash Talk.

A similar diversity and genre-agnosticism runs through the club's calendar through April. Upcoming shows include touring hip-hop acts like Armand Hammer and Bbymutha, UK footwork/jungle DJ Sherelle, Chilean reggaetón artist Tomasa Del Real, SoCal hardcore band Xibalba, and the return of local lowrider-soul DJ party Suavecito Souldies.

A man in a red fedora, against a red background, wearing a red jacket
Dam-Funk plays Crybaby's opening weekend on Saturday, March 5. (J3)

It's a welcome revival not only for the site of the Uptown, which closed citing pandemic losses in 2020, but for the landscape of independently run venues in the Bay Area. In the past five years, large live-music entities like Live Nation and Goldenvoice have taken over smaller and smaller concert spaces in the Bay Area, and independent venues like Slim's have closed.

Crybaby's founders—Dominic Green, Jesse Tittsworth, Miles Palliser and Conrad Loebl—aren't going for an "ultralounge" format like the one that replaced Slim's. Rather, they want "a nightclub without social barriers," as Billboard reported in January. "I felt like a lot of that was being lost, particularly in some places here in Oakland," Green told the magazine.

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Green has deep local roots—his grandfather was a mayor of Berkeley, and his father was a jazz promoter, Billboard reports—and Palliser is a partner in The Athletic Club, a sports bar in Oakland and San Francisco.

A large empty venue with a mahogany bar to the left and small stage to the right
Crybaby's 400-capacity room includes the original mahogany bar from the former Uptown Nightclub site in Oakland. (Crybaby Nightclub)

Tittsworth was a cofounder of Washington D.C.'s modest, inviting 500-capacity U Street Music Hall. That venue closed in 2020, but its ethos ("No dress code. No bottle service. No party photographers. No VIP areas," wrote the Washington Post upon its opening in 2010) seems to be a guiding star for Crybaby's policies. Loebl, with years of booking experience at clubs in cities like Los Angeles and Portland, will handle the in-house talent buying and calendar, as well as work with other promoters.

As for the venue's historic mahogany bar? As Azucena Rasilla of Oaklandside reports, it's staying, and original murals by local artists Xavier Schipani and Berk now adorn the entrance and patio.

Crybaby opens Friday, March 4. Details and list of upcoming shows here.