Taking the G train usually signifies the start of a big adventure, so when we ended up in Greenpoint for Jack Daniel’s Motel No. 7 series on Wednesday night, we knew this night would end no differently. Peering down a dark alleyway, guests could only see a flash of red as a large, seemingly dormant warehouse loomed over the VIP line. As we began our descent down the barely-lit walkway, a jovial doorman cracked jokes and promised a night full of surprises as models in wigs handed us two sets of keys- one for a speakeasy, another for a private room; we had numbers 81 and 53.
Finally, we began to hear some noise cut through the tranquil night. As we approached the gates, the flash of red became clear: a giant, luminescent Motel No. 7 sign in all it’s seedy, motel-inspired glory. Walking inside proved to be similar to a time-travelling experience. Busy bellhops and hotel concierge bustled about in head-to-toe 70’s garb (yes, even with the hats) and the motel “lobby” was decked out complete with tacky shag carpeting. We loved it. We instantly took off in search of activity, especially since the invite had stated the dress code as “…bathing suits provided.” The first thing that caught our eye? The janitor’s closet. True to form, this room was covered in the manliest of male-related decor. Open playboys, beer cans and various rock band memorabilia lined the walls as a few ‘janitors’ leered at guests. One, rocking an impressive ‘stache and glasses that would make any dad jealous, sauntered over and propositioned a game. The game? Dueling air guitars, which resulted in us winning free t-shirts.
Riding on a winning high, we perused the rest of the venue, scoping out a swimming pool where guests could rent swimsuits (and definitely were participating!), a booth that demonstrated the craft of creating the Jack Daniel’s barrel, and a professional photo suite where patrons could get dressed up and have professional photographers create a photoshoot- offered by Jonsar Studios. Obviously, we beelined for this. As the night wore on, the demand for that was absurd and lines were long, but other photographers were milling about, snapping photos and then scanning keycards- allowing every shot to be sent directly to emails. It was so much better than attempting selfies in the dimly- lit space and everyone had at least one memento from the evening. Sipping Tennessee mules, we indulged in a few rounds of skeeball in the games area before heading upstairs to the private rooms, some of the evening’s best-kept secrets.
In about twenty rooms, there was something for everyone to enjoy. Wandering the hallways and peeking in gave off a sadistic, voyeuristic vibe that played perfectly into the motel theme. In that time, we witnessed a pillow fight, bachelorette karaoke, b-boy face-offs, jam sessions, a vampire boudoir photo session, and two couples being married by rocker Andrew W.K. Upstairs also featured a thrilling rave and a speakeasy, which unfortunately we were not privy to as the lines had become extensive. Drowning our sorrows in complimentary bourbon doughnuts, we headed back downstairs.
As the floor began to fill with happily-tipsy hipsters, we were more than happy to stand back and drink in the sights. We chatted with barbers who were hosting a haircutting station (yes, people were getting haircuts!), watched a few badass ladies from the Queens RollerDerby show off some skating tricks, and dipped our toes into the pool on the behest of the lifeguard. Then, as we began to hit sensory overload, whispers of a famous rapper making a surprise visit started to swirl around us. We chalked it up to idle gossip and opted for a round of pinball. Suddenly, the room went dark and the opening chords of “I’m Sprung” reverberated through the warehouse. Yup, T-Pain had actually showed up to Motel No. 7. The biggest twist of the night? Realizing that we knew a lot more of his songs than we thought. Understanding our night had hit its pinnacle, we dashed out of the warehouse and flagged a cab; happy to escape before the hoards of people tried to snatch up the few car services in the area. Goodness knows we weren’t waiting for the G train.