NeW yOrK CiTy! ? !
That’s right. Brooklyn to be exact, and the Williamsburg neighborhood to be specific. This is where the Skinny Dennis honky tonk has been located at 152 Metropolitan Ave. since 2013, giving country fans and country musicians both locally and passing through a place to feel at home far away from the Texas vibe that inspired the place.
Though it’s a local venue, the Skinny Dennis has become nationally and internationally known, especially by traditional country fans who’ve been following the career of country crooner Zephaniah Ohora who has worked as the booking agent and in other capacities for the venue over the years. But if you’re one of those who would never be caught dead in NYC or just don’t have the occasion to make it up there, you will soon have a new opportunity at the Skinny Dennis experience.
A second location of the iconic Brooklyn hot spot will be opening in East Nashville in the spring of 2024 or so. Zephaniah Ohora has made the migration South to Nashville where he officially moved to earlier this year, and is bringing the Skinny Dennis concept with him. Though specific details are still coming together, the plan is for the location to be full-service venue with a green room and the whole nine yards. The NYC Skinny Dennis is more of a bar with a stage as opposed to a proper music venue.
On Saturday, September 23rd as part of the week’s AmericanaFest in Nashville, an event was held at Star Rover Sound in Germantown to help promote the upcoming venue. Zephaniah OHora performed, as did Howlin’ Hurd, Luke Munday, Cristina Vane, Elijah Ocean, Kristina Murray, Brennen Leigh, and Joshua Hedly and the Headliners. Just like the Skinny Dennis in New York, they made sure they had Lone Star Beer on hand to serve.
The Skinny Dennis is named after bass player Skinny Dennis Sanchez who plays a big role in Outlaw country lore. Standing 6’11” and weighing only 137 pounds, he was the bass player for Guy Clark out in Los Angeles, and was also friends with Townes Van Zandt, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Richard Dobson, and others. He died on stage in 1975 at the age of 28 due to heart failure while playing with John Malcolm Penn.
Though the public didn’t know much about Skinny Dennis initially, he was memorialized in Guy Clark’s 1975 version of his song “L.A. Freeway” where Clark sang, “Here’s to you ol’ Skinny Dennis, the only one I think I will miss.” The iconic Outlaw country documentary Heartworn Highway was also dedicated to the bass player.
Though a new Skinny Dennis location may sound exciting, what some Zephania Ohora fans may want to know is when he might have new music on the way. He did feature some new songs during his set. Zeph will be part owner of the new venue, and also handle booking and other duties. OHora doesn’t tour very often, but there’s a good bet you will be able to see him at Nashville’s version of Skinny Dennis come 2024.