Plush, a popular Red River dance club and turntablist haven, where many of Austin’s top DJs put in hours on the decks, is closing for good.
"It's with a very heavy heart that I say this, but I have decided to close the doors of Plush. I don't need to go into details, but the combination of ever raising prices and new regulations has just been too much," the club’s general manager, Ryan Cunningham, said in a public Facebook post May 23.
The club, a tiny lounge in the space that once was home to the storied cross-dressing punk bar Blue Flamingo, opened its doors in 2000 when outlets for hip-hop in downtown Austin were scarce. It became a hot spot for hip-hop heads and dance music fanatics.
"I’m very grateful to have been part of the first crew of DJs to play there weekly," top Austin party rocker DJ Mel wrote on Facebook. "Friday was my night. The DJ booth was located by the door. ... I remember the one time we closed the bar for Dave Chappelle and he tipped me $100 to play Diamond D."
As hip-hop transitioned into mainstream pop music that laptop DJs blared on Dirty Sixth, Plush remained staunchly underground.
"One of the few spots downtown that stayed (grimy) and let DJs be creative," Andrew Brown, who runs the electronic music party series Exploded Drawing and hosts a late-night show on public radio station KUTX 98.9 FM as Soundfounder, wrote on Facebook. "It was a hub for a lot of electronic music for sure. Hard to imagine that corner of Red River and Seventh without it."
"Over the next few months we will be keeping our eyes open for a new location away from downtown Austin, with hopes of reopening at some point," Cunningham wrote on Facebook.
He went on to thank the bar’s patrons and sent a special thanks to the many DJs who spun at the club over the years.
"Plush would have never been Plush without you," he wrote. "With that being said, we finish the long chapter of our lives that was Plush with a smile and happy thoughts of all the special moments."