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R.E.M. Goes on Lower East Side Wine Crawl, Performs for Lucky Few

Sure, U2 rode through Manhattan on a flatbed, but we find it way cooler that R.E.M. stopped into September Wines and two Lower East Side restaurants this Monday while filming a music video for their upcoming album. ’inoteca partner Ethan Richardson, who says Michael Stipe comes in now and then, tells us he fielded a call from a band rep asking for permission to film there. They ended up performing acoustic for a little less than five minutes and then ate for fifteen or twenty minutes before moving a couple of doors down.

How to Score a Lower Eastpacking District Liquor License

Liquor licenses are at such a premium in the Lower Eastpacking District that one beer-bar owner told us that a batty community-board member vowed she wouldn't recommend him for one until the Iraq war came to an end. So when we heard that Darin (cousin of Steve) Rubell of Mercadito and Joshua Boyd of Plan B were opening GalleryBar with all the liquid fixings, we were a little doubtful. Rubell concedes that the upstairs art space, which opens December 15 featuring the work of painter Kevin Berlin, comes with a backstory that might spark envy among his embattled neighbors (the Orchard, say). To hear Rubell tell it, after evicting 13 Little Devils, their "very smart" landlord transferred the liquor license to a corporation and then sold it, license included, to Rubell and Boyd. Et voila: A rustic basement lounge where you'll be able to quaff booze and order paninis provided by Bruschetteria. — Daniel Maurer