Lonely Planet Writer

Alan Cumming’s new venue combines debauchery and knitting in NYC

You’ve heard of B-Y-O-B (Bring Your Own Booze) but this is more B-Y-O-Yarn. Knitting novices and crochet aficionados will be pleased to hear that a niche club night is catering for them.  ‘Stitch and Bitch’ evenings will be held at the newly opened Club Cumming on Manhattan’s East Village. The venue is the brainchild of actor Alan Cumming, and the roster of events on his agenda is as wacky and wild as you would expect from the eccentric thespian.

'Stich and Bitch' knitting classes are on offer at NYC's Club Cumming
Actor Alan Cumming at his East Village venue in 2016. Photo © Sean Zanni

In its earliest form, Club Cumming started out as a series of impromptu after-parties in the actor’s Cabaret dressing room at Studio 54. As he started touring the world performing, his producer Daniel Nardicio imagined the legendary pop-up parties taking on a life of their own. “I asked him if he would want to open a brick and mortar venue, and lo and behold he did,” Nardicio told Lonely Planet. “Then we shopped around looking at places until we found our current spot, and it’s been a blast.”

For its inaugural month in action, the quirky performance saloon boasts a promiscuous lineup, promising “downtown debauchery” at its finest. Case in point: Crisco Disco, an homage to NYC’s infamous LGBT discotheque, Reading for Filth, tantric workshops and the aforementioned “stitch and bitch” gatherings.

'Alan Cummings' East Village venue offers 'Stitch and Bitch' knitting classes
‘Stitch and Bitch’ knitting classes planned for Club Cumming in New York’s East Village. Image courtesy of Club Cumming

“It’s like a jamboree, with our ‘Knitmaster’ Tom teaching people different types of stitches, and having a weekly challenge, such as hat, scarf, shawl, and then working to have a few gifts for the holiday season,” Nardicio revealed. “The idea came around because a friend used to knit and complain to a friend of his, we called it stitching and bitching and then it became a thing.”

Located on East 6th Street, Club Cumming aspires to inject some mischief and creativity back into the vibrant neighborhood. The venue extends its welcome to people of all ages, genders and sexualities. While mischief is encouraged, there is one thing that won’t fly with the actor and his staff.

A post shared by Alan Cumming (@alancummingsnaps) on

In a statement, Cumming discouraged use of cellphones in his new lounge. “I’ve always wanted to make people talk to each other instead of looking at their phones,” the British star said. “To have a local bar that is home for artists and those who love them, that’s important to me.”

So there you have it: pack your knitting needles and an open mind, but leave the iPhone at home.