Bossa Nova Civic Club was infamous; a small, low-lit club with a checkered floor and daily DJ sets, it had been a cultural hotspot in Bushwick for the past nine years. From the club’s small and cozy feel, to the words on its wall that literally read: “If You Touch A Woman Against Her Will In This Establishment, We Will Literally Ruin Your Life,” few venues in the city captured the ambiance of the neighborhood like Bossa Nova did. 

After a fire last month, the club told its roughly 33,000 followers on Instagram that the club would be closed for “a notable amount of time.” 

In the aftermath, some of Bossa Nova’s more loyal clubbers had set up a GoFundMe. Since the page was set up on January 13, the fundraiser has pulled over $100,000 for a space they say is “a second home to a lot of us and has cultivated many careers, friendships, and chosen families.” 

But the club says they need even more. Donations received by the GoFundMe page will go towards the club’s restoration and funding for both staff and the tenants that also suffered because of the fire. The GoFundMe page has set a goal of $300,000. 

During a fire last month, one person ended up in serious, but stable condition, a dog did not survive, and the building sustained significant damage. (Sam Rappaport)

“Bossa has been a pillar of the dance music scene in Brooklyn for almost ten years,” Alison Kozol told me. 

In addition to its long-standing reign over Bushwick’s night scene, Kozol says that Bossa Nova also provides “opportunity to upcoming artists as well as a constant safer space for queers to gather.” Kozol adds: “Bossa has given so much to the community, and it’s time to give back,” 

Among the Brooklyn locals who know it, Bossa Nova appears widely loved. Some, like Nicole Absher, say that Bossa Nova is “the heartbeat of the Bushwick and Brooklyn music scene.” It’s a place that many refer to as home. 

“You go there to dance. It’s pure love for music and nothing pretentious,” said Absher.  

Absher reflected on one of their “best nights” spent at Bossa Nova: while one side of the club’s speakers kept blowing out, no one had left the dance floor. 

“It took maybe an hour to get it fixed again and people stayed dancing all the way up until they got kicked out in the morning,” Absher added.

In addition to its local fanbase, Bossa Nova has also been a staple in the lives of DJs and artists. In the past few years, the club has played host to everything from biweekly happy hours centering on women, non-binary and trans artists to nights dedicated strictly to Irish DJs. 

“My rise as a DJ closely mirrored [its] growing popularity,” local DJ Ariana Paoletti told me.  

Paloetti says that Bossa Nova became an internationally recognized hub for the new techno scene that has evolved in Brooklyn over the years. 

“Small clubs like Bossa provide a fertile ground for young DJs to develop their unique sound and to make their mark,” she added.

Featured image taken by Kyle Andrew Smith.

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