We’re headed back to New York City in our latest venue review. Today we’re looking at the Atrium Dumbo, a restaurant/event venue in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn where we just recently DJ’d a wedding.
One of the hallmarks of a great DJ is not only have great skills (that should be a given) but also doing your homework on the event and being well prepared with plenty of back-up options in case of an emergency. Part of our internal procedures is doing a site inspection of any new venue we haven’t worked at prior to the event (when possible). Some of our DJs get booked to play all over the country and seeing a venue beforehand isn’t always an option.
Because this was in our backyard so to speak, I went and did a site inspection a few weeks before the wedding day. Right off the bat, I loved the layout! It is a multi-level space with 3 floors.
This venue works best for guest counts between 80-120 people. The bride mentioned they had a sound system in-house which they (both the client and the venue) preferred we use. I’m usually opposed to this because it has been my experience that most in-house systems aren’t “DJ Friendly”. Especially for restaurants, in-house sound systems are usually installed for low-level background music and not intended for dance parties. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test the system due to customers being in the space at the time I visited but the manager assured me all the DJs who’ve worked there have used the system and actually prefer it because they have multiple speakers throughout the space so everyone can hear clearly. It was only at the event that I realized I should have pushed harder to test the system (more on that later).
Another perk of this venue is that it is close to the East River so a lot of couples who have their reception at the Atrium Dumbo, will have their ceremony at the Brooklyn Bridge Park (a 2-3 minute walk) which makes for some amazing shots with the Manhattan Bridge as your backdrop. One thing to note about the park is that there is NO power so all speakers and PA must be battery-powered. Luckily, we have battery-powered systems. It is also a bit windy being so close to the water, so it’s important to have windscreens for mics.
When I arrived the day of to plug into the venue system, there was no sound. Of course, this was a little disheartening and I panicked for a moment as this was a little out of my control. The manager called someone who was able to walk us through getting the system on. The only issue once we got the sound working was that it was super quiet. I couldn’t push too hard or the speakers in the space would distort. I tested opening announcements and no one could hear me.
And this is where the back-up comes in. I ended up plugging in my ceremony sound system as well so I could double up the sound. Thank God I had it. Without it, the event would’ve been extremely tough to not only create a dancing environment but to make any announcements for people to hear unless everyone was completely silent. So until they update their sound system, bring your own! You’ll thank me later.
Where this restaurant really shines, however, is with the food…both in quality and presentation. They kitchen is very visible and clean so it’s actually kind of neat to watch it all unfold from the third level. The staff was extremely nice to everyone and seemed to really enjoy working as a team. The only thing that seemed off was that the staff wore their plaid shirt uniforms. Not sure if that fits with a formal wedding reception event but it could be that the bride wanted it at this wedding.
With transportation, train stations are close by for locals who are coming from Manhattan and cabs frequent this area so you can get one pretty quickly. If you drive in, there is an all-day parking garage close by. With construction happening nearby, street parking is tough to come by.
If you’re looking to break away from the traditional “wedding venue” and have a trendier feel, I’d recommend this venue. Just make sure the DJ brings his own sound gear.