When actor Chris Noth learned that live music venues were allowed to re-open in New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said it was “a big relief.”
A relief, not just because Noth is a huge music fan, but because he co-owns The Cutting Room, a live music venue and lounge in the city.
Best known for his lead roles in TV hits like “Sex and the City,” “Law and Order,” and “The Good Wife,” Noth opened The Cutting Room in 1999 with partner and Berklee College of Music alum, Steve Walter.
Noth told Yahoo Finance Live that live music venues in the city were hurting well before the pandemic “due to financials and the price of running a venue in Manhattan."
"We are blessed to have the person who owns the building have patience, and he happens to be a music fan, so we were lucky,” he said, referring to The Cutting Room's landlord. "A lot of places weren't so lucky."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted nearly all COVID-19 restrictions on June 15, after 70% of adults in New York state had received at least one vaccine dose. State officials have largely left individual establishments to decide for themselves if they will require and enforce COVID protocols.
Many, like The Cutting Room, are working on the “honor system” and asking that non-vaccinated customers wear masks indoors.
“We go with what the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) says,” Noth said. “We're going to trust that if someone knows they're infected, they're not going to be out in the public, but right now, with the vaccinations the way they are, we are sort of trusting that the CDC is reliable.”
Noth’s business partner, Walter, said the club is constantly getting calls from bands anxious to get back to live performances after more than a year of being off the stage. “Musicians are dying to play. They're all calling. It's incredible how quickly the calendar is filling up,” he told Yahoo Finance Live.
And that includes larger musical acts, that wouldn’t normally play more intimate venues. “It gives us little guys a chance because they can't play the Garden [Madison Square Garden] and all that— the big audiences— because the tours weren't set. So we can get some large acts that wouldn't play a room this small,” Walter said.
In addition to live music, The Cutting Room also serves food in a supper-club atmosphere. With the exception of some of its kitchen staff, Walter said nearly all of the club’s employees are returning.
In the true spirit of entrepreneurship, Noth found synergy at the club for another one of his business ventures. In 2018, the actor bought a majority stake in the ultra-premium tequila brand Ambhar Tequila, which is now the official tequila at The Cutting Room.
The actor, who is reprising his role as the notorious Mr. Big in the “Sex and the City” sequel series, “And Just Like That,” said he’s glad his club can be a showcase for all the “great music out there.”
“They just need a place to come to be able to play their music. That was our original philosophy because we love music. We grew up in the '70s and '80s and late '60s and that's how our love for music was formed,” Noth said.
“When you think of all the venues that have disappeared, The Bottom Line, CBGB's, to name just two of the most famous,” he said. “I've always hoped that, when there's an empty space, that the city wouldn't give the tax breaks, so that when a small business comes in and they are willing to rent at a reasonable price, they give it to them, instead of waiting for a bank or a drugstore to take it, who have all the money in the world.”
Alexis Christoforous is an anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @AlexisTVNews.