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Heavy metal text that says "RSS"
More photos of the tables in the Remote Lounge. The are retro-futuristic, like a scene from the Jetsons. On each table is a small CRT screen, many light up buttons, a joystick, and a telephone. On the top of the monitor is a small camera that is controlled by servos. The walls are padded and the bar stool cushions are hexagon shaped.

Way ahead of it’s time: The Remote Lounge NYC

The Remote Lounge was a high tech bar in NYC’s Bowery District from 10/2001 to 11/2007. The bar’s gimmick was that it was packed full of monitors and closed circuit television cameras. Each CCTV camera was mounted on a servo and could be controlled by anyone in the bar via any of the terminals throughout the bar. Each terminal had a joystick (for controlling a camera), a camera button (which would capture an image and upload it to the RemoteLounge.com), a next button (for switching to another camera), a chat button, and a land line phone. So you could cycle through the bar until you found someone sitting near a camera, then you could request to chat with them via the phone. Sometimes as you were watching a scene your camera would start to move and you’d realize someone else was watching and controlling the same camera that you were.



For me, the 7 stages of the Remote Lounge went something like this:
1. Awe.
2. Self conscious.
3. Exhibitionism.
4. Fumbling around with the tech.
5. Voyeurism.
6. Self conscious again as you realize people can watch you being voyeuristic.
7. And finally, exibitionally voyeuristic. “Hey look, I’m looking at people too.”

The Remote Lounge photos via http://jpda.net/projects/remote-lounge
photos via http://jpda.net/projects/remote-lounge

12 years later, it’s funny to think how this novelty bar in NYC would so closely mirror our modern experience. Just replace the always connected security cameras with smart phones and opt-in social media. Sometimes I’m shocked at how my experiences at the Remote Lounge would be recreated time and time again by following a hashtag on twitter, to a photo on instagram, to a small conversation online, and finally with meeting someone face to face… all over the course of ten or twenty minutes on my iPhone at a local bar.

The cameras at the bar could be used to capture photos and upload them to a special section on RemoteLounge.com, like these photos I found from an old chiptune night that was hosted there.


Here is a Wayback Machine link to RemoteLounge.com
You can also find a list of press that covered this bar here
And more information about the designers here


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5 responses to “Way ahead of it’s time: The Remote Lounge NYC

  1. […] Way ahead of it’s time: The Remote Lounge NYC […]

  2. Scott E. Greenwald Avatar
    Scott E. Greenwald

    I remember that place. Ohhhh… I was so disappointed when it closed. Too much fun. My friends and I did some ridiculous things in front of those cameras. We saw quite a few impressive things, too.

  3. […] Manhattan Bridge, Fun, where cameras let you watch the women’s room from the men’s room? Or Remote Lounge, where you could chat with fellow bar-goers via surveillance cams? Void? Baktun? All of the names […]

  4. […] surveillance stations at every table to indulge your inner voyeur or exhibitionist (find out more here), The Bowery Electric moved in and opened its doors in late March of 2008 before construction of […]

  5. […] Manhattan Bridge, Fun, where cameras let you watch the women’s room from the men’s room? Or Remote Lounge, where you could chat with fellow bar-goers via surveillance cams? Void? Baktun? All of those […]

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