No Fun & Pint Sized is the sort of place one hopes to stumble upon.
Situated on River Street in Troy, the beer bar is well stocked with the usual selection customers have come to expect from Pint Sized and on most nights there’s live music from up-and-coming bands, with little to no cover charge.
“We’re trying to keep the cost as low as possible because we don’t want money to be a barrier to culture and we want people to freely be able to come in and express themselves through the music . . . and experience new things,” said August Rosa, the owner of No Fun, along with Pint Sized in Albany and Saratoga Springs.
He’d been looking to open a location in Troy for a few years, specifically one that wasn’t only a bar but also a sizable event space and found it in September of 2021. Located at 275-277 River St., it has two sets of doors, one for each space. The doors at 275 lead to No Fun and 277 lead to Pint Sized.
After finding the location, it took a few months of renovations before they could open and start hosting shows in December.
“We opened up a venue in a weird time with [the] winter COVID surge, but we powered through it,” Rosa said. “We’ve done over 50 events at this point in time. Some have been successful, some have been duds. We’re just trying to figure . . . what’s working, what’s not.”
So far No Fun has hosted bands like Pinegrove, an alt-rock group with a zealous following, as well as Yoo Doo Right and local acts like Sime Gezus of Albany. With a capacity hovering around 210, the venue is an ideal size for bringing in a blend of newer and established acts.
“It allows us to bring in some bigger touring acts that draw a sizable amount of people, but also . . . if you have a smaller show, it still feels intimate,” Rosa said.
Rosa books some of the shows, along with a few other team members, including Shane Sanchez of Super Dark Collective and Sean Secor of Hey, Greasy Presents. Each promoter has a different focus, whether it’s pairing local bands with touring groups or presenting touring rock and country groups.
“We’re going to be involving more promoters too as time goes on. We want people to present ideas to us and if something makes sense, we’ll take it on,” Rosa said.
No Fun hosts between three to six shows per week, typically with a free gig on Thursdays and ticketed events on Fridays and Saturdays.
“A lot of the stuff that we’re bringing in I typically would have to drive down to New York [City] to see. I’m trying to limit the amount of travel that I personally have to [do] to go to the kind of shows that I want to go to like this,” Rosa said.
One of the more popular shows slated to come to the venue is Elephant Stone, a Canadian psychedelic-pop band that incorporates aspects of traditional Indian music like the sitar. It’ll take the stage on Saturday, and Schenectady-based band The Abssymals and Zoon, hailing from Canada, will join.
On June 4, No Fun will finally get a grand opening, with A Place to Bury Strangers. The psychedelic rock band has been around since 2003 and has a reputation for performing wild shows featuring intense visuals and kinetic stage antics.
One of the band members, Oliver Ackermann, started Death By Audio, a guitar effects pedal company that spent nine years in a Williamsburg space that became a live-work venue/recording studio. That space was one of the big inspirations for No Fun, with its checkerboard floor and wide range of acts.
“It’s definitely special to have them looped in on this,” Rosa said.
They’ll be joined by Glove, a psychedelic band from Tampa, Florida.
If you can’t make it out to those shows, stopping by on a whim is a good bet.
“I want people to get a sense that they can go to something completely random because the whole thing I want from this is for people [to] have new experiences,” Rosa said. “Some of the best acts I’ve seen were random [bands that] I didn’t even know their music going into the show.”
That included Yoo Doo Right, a show that another team member booked.
“I just came down; I didn’t even know who was playing that night and . . . they were my favorite band I’ve seen so far, and had I not gone on my own accord without any information . . . it would have been a completely different experience,” Rosa said.
Since the cover fee is minimal for most of the shows, it’s a good incentive to come down and try something new.
“We’re bringing in some pretty unique stuff to the space and we’re going to continue to do that,” Rosa said.
For more information on No Fun, visit nofuntroy.com.