Tired of listening to honking cabs? Great music is never far away when you’re in New York City. Here are five spots that anyone looking for the best New York music venues should take note of:
152 Ludlow Street, New York, NY 10002
Fun is one word to describe the Cake Shop – delicious is another! The spirit of indie rock lives at the Cake Shop, offering vegan cakes and coffee upstairs, and groundbreaking indie acts downstairs. The Shop packs a crowd at night, so it’s best to get there early on if you want to snag a spot in front of the stage. The venue is decked out with fairy lights, which offers a playful accent on the already free-spirit atmosphere. Word on the street says the peanut butter cookies are to die for, too! The Cake Shop is centered in the heart of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, muscled in between two other joints – a great spot to bar hop, if you’re so inclined.
4140 Broadway, New York, NY 10033
Once an old vaudeville theater, this gold-plated palatial venue is nothing short of amazing. From the rococo décor complete with chandeliers hanging from the cathedral ceiling, to the old-fashioned red velvet seats, you can step back in time while simultaneously enjoying the hottest contemporary acts from Adele to Vampire Weekend. Located way up at the tip of Manhattan, the venue offers an escape from the glitz of the typical nightlife scene while still being easily accessible from the subway.
East 2nd St & Ave C, New York, NY 10009
If you don’t have a lot to spend but want to hear some great music nonetheless, head on out to the East Village. The Stone is a wallet-friendly space dedicated to the avant-garde and the experimental – think progressive jazz. That said, the venue is surprisingly unaffected by its artsy rep, with all the communal spirit that its non-profit status indicates. The $10 cover charge goes directly to supporting the artists, so anyone can enjoy the music and know they are directly contributing to venue’s longevity. Like all the best New York music venues, The Stone is all about the music!
156 Rivington Street, New York, NY 10002
Quite possibly the hippest spot in all of Manhattan, ABC No Rio has been home to punks, poets, and all manner of underground artists since the 1980s. Every Saturday at 3 p.m. is the Hardcore/Punk matinee, a great opportunity to hear some great punk bands. The ambiance is community-oriented, with a volunteer, DIY artisan vibe that seems soaked into the very walls of this place, which is situated between Clinton and Suffolk Streets. For a $6 cover charge, you’ll get to hear three or four homegrown bands.
376 9th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Located in the heart of “the Slope,” Barbès is part French bar, part artsy musical hangout in beautiful Brooklyn, NY. Barbès seems to operate on Duke Ellington’s dictum, “If it sounds good, it is good.” On any given night, fans of the deliciously obscure can hear straight jazz, chamber music, progressive rock, fusion – you name it.
New York City is a wonderful artistic melting pot, with something for every taste. If you’re looking for the best New York music venues, all you have to do is cup your hand to your ear and follow the sweet sounds.
Photo by The All-Nite Images