Bars That Rock: NYC's Greatest Boozy Music Venues

by Jessica Klein on Nov 3, 2015 in Roundups

Drinking, dancing, and great music have gone hand in hand since the start of human history. And if you want to do these things in New York, there’s no shortage of venues.

Some of these venues are more classic than others, basically guaranteeing a good time and solid performance lineups. Others promise newer bands, letting you listen to something you haven’t heard before while taking advantage of cheaper bar service. Getting a chance to explore both is key to experiencing the music scene in NYC.
With buckets of cocktails going for $20, it’s easy to both fund and fuel a night of listening to current bands and DJ sets alike. The Williamsburg venue opened a couple years ago with a show by The Pizza Underground, a band best known for featuring Macaulay Culkin and parodying songs by The Velvet Underground. (146 Broadway, Brooklyn; 718-599-5800)
Described as an “independent music venue,” Cake Shop is more likely to host a band featuring 24-year-olds from Brooklyn than anything you’ve ever heard before. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and makes for a cheaper, laidback show. There’s also, as the name suggests, cake, and the $4, 5–8 PM happy hour can’t be beat. (152 Ludlow St.; 212-253-0036)
Similar to Cake Shop in terms of set-up, entertainment, and location, Pianos features bands you’ve hardly heard of, fun shows, and comfort bar food. The venue also offers $2 off all snacks between 2 and 8 PM. (158 Ludlow St.; 212-505-3733)
This longtime New York City music venue is higher brow and better known than all of the above. Come here expecting quality performances, many of them music, but a good handful are even more inventive. (425 Lafayette St.; 212-967-7555)
Performing at Webster Hall means, as a musician, you’ve made it on some level. A large-scale venue with big name acts, this venue calls for a big evening out. Prepare to spend more, but in exchange for an experience you can’t get at many under the radar venues. (125 E 11th St.; 212-353-1600)
A chain of a venue, Knitting Factory offers a space for musicians and comedians to perform to a regularly robust crowd. If you’re looking to meet people to talk music with, this sociable spot will serve up some fellow fans and drinking buddies. (361 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn; 347-529-6696)
A dark bar/music venue with a dungeon-like basement, Lit Lounge is literally lit up with red lights and smells pervasively of alcohol—in a comforting way. Go-go dancers sometimes perch atop the bar upstairs, and drinks are very affordable. (93 2nd Ave.;212-777-7987)

Photo via Baby's All Right

Tags: Beer, Cocktails, Food, Music, Wine
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