New York City is a great destination… There are so many things you can do, in the end you never know where the city is going to take you. As Alicia Keys says, ‘These streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you, hear it from New York….’
When I travel to new destinations, one of the most exciting moments before I get there is making my Bars, Cafes, Restaurants and Sights lists. I get so excited, searching on internet for the places I will get to see, dishes I’ll get to taste and atmospheres I’ll get to live.
During the couple of months I was living in New York, I could experience some of the places I had saved on my list (not all, sadly), these places are special in a way, or many ways, and I am more than happy to share my favorite ‘Live Music Bars in NYC’ with you.
I fell in love with New York, while listening to the beautiful Jazz, sitting on the floor in the front row of the Fat Cat’s stage. This basement bar has everything you can dream of, here you can play billiards, ping pong, shufflepuck… and feel like a kid again! There’s live jazz every night and on Fridays they have the formidable Brooklyn soul singer Naomi Shelton playing a residency with her Gospel Queens.
One of New York’s classic must-see and must-experience jazz venues. This little basement has made a lot of history: John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Bill Evans have grooved in this hallowed hall. The red stairwell may be perilously steep; the green basement, a little bit shabby, but this joint’s long been more about aural experiences, not visual ones.
You better book a table, sit back, and enjoy.
This lively restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, serves Brazilian comfort food, capturing that energy with pagode and sambão, moqueca and coxinha, and pitchers of caipirinhas. The festive but rustic setting (brightly painted brick walls, artfully tagged bathrooms) is pure Brazil from the moment you walk in, altogether with the smell of fresh lime and fried yucca.
The live music is an incentive all its own, though. And it’s not just the musicians, it’s the atmosphere. It starts with a few guys on drums, accordion, pandeiro and guitar. Arrive early, because this place gets packed full of the local Brazilians of NY dancing samba in between the tables.
This Alphabet City venue has an old-timey feel, like a bar plucked from the South and placed into the East Village, and during day/evening hours, has more of a restaurant vibe. The cocktails are a must, as they experiment with some unusual ingredients: there’s a gin and green bean cocktail, for example, and then of course there are the classics, which they tinker with to make it their own.
Through Sunday to Wednesday The Wayland brings casual live shows of bluegrass, indie rock, hip hop, jazz, etc. that will make you want to go for round two.
Nuyorican Poets Café
Nuyorican was born from the multicultural identity, the mixture of all kinds of minorities united by a love of art and the city, and the desire to initiate positive change in society. This place is indeed a cultural icon on New York’s Lower East Side since 1973, serving as an intimate stage for multicultural, underrepresented artists, who through their poetry, visual art, music, literature and theater engage with the audience.
The Café is also renowned for having originated the late-night poetry slam, where poets perform original work in a competitive series of rounds judged by the audience
Pete’s Candy Store
This Williamsburg is always very busy! During the week it’s full of events like Bingo Tuesday, Quizz-Off on Wednesday, Scrabble is on Saturday… and when these events finish, you can listen to live music in the Pullman-car-shaped performance space. Indeed it’s a very cozy space and they serve amazing cocktails, what else?