Hotspot Bars for Live Music
New York City’s bar scene is perhaps one of the most diverse in the world. With many locations featuring live music, the possibilities of catching local acts or those traveling through are nearly endless.
But not all live music bars are created equal. The best live music spots in NYC have consistently great music, quality sound systems, and booze selections for every taste.
We decided to compile a list of our favorite places to check out live music. Whether it’s a great place for a Gansett and blazing punk rock, or for a stiff gin martini and jazz, New York’s bar scene has something for everybody.
- 11th Street Bar
Located in the heart of Alphabet City, 11th Street Bar is a true neighborhood haunt. A location where everybody knows everyone else, this is a great place to get that “Cheers” feel while enjoying a largely hyper-local music selection.
From jazz to folk, and even holding a weekly Irish music night, 11th Street Bar has entertainment most nights of the week. Drinks here range from the extremely cheap, to higher end craft beers and signature cocktails. The interior is all brick, giving the venue a real “homey” feel.
- The Bowery Ballroom
When it comes to a great room, mid-level underground acts, and a full bar of great drinks, The Bowery Ballroom is the place to be.
More of a true-blue venue, the Bowery gets recognition because of the caliber of acts that make their mark in NYC here. From up-and-coming indie acts like Sorority Noise to folk darlings The Cactus Blossoms, it’s pretty hard not to see that the $15-$30 ticket prices are a steal for the sound quality, entertainment, and wonderful drink selection.
- The Flatiron Room
One of the best things about the Flatiron Room is their dedication to whiskey. The second thing? Their approach to live music.
The bar’s webpage explicitly states the Flatiron is not a listening room—the music is meant to enhance and fit nearly into the drinking experience. Not too loud and invasive, you can sit and have a real conversation while hearing the sounds of their virtuoso live band, and a grand selection of jazz and blues acts.
Speaking of whiskey, Flatiron is one of the only places around where you can purchase your own bottle of whiskey, and have cocktails made out of it. If you find a spirit that really catches your palate, the bartenders will turn it into pure, liquid magic.
Punks can rejoice in this Alphabet City dive. Really inexpensive drinks, along with a healthy dose of rock and roll history make this place the perfect crash spot for the bristly-at-heart.
Run by “Handsome Dick” Manitoba, frontman for punk group The Dictators, tons of great local acts make their way through Manitoba’s doors. Also, famous musicians like Keith Richards have been known to stop by.
For the truly strapped young punk, enjoy a $5 shot and beer special. Otherwise, the prices here will fit into almost every single budget imaginable.
In terms of hip-hop and DJ music, bObBar has been bringing quality since 1993. Featuring hip-hop and DJ music every night, you’re bound to have to return here over and over again.
One of the really standout features of this location is the additional focus as an art gallery. bObBar features a rotating list of artists hanging their wares on the walls, making this place truly novel experience.