travelling to NYC next month- cool music spots


Senior Member
Hey all,
My wife and I are headed to NYC next month for a weekend of fun, and pretty much top of my list is checking out some music. I've seen some New York cats on this forum, could any of you please recommend some cool places to check out

(I guess this is sort of like asking where the fish are in the ocean, so I guess let me narrow it down a little. Not looking for the loud club scene, more like some cool jazz spots, world music maybe, basically chill kind of places to grab a drink and/or some food and catch some blazing players....)

My teacher recommended Sound of Brazil and The Knitting Factory so I'm planning to check those out. But seeking more ideas, anybody got anything?

Thank you in advance!


Gold Member
When I head back to New York I'm heading straight to Birdland.

Sure there are more better suggestions though.


Senior Member
Thank you gentlemen, much appreciated!

Vanguard and Irridium are close to where I'll be, looks like John Riley is at Vanguard every Monday, sweet!


My teacher recommended Sound of Brazil and The Knitting Factory so I'm planning to check those out. But seeking more ideas, anybody got anything?
Well, two things with the Knitting Factory. For one its in Brooklyn... not Manhattan which is what many consider "NYC proper" so you'll have to hop a subway or taxi. Second, there's an equal chance of catching low volume world/jazz or indie rock at Dinosaur Jr mind shattering volume levels. All kinds of music there.

If hopping to Brooklyn is no problem then Brooklyn Bowl is excellent all around. Food, bowling and live music... run by the people who were behind the Wetlands. Questlove has been known to DJ here...

Another excellent venue in Manhattan proper is Shrine in Harlem. Don't let that scare you, its a safe neighborhood. Many friends of mine have played here and its a small place that really treats musicians well and does it right.

Also worth mentioning Pianos, though they've moved in more of an indie/dance direction recently. Still a hip place to see a band.

The Iridium is a classic, worth visiting though it can be a somewhat expensive night even for NYC standards. Many of the classic places to see music have closed due to rising real estate costs... Roseland Ballroom etc. The "chill" spots these days seem to be martini lounges with a DJ on every third corner.

For food Heartland Brewery is always solid. Highly recommended.

Skylight Diner on 34th is also excellent. One of my gotos. Never had a bad meal there. Right across the street from B&H too! Seriously excellent food at fair prices.

Nowhere near downtown, but a great place to experience is the infamous Jekyll & Hyde. Totally unique fun house restaurant. Even if you don't have a full meal its an excellent place for drinks and quick appetizer. When I get people visiting from out of town we might end up here, kids of all ages love it.

Another really solid place is The Half King on 23rd & 10th. Solid food, outdoor seating and its a block away from SIR rehearsal.

Food around the Times Square area is generally expensive and mediocre at best. Very average chains and tourist traps that no self respecting New Yorker would be caught dead in. Get a few blocks away and things improve drastically!

FWIW the legendary 48th St "Music Row" with Mannys, Sam Ash, We Buy Guitars etc is totally gone. All finally closed down a few years back, Sam Ash is now on 34th. Time marches on and the city... its not the city I grew up with.


Senior Member
Moose thank you sir, will start checking this info out.

I'm going to be close to Times Square....and I'm a that is appreciated advice as well!



Gold Member
Shrine, Village Vanguard, Club Coca Cola are all good spots for jazz.

If you are there on a weekend, most upscale restaurants will have jazz trios.

Also check out the bar at the Carlyle. It's VERY upscale, so bring a suit, but this is one of the finest jazz/cabaret rooms in the world. Also, the artist that drew Madeline hand painted the walls and lamp shades.

They have a pianist playing cocktail music from 5-8 or something, and then a jazz trio from 9-1.

Save this for a special date night, as it is very upscale (Frank Sinatra used to rent out the penthouse here, and the Kennedy's hung out here quite a bit). It can be a little pricey too, even for NYC, with most drinks starting at $30.


Senior Member
OK, just reporting back, got back from NYC yesterday, great long weekend with the wifey. Man that city is awesome!

Time flies with so much to do but thanks to you guys recommendations I did get to see a tiny bit of music, (disclaimer: randomly sort of ended up at these places, the idea of a structured plan went out the window pretty early on in the trip)

Went to Village Vanguard for a 3pm matinee. Sweet vibe in this place, the group was John Zorn Milford Graves Duo. Experimental, almost punk-ish, pretty wild experience for mid-afternoon. Also KILLER pizza next door for $3/slice

Also hit Smoke Jazz for the Immanuel Wilkins Trio. The drummer was a guy named Kyle Poole, killer playing, exactly what we were looking for. Paid $9 per ticket and watched two sets, great time hated to see that one end. Tried to stick around for the 3rd jam set but the missus had somewhere she wanted to head next....

Totally jealous of you city cats!