East Village Small Spaces with Big Sounds
As you might expect, the East Village has its share of jazz clubs. But you can also hear world music, straight-out rock, and traditional Irish music at hot spots throughout the neighborhood. In other words, the music options are as diverse as the East Village itself.
510 East 11th Street (between Avenues A and B)
Those with any sort of Liverpool connection might know this pub as the official home of the New York Liverpool Supporters Club; visit on days when Liverpool Football Club is playing, and the primary music you will hear is “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” the team’s unofficial anthem. On Sunday nights starting at 10, however, the bar hosts a seisiún, or session, of traditional Irish music, and on Monday evenings the 11th St. Bar Quintet performs jazz. A variety of rock, country, and blues performers can be heard on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights. Upcoming shows include New Americana band Empire of Light on March 20; blue-based Hugh Pool Band on March 21, April 18, May 16, and June 20; and blues-rock guitarist Andy Seagrave on April 4.
169 Avenue A (between East 10th and East 11th Streets)
Something is going on every night at Coney Island Baby, a relative newcomer to the East Village (it opened in April 2018). While it hosts comedy nights and, on Friday and Saturday nights in the club section of the venue, top-40 dance parties, live music makes up most of its calendar. March alone includes rockers Johnny Black and the Glam Doll Dancers on March 16, indie rock band Mike Mains & the Branches on March 29, and neo-rockabilly legend Robert Gordon on March 31.
85 Avenue A (between East Fifth and East Sixth Streets)
Drom, which is a restaurant/bar as well as a music venue, has perhaps the most wide-ranging offering of live music in Manhattan, if not all of the city. The week of March 25, for instance, features the Alternative Guitar Summit 2019 honoring Ralph Towner on Monday; Peruvian brass band La Patronal and an album release party for clarinetist and recorder player Nina Stern on Tuesday; Greek singer/composer Pericles Kanaris on Wednesday; Sound the Groove!, a party night with live music, on Thursday; Doors tribute band the Soft Parade and Turkish rockers Gripin on Friday; the jazz-soul Vladimir Cetkar Septet on Saturday; and Kurdish folk guitarist Ahmet Aslan on Sunday. This diversity means that even if you do not like see anything of interest on its schedule now, chances are excellent you will soon.
65 St. Mark’s Place (between First and Second Avenues)
For jazz-loving Francophiles, Jules Bistro is heaven on earth. Along with a menu of French bistro classics—cassoulet, steak frites, beef tartare, onion soup, escargot—the restaurant offers live jazz in its myriad incarnations every night. Recent performers included the Tyler Mitchell Trio, whose repertoire spans traditional and experimental jazz; singer Angel Williams, who pays tribute to soul, blues, funk, and rock vocalists as well as jazz singers; and the Velvet Gypsies, who infuse their jazz with a bit of funk. François Wiss, whose fusion of jazz, flamenco, North African, Latin, and rock music has been dubbed a “world music experiment,” holds court on Monday nights.
151 Avenue C (between East 9th and East 10th Streets)
62 Avenue C (between East Fourth and East Fifth Streets)
Jazz, funk, Latin, Afro, alternative: The programming at these twin clubs defies genres. As proof, consider this sampler of upcoming shows. On March 14, Nublu is hosting a record release party for pop-instrumental band Hearing Things with blues-punk singer/songwriter Shilpa Ray. Two days later, indie-folk singer/songwriter Dan Saulpaugh, rock-blues guitarist Andrew DiMarzo, and alt rockers Wooly Mammals take the stage. Jazz trio Sun of Goldfinger plays on March 21, as does jam band Garcia Peoples on March 29. The lineup is just as eclectic at little-sister club Nublu Classic. For instance, MindGazm, a self-described “audio-visual Jamtronic experience,” plays two shows on March 16; rock-blues band Cold Brew, alt-rock band Ben, Blue, and the Bear, and alt-soul singer/songwriter/guitarist/pianist Morgan Keller perform on March 28.
236 East Third Street (between Avenues B and C)
This touchstone of the East Village began in the early 1970s as a salon for poets, playwrights, and musicians of color who were ignored by the mainstream media. Since then “the Nuyo” has become renowned for its poetry slams; it claims to have held the city’s first-ever in 1989. Open-mic poetry slams take place every Wednesday night, with “curated” slams on Friday evenings. If poetry is not music to your ears, percussionist Chembo Corniel plays Latin jazz on the first Tuesday night of each month, the 20-piece Latin jazz big band the Bronx Conexión performs the second Tuesday of each month, and Willie Martinez & La Familia Sextet play their unique Afro-Caribbean jazz on the third Tuesday of each month. Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz, a free-flowing mini festival, takes place the first Saturday night of each month. Hip-hop, poetry, and jazz open-mic nights are held the first Wednesday and the third Saturday of each month. By the way, this nonprofit venue is not really a cafe: No food is served, and you can come by for a drink only on evenings when events are being held.
188 Avenue B (between East 11th and East 12th Streets)
Beginning at nine o’clock, every night is jazz night at this intimate lounge with a Parisian vibe. Up-and-coming and under-the-radar performers are something of a specialty here. Among the upcoming shows are New-Orleans-by-way-of-New York band the Gotham Easy (March 9, 10, 15, and 16) and global jazz-funk band Dawn Drake & ZapOte (March 16).
94 Avenue A (at East Sixth Street)
SideWalk has been dishing up live music alongside cocktails, burgers, and Guinness on tap for several decades. Almost every night you can hear a half-dozen or more short sets by on-the-rise performers as varied as psychedelic rockers the Grasping Straws, folkie Hurricane Holly, and Mediterranean-influenced rock-pop singer/songwriter Dorit. Open-mic nights are held every Monday. Nellie McKay and Regina Spektor are among those who played SideWalk early in their careers, so perhaps you’ll hear a future star when you stop by.
700 East Ninth Street (at Avenue C)
A cozy bar and comfort-food restaurant, the Wayland hosts live music Sunday through Wednesday nights. As you no doubt expect from the East Village by now, the musical mix is eclectic. Recent shows included Trio Cachimbo, playing jazz, pop, and contemporary standards with a Latin accent; rock/Americana/jazz guitarist Paul Orbell; jazz quintet the Slim Tones; and rock-and-rollers Hawthorne.