In Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, and Cobble Hill, you can enjoy live music at a bar or restaurant every night of the week. Savor classic jazz guitar with a side order of French onion soup on Sunday; enjoy locavore fare and a performance by a local singer/songwriter on Monday evening; get down to salsa while tucking into old-school Italian dishes on Friday night; grab a beer and listen to rock-and-roll, country, or funk just about every other night.
61 Bergen Street (between Smith Street and Boerum Place)
Downstairs at 61 Local. Image: Gavin St. Ours/Flickr
128 Smith Street (at Dean Street)
With its wealth of vintage French posters, insouciant furnishings, large windows graced with white café curtains, and outdoor seating in warm weather, Bar Tabac certainly evokes the casual elegance of a Parisian boîte. The menu, which includes onion soup gratinée, coq au vin, and bouillabaisse, reinforces that impression. But you can also listen to live jazz while sipping sauvignon or tucking into moules frites. Every Sunday from noon till four, brunch is accompanied by the Bar Tabac Trio. Sunday evenings, from 7 to 10, classically trained French guitarist François Wiss holds court with his flamenco-Algerian-infused jazz. Other artists take the stage throughout the week. Recent performers included brother duo Sons of Origin, whose repertoire incorporates rock, folk, and soul as well as jazz; guitarist/singer/songwriter Adrian DiMatteo; and jazz/blues vocalist Katherine Ella Wood. Friday nights offer a change of pace: a DJ session with Patafunk that goes on until the wee hours of Saturday.
81 Hoyt Street (between State Street and Atlantic Avenue)
Bijan’s has a bit of its own French bistro vibe, though with a decided Persian flavor. On Tuesday nights it hosts Soul Acoustic Tuesdays, an open-mic/jam session. Come to hear new talent playing alongside local pros, stay for a Curiosita (prosecco with a splash of elderflower) and roasted garlic eggplant.
210 Smith Street (between Baltic and Butler Streets)
Michael Arenella (seen here on Governors Island) plays the Clover Club every Wednesday night. Image: Bruce Monroe/Flickr
In ambience, Clover Club harks back to Jazz Age speakeasies: Think gleaming wood bar, brick walls, button-tufted leather banquettes, a fireplace in the corner. It is an idyllic spot for sipping a HoneyCrisp Royale, a Redwood Fizz, or a glass of champagne and nibbling oysters on the half-shell. And on Wednesday evenings, it is also the perfect place to listen to live traditional jazz, courtesy of bandleader/vocalist Michael Arenella.
46 Third Avenue (at Atlantic Avenue)
The decal-littered front door of Hank’s Saloon makes it plain that this is no rarefied club. It is a local bar, pure and simple, where beer is the beverage of choice and live bands take the stage almost every night. Among the many performers scheduled for March are indie band Hot Dice, nontraditional country group the Jack Grace Band, rock trio the Bamboo Kids, singer/songwriter Kasey Anderson, and punk-rockers the Tracys.
135 Atlantic Avenue (between Clinton and Henry Streets)
Le Boudoir is as unlike Hank’s Saloon as a bar can be. Specializing in craft cocktails, it looked to Marie Antoinette as the inspiration for its decor. Gilt mirrors, red velvet upholstery, and marble-top tables abound. While beverages such as the Guillotine (Scotch, mescal, banana, and honey) and nibbles including frog legs and frites with garlic and Parmesan are reason enough to linger, live jazz performances on Monday evenings offer further inducement. Latin jazz guitarist Tiro Cruzado, cutting-edge funk jazz band Electric Red, and the delightfully named Bedlam Swing were among recent performers.
174 Smith Street (between Wyckoff and Warren Streets)
The food menu is strictly Italian—pastas, risottos, bruschettas—but the music offering at this restaurant/bar is everything but. Salsa quartet Tres del Solar gets things shaking on Friday nights; Grupo Irék does the same on Saturday evenings with its mélange of son cubano, cha-cha, mambo, and salsa. And on Sunday nights Ruby & the Soul System provide a jazz/soul/funk sendoff to the weekend.