Live music venues both large and small dot the SoHo area, offering up a myriad of musical styles and nurturing the next generation of I-heard-them-back-when talent. If you like intimate stages in historic buildings, head directly to SoHo and soak up the scene.
155 Varick St. at Vandam Street
City Winery (Image: rufus/Flickr)
Devoted to wine, music, and food, City Winery operates a fully functioning winery, restaurant and an oft-star-studded main stage in the heart of Hudson Square. Catering to city-dwelling wine enthusiasts, founder Michael Dorf has created a space where friends can enjoy more than 400 wines produced on the premises or from their award-winning wine list, eat in the 40-seat The Barrel Room restaurant, and take in acts as diverse as Gregg Allman and Matisyahu. Upcoming shows worth checking out include Christopher Cross on May 15, 10,000 Maniacs on May 25 and 26, and Nick Lowe on June 10.
326 Spring St. between Greenwich and Washington Streets
The Ear Inn (Image: Jeff Dunn/Flickr)
Established in 1817, The Ear Inn is one of the city’s longest-running drinking establishments. Over the last century, it’s earned a reputation both for ghosts and for welcoming merrymakers and creative types. The venue hosts regular poetry readings and movie screenings, but three nights a week — Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays — are reserved for live music. The local jazz outfit The Irregulars have emerged as an artist-in-residence, currently occupying the Sunday slot, so you know they’re worth an ear.
359 West Broadway near Broome Street
The Cupping Room Café (Image: Lauren Manning/Flickr)
Originally the site of a wholesale coffee purveyor, The Cupping Room has been operating as a beloved neighborhood café in its 100-year-old landmarked building since 1977. Today, the café offers a wonderful selection of brunch, lunch, and dinner options alongside a great bar, and on Fridays and Saturdays, great song stylings from talented musicians. Judy Marie Canterino, a Cupping Room regular, counts among her influences Billie Holiday, Rosemary Clooney, and Patsy Cline. Be sure to check the café’s calendar for her next performance or other great acts coming to the cozy West Broadway hotspot.
527 Broome St. between Sullivan and Thompson streets
The stage at Handy Liquor Bar (Image: Handy Liquor Bar/Yelp)
Named for Thomas Handy, one of America’s first famous mixologists, founder Matt Levine describes Handy Liquor Bar as “an authentic atmosphere of timeless comfort along with classic cocktails, great music, and old-school NYC vibes.” Along with handcrafted cocktails, the gorgeous downstairs joint offers a selection of small bites from the upstairs neighbors Chalk Point Kitchen. Music fills the air at all times whether from the vintage Wurtilzer jukebox, a bevy of hip DJs, or live musicians at the bar’s baby grand piano. Keep your eyes on their Twitter feed for info.
204 Varick Street at West Houston Street
SOB’s (Image: Wikimedia)
Also known as Sounds of Brazil, SOB’s has been delivering the city’s best Afro-Latino musical experience since 1982. Its stage has been graced by numerous Latin and Brazilian legends, including Tito Puente, Marc Anthony, Astrud Gilberto, and Celia Cruz. Today, the venue bills itself as the “Home of Universal Music,” and its roster of upcoming acts bears out that bold slogan. Hip hop artist Kemba, formerly known as YC the Cynic, hits the stage on April 20, and pop-soul singer Major entertains on May 14.
161 Lafayette St. near Grand Street
Called “the cutest karaoke bar ever,” what Baby Grand lacks in size, it makes up for in fun. And really, that’s the point, as the venue strives to achieve the “intimacy of a private room with the energy of open karaoke.” Here, you can choose to wow the crowd on packed Fridays and Saturdays, or visit during the week for a decidedly more chill vibe. Partake in Fortune Cookie Karaoke — popular karaoke songs hidden inside a fortune cookie — to raise the fear factor.