Whether you’re looking for great jazz, comedy, booze, coffee, or just plain wild, New York’s clubs are among the best in the world. All decors, price ranges, ambiance, and kinds of acts are here in abundance. Uptown, downtown, mid-town, and Greenwich or East Side, West Side, and even a few in Brooklyn – they dot the New York City landscape like fireflies in Central Park.
Everything from ballroom dancing to the latest thing (which there’s no point in naming since before this sees press it will be replaced by something new) is easy to find. Jazz venues range from Coltrane or Basie-style to the artists that will become famous next year. Hard pounding rock from the 60s-90s and beyond to the folk singers of yesteryear and tomorrow are trying out their stuff in the music capital of the world.
Comedy clubs large and small, from upscale to peanut shells on the floor are everywhere from the top of Central Park to Greenwich Village. They share the city with Cigar and Wine clubs and a thousand shops dedicated to coffees from the world over.
If your taste runs to Scotch and a cigar try the men’s club atmosphere of Bull & Bear at the Waldorf-Astoria on Park Avenue near 49th Street. If you prefer a good beer sample some from the selection of over 150 at The Kinsale Tavern on Third Avenue between 93rd and 94th Streets.
Maybe you’d like a great glass of wine in a cozy spot. The SoHo Kitchen & Bar offers oenophiles the finest available in a setting filled with artists.
Maybe the liquid is less important than the ambiance. Head to the Hogs and Heifers at 859 Washington where bras hang off the moose head. Or try instead the sedate and upscale Four Seasons Hotel bar at 57 E. 57th Street.
Be prepared to laugh your patootie off at Caroline’s on Broadway at 49th Street. This 300-seat venue hosts the acts that wind up a month later on TV.
Or head to Greenwich Village to MacDougal near Bleeker for the Comedy Cellar. Long established, it still offers the latest funny men and women and sometimes those in-between.
Or make your way uptown to 81st Street on Second Avenue for an evening at the Comic Strip Live. Most of the comics don’t strip – thankfully, since the club has been offering the likes of Eddie Murphy and Jerry Seinfeld for over 20 years.
If you’re in the Village and prefer some jazz to laughs, check out The Back Fence at the corner of Bleeker and Thompson. No cover during the week and the acts start early around 6 pm many nights. Don’t worry about what’s on the floor, it’s just crushed peanut shells.
All the way uptown ala Anita O’Day is Cleopatra’s Needle they say. On Broadway between 92nd and 93rd, there’s live piano and sax with vocalists who just may be the next Diane Krall.
But don’t miss the Blue Note. Judged among the world’s best jazz clubs by aficionados who know, you can see major stars like Arturo Sandoval or the next Coltrane. As if there could be another.
But if all you want is a good cup of coffee and some great atmosphere, just trip over any curb in the city. You’ll fall into a club where they serve things only your know-it-all brother-in-law has heard of.
That’s New York!