5 Cheapo Music Venues in New York City

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Webster Hall Studio
Crime in Stereo performing at the Webster Hall Studio. Photo: Bill Shouldis

By Alisha Miranda in New York—

New York City is a hub for music lovers of all tastes. The city’s neighborhoods have streets lined with venues offering live music every night of the week. So whether you’re looking for a rock show or a jazz club, you won’t have trouble finding the right place.

Manhattan is not the only borough that serves up popular music halls. Brooklyn is quickly growing into a popular home base for independent musicians, record labels, and DIY artists looking to leave their mark on New York’s dynamic music scene. Rock shows, DJ events, benefit concerts, the latest tours – these New York venues have it all:

Pianos
158 Ludlow Street (at Stanton St.), Manhattan
Web site

Pianos is a Lower East Side bar, lounge, restaurant, and music venue. Downstairs you’ll find a crowd of loud college students standing elbow-to-elbow slinging back drinks on weekend nights while the upstairs lounge offers a more laid back crowd, cocktails in hand. That’s where you should head – especially on select Friday nights as resident DJs spin all night and offer free entry to females before 10 p.m.

Musical stylings run the gamut with legendary hip-hop jingles, dance rock jams, and 80’s classics. If this is your kind of dance party, Pianos is not to be missed on a Friday night.

The Studio at Webster Hall
125 E 11th St (between 3rd Ave. and 4th Ave.), Manhattan
Web site

Webster Hall is not just known for its crazy club nights anymore. For those looking for an intimate show or to see up and coming bands, head to the Studio, located in the Hall’s basement. Showcasing touring bands of punk rock, indie pop, and straight up rock and roll genres, The Studio offers cheap tickets to small shows. It’s a perfect space to share the spotlight with bands both old and new.

Not to be overshadowed by its upstairs neighbor, The Studio serves up the ultimate acoustics in sound and lighting to maximize performances that challenge the line between audience and performers. Don’t be surprised if the lead singer himself crawls down from the stage and into the crowd to sing the words with you!

Mercury Lounge
217 E Houston St. (between Ave. A and Essex St.), Manhattan
Web site

The Mercury Lounge is the Lower East Side’s quintessential dive bar slash music venue. It’s a staple for seeing energetic live rock shows at a cheap price. Centrally located on Houston Street with doors that stay open until 3 a.m., the Mercury Lounge welcomes established indie rockers and newcomers as part of its “Bowery Presents” music family.

Audiences can expect to take full advantage of happy hour specials, spacious floors, and rattling stage performances by some of the best new musicians in the biz. New York musicians often come out to support one another here too, so chances are you might run into a familiar face at a show.

Southpaw
125 5th Ave (near Sterling Pl.), Brooklyn
Web site

Southpaw is a neighborhood bar and concert hall in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Located on the ever-so-trendy Fifth Avenue, Brooklynites from all over flock here on the weekends for cheap cans of beer, old-school arcade games, and rock-and-roll décor.

This past month, Southpaw opened its doors to benefit concerts for fellow Brooklyn bloggers You Sing I Write and Brooklyn the Borough in support of local organizations and musicians. Also, on second Saturdays of the month, “Down South at Southpaw” has introduced a new series of dance parties for the LGBT community. With events like these, Southpaw continues to be an integral part of the Brooklyn music scene. Their upcoming calendar features music showcases, journalists, and special guests such as Talib Kweli, so be sure to grab a ticket soon!

Tea Lounge
837 Union St. (between 6th and 7th Ave.), Brooklyn
Web site

This Park Slope café house also doubles as a live music space, presenting free jazz series and pop/singer-songwriters each week. Set up as a cozy living room, patrons enjoy free Wi-Fi and café drinks as performances carry on, and other attendees mingle in around the bar area for a prime view. The atmosphere is pleasant, welcoming, and relaxed which makes for a special evening that both musicians and audiences can enjoy any night of the week. At the end of the night, a tip jar is passed around to encourage donations.

If you want a more upbeat show, check out their bar parties accompanied by live bands and DJs hosted by one of Tea Lounge’s own bartenders. The café stays open past its normal closing hours just for these shows, too!

About the author: Alisha Miranda is a certified Travel Geek. A lover of all things budget-friendly, she’s constantly in search of good food and drinks, and engaging cultures. She even managed to complete a trip to Spain for two weeks under $1500 all by herself. Previously the first lady of Sosauce, she continues to guest post for travel sites, and now is the Local Expert: New York for NileGuide. Keep up with her travels at http://thisisalisha.tumblr.com/travelgeek.

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