Sentimentalist Does AbsintheHey, we may work at making a music magazine run like it should, but it’s not all about merely checking out bands 24/7. There is schmoozing to do, mindless dancing to indulge in, people to talk to. Here are ten of our top picks of locales for band chats, dates and general carousing. Now, the first person or group to visit all ten of these places in one night (this can span two days but not two separate nights) will win a $50 Amex gift card, all you have to do is show us the proof via email, if you have it. This could be in the form of bar receipts or in the most convincing argument ever. Standard contest rules don’t apply.

Have your suggestions? Throw them in the email or the comments and we’ll mix it up.

Top Ten Places to Hang In

Five Leaves (wins for the details, the mood) is practically the reason why I moved into the neighborhood. One can show up there at any time and everything will be great, whether you’re engrossed in a book, rushing to an appointment or drunk and wild; and the people who work and own this place are always in tune.

18 Bedford Avenue
Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY 11222
(646) 510-6467

169 (deals, atmosphere) is the best dive bar for me at the moment. The deals during their happy hour are amazing for Manhattan: $3 will buy you an old man tall boy and a large shot. The decor is at first seemed luau gritty but then I learned that it was a New Orleans place originally, and a mob hangout as well. Sometimes a person or a band will show up and play music, but it’s very unannounced and thus a surprise. There is a fish, pool table, macabre, mismatched chairs and dumplings, and it’s right next to the new gallery district. The bartenders are pretty anonymous most of the times I’ve been there so it’s not a true, Joe’s Bar-style dive.

169 East Broadway
New York, NY 10002-5543
(212) 677-5486

Maracuja (once a Lithuanian bar, kept the sign) was the first place that let us light our absinthe on fire in New York, and provided sugar, a spoon and a glass of water, without reserve and tons of interest in the Czech procedure. The owners, a couple, are the sweetest people I have met running a bar, and they are there all the time. It usually smells like baking cookies for no reason and there is ample space to meet friends. One of the owners will run you out of town at the pool table, we’ll let you figure out which one it is.

279 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 302-9023

Trophy Bar (drink quality, ambiance and dancing scene) make the best Manhattans in New York, and that of course, means the world, as far as Manhattans go. The drinks are on par with Hotel Delmano, Walter Foods, Death By Company, Manhattan Inn and Pegu, but are half the price. These are inventive classics that use all of the ingredients available to the bartender. The JMZ rumbles up above and it’s absolutely appropriate for the best dance scene to spill out through all of days of the week. You will be greeted with a smile and you can stay here all night.

351 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 11211-7363
(347) 227-8515

The Jane Hotel Ballroom* (for its hot parties last July/August), before the whole thing blew out of its French, striped shirt proportions… we stumbled on this place at random and my girlfriend went up the marble steps to disappear inside because she’d heard it was the “new Beatrice”, but I was stopped by a door girl who informed me that this was a private party to which I replied, “I need to very privately get my girlfriend out of there.” I was sweet and the door girl was very sweet, so shortly girlfriend and I were both inside dancing ourselves out. It was Bastille day, rather unfortunate that most of the French banker contingent had to spend most of it waiting outside. I’m very conflicted on this entry as it was both very, very time specific, as the venue had to shut down shortly thereafter for repairs of PR after a neighborhood war and also because it is fairly obvious that all the “right” effort was spent to emulate something that is better served original. However, this place was important (Har Mar Superstar had a great, great album pre-release show here too) so it serves as the Balloon Boy of places on this list.

113 Jane Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 924-6700

Don Pedros (post-Lit scene) is out of the way unless you live in Bushwick, and if you don’t live in Bushwick, maybe then you don’t care about upcoming bands or you make more money then you need by selling most of your time to non-creative pursuits. Actually, even if you live in Bushwick, it’s still out of the way via the subway, but it’s definitely a standard staple outside of the DIY gallery shows. Regular band line-ups at least five days a week, flannel dorkuses and young people unite; This bar is a precursor to Beauty Bar which opened another outpost near by. The drinks are of course cheap, and the downstairs gathering is worth a day trip from the Upper West side: as much as this is the post-Lit scene, it’s also a post Cokies scene, hispanic families, DJs, trannies, people dressed as bunnies and trash.

90 Manhattan Ave
New York, NY 10025

Lit (because it’s still relevant after 5,000 years) is still there and even though they’ve had to stop most of the fun, illicit shit and most of my friends are not allowed back in for groppery, fuckery and druggery, it seems that the owners are growing up with the operation. The gallery Fuse actually shows relevant work, the drinks are always well made and the parties get to late night dancing as if it’s still the year of Pontius Pilate (or Caligula). Still the same place where you can spend time arguing with Paul Sevigny about architecture at eight in the morning, minus the eight in the morning because they get pretty strict about strangers and after hours now.

93 2 Avenue
New York, NY 10003-8352
(212) 777-7987

Elsa (great drinks, atmosphere, low key) replaced Hanger Bar, which was an absolute wall to wall NYU student hang out. The new owners gutted both the space and the scene when they opened this classy incarnation. The decor was redone with a Swedish bath aesthetic and fashion prints, whitened walls, reclaimed wood tables, amazing bathrooms to think in. The drinks have a list which to me seems the most similar to Richardson in Brooklyn. The owners’ background is in fashion and music, so almost immediately, the people I used to meet in overcrowded Lower East Side places would discretely meet here. Once, here, I had the pleasure of seeing Bjork, she was celebrating a birthday with friends. I offered her a Prosecco, which she politely refused. I think she is the first person in the history of Prosecco to refuse one. I am a creep.

217 East 3rd Street, New York, NY‎
(917) 882-7395

Pianos (oh, happy hour), frozen Margaritas, frozen Margaritas, frozen…You get the non-idea, suggestion, $4 specials, delicious fried foods and still that feeling that every musician who still lives in the Lower East Side is there, waking up, preparing to trudge equipment for that night’s show. Almost no “post-work” crowd, but it’s a flirt and run arrangement as after 7 the bar clears out. Jay from A Place To Bury Strangers can be found behind the bar when he’s not on tour.

158 Ludlow Street, New York, NY 10002-2377
(212) 505-3733

The Ten Bells (best LES wine bar) is a fairly relaxed, foodie wine bar a little below the crowded streets and thus, a welcome refuge. We found this place after an overly crowded show that had its after party at Motor City which is…, well just no, at least not on a Saturday. Here you will find wines (and beer) from every region and although it’s, of course, mostly couples, or singles to meet at the horse shoe bar. Points for absolutely friendly and helpful owners and bartenders.

247 Broome Street, New York, NY‎
(212) 228-4450

–Zabatay, Chief Tipple

* Basically defunct

  1. Ok, I’ll bite for a bit. You jerk offs are basically 65 years old and so of course you go to your comfortable places that you found during your “youth”. But I’ll give you a couple of places that are actually new and are not closing:

    American Cans
    My Bedroom (it’s the closes I would get without saying my cokc)


  2. New York centric bullshit, get out sometime! I’ve been to LIT and damn that place is a smell hole.


  3. @DogBaubles, this is a New York best of list, however I’d like suggestions from you for your area. And I’d visit you, although probably I would not smell your hole.


  4. I’d put Glasslands and Monkey Town up there instead of the shittier venues you suggested. Making Lit sound cultural is a whale fucking task and Elsa is a temporary stitch in the venue fabric.


  5. Can we dofood between th places