Watch CBS News

5 Best Jukebox Bars In New York

Going to a bar means throwing back drinks and having a great time. But to have a stellar experience at a bar, you need great music. Jukeboxes make the bar scene come alive, and were first introduced into the bar scene in the United States around 1940. Since then, bar patrons have come to rely on this simple music machine to spit out their chosen tunes. Here are some of the best place in New York City to find a jukebox stocked with great music. Just remember to bring your quarters and you'll be all set.
Nightlife & Music Jukebox, HiFi
Photo Credit:

The HiFi bar is an East Village staple with classic rock album covers lining the wall. You know you're stepping into a place that values music as well as drinking when you learn about the jukebox. The bar owners and regulars have named it "El DJ" and there is even an entire page of the bar's website dedicated to this automated disc jockey. Even though this isn't a traditional jukebox with movie parts, El DJ is a powerhouse of tunes stocked with over 3,000 albums. They are accessed from a hard drive via a trackball, which makes each musical experience at the HiFi Bar a new one.

RelatedNYC's 5 Best Bars For Musicians

Nightlife & Music Jukebox, Lakeside Lounge
Photo Credit:

This East Village bar knows the value of music while patrons are drinking. This means there's always something playing, whether it's live music from obscure bands or rocking tunes on the jukebox. New Yorkers know that Lakeside Lodge is one of the best in terms of its jukebox, with Led Zeppelin and Cream (among others) on the list of music choices. There's also a Coney Island-style photo booth that costs $4 for a strip of four candid snapshots. Just remember to bring your quarters for both the jukebox and the photo booth and you are set for the night.

Nightlife & Music Jukebox, Bull's Head Tavern
Photo Credit:

This Gramercy bar is known for its sawdust-covered floors and cheap as chips drink specials. For example, Wednesdays at Bulls Head Tavern is "bring your own beer mug" day. Patrons bring in the biggest beer mug they can find and it filled up with Bud Light for only $5.  Another great attribute is the jukebox, which is stocked with everything from Metallica to Phish to Frank Sinatra.  Ask the bartender what his or her favorite song on the jukebox is, and perhaps you'll get some cool points for playing it.

Nightlife & Music Jukebox, rusty knot
Photo Credit:

At the Westernmost edge of Manhattan sits the Rusy Knot. This nautical-themed bar is the brainchild of the Spotted Pig's Ken Friedman and Freemans' Taavo Somer, so you know it's going to be good. Dubbed a dive bar, The Rusty Knot is a true New York City experience. The jukebox is always hopping, with a catalog that has everything from Jay-Z to Muddy Waters. The Rusty Knot also offers delicious food - try the pretzel dogs and fish po'boys.

Nightlife & Music Jukebox at Bar
Photo Credit:

Manitobas is full of history, with pictures of celebrities lining the walls. The bar is owned and run by Richard "Handsome Dick" Manitoba, a former radio personality and musician. They take music seriously at Manitobas, and the jukebox is a testament to that. Insert your coin and choose from a huge catalog of classics - we suggest starting with some Johnny Cash to get the party started. While you're there, try one of the great beers on tap like Mothers Milk or Coney Island to insure a great night at the bar.

RelatedNYC's 5 Most Underrated Music Bars

Jessica Costello is a freelance writer.  Her work can be found at
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.