Free and cheap concerts abound in New York City during the summertime. Now that we're well into September, here are a few venues that consistently provide four walls, booze, and great concerts where tickets are almost always under ten bucks. By Maude Standish
A bit like a drinking spot superhero, once the curtain of night comes this Lower East Side bar doubles as a concert/dance party space. In the back of the bar, you'll find a strategically placed stand with a bouncer happy to collect a fiver for a hand stamp that gets you into the semi-secret concert hall. Pianos provides an intimate venue for upcoming bands and as such everyone from weirdo psyche bands to folk pop make stops to play here. The best part is that if there is a set you aren't that into, just exit the concert and try to convince guys to buy you a beer at the bar. Another great method of saving money!
Trade your heels for a pair of Keds, and wander out to wilds of industrial Williamsburg for this warehouse venue. Located on the second floor, you'll have to navigate a narrow set of stairs that I once saw a monumentally drunk guy fall face forward down. (The beer must have lubricated his fall, because he was surprisingly totally fine!) Shea Stadium feels a bit like the rave space you dreamed existed in the '90s, but were never cool enough to be invited to. Often decorated in day glow, steamers and disco lights, many concerts at Shea Stadium feature accompanying performance artists and video projections. You can bring your own beer or there is a cash bar that sells frosted PBRs for three bucks.
Originally located on the Bowery, like many displaced musicians the Knitting Factory now calls Williamsburg its home. It's perfect for anyone wanting to see an indie band, but who isn't really looking for a "warehouse" experience where they have to lounge with recent college dropouts. This grown-up venue (seriously, they even card here!) offers amenities like bathrooms that have sinks, a full service bar, pre-reserving tickets and seats that many of the younger kindred spaces don't. And though some of the shows can cost more than ten bucks, there are great concerts that cost less and are even free.
Housed in a waterfront warehouse in Williamsburg, Glasslands is a crossbreed of legitimacy and un-ruled territory. Generally attracting hip touring bands, this place is a great spot to meet corn-fed, adorable Midwesterners who are really, really excited to be playing their first New York show. While good tunes fill the stage, the band is surrounded by an installation of psychedelic clouds and stars making them look like they were floating away or in a really low-fi music video. If you should tire of dancing (aka nodding your head in pseudo rhythm) the venue has a balcony from which you can play "Spot the bald guy!"
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