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NYC's 5 Best Bars For Musicians

Will there ever be another Nirvana? Who knows, but one thing is for sure--NYC is full of talented musicians hoping to be the next big thing. Rub tattooed elbows with future rock stars at these NYC bars. By Selena Ricks-Good.

Lit Lounge

Lit Lounge

93 Second Ave.
New York, NY
(212) 777-7987

This bi-level bar with a cave-like basement is a go-to for NYU students and scruffy music fans alike. Indie rock bands perform here followed by late-night DJs, and most nights the scene is sweaty and claustrophobic. Dark nooks offer space for intimate conversation about recent piercings and hair colors.

Credit: Manitoba's


99 Avenue B
New York, NY
(212) 982-2511

A punk dive owned and operated by Handsome Dick Manitoba, onetime leader of '70s band the Dictators, Manitoba's feels like a clubhouse for neighborhood rockers. Old school punk fills the jukebox, there's air hockey in the basement and the walls are lined with more than 100 black and white photos of rock greats such as Iggy Pop, David Bowie and Debbie Harry. A daily happy hour from 2 to 8 p.m. offers $3 pints and house drinks and $2 domestic bottles--prices any starving musician will love.

Credit: Pianos


158 Ludlow St.
New York, NY
(212) 505-3733

An old piano shop, this multi-level indie music venue is packed most nights with garage rockers and the scenesters who adore them. There's no cover to get in, but you will have to pay to see bands perform on one of the two stages. Hungry hipsters chow on bar food here such as burgers, salads and seafood, which gets surprisingly good reviews.

Arlene's Grocery Arlene's Grocery

Arlene's Grocery

95 Stanton St.
New York, NY
(212) 995-1652

Mingle with budding musicians here on Monday nights for rock 'n roll karaoke, or catch working bands on other nights at this two-story rock dive. The former bodega/butcher shop is credited with helping jumpstart the Lower East Side's thriving live music scene and for giving artists such as Jeff Buckley and The Strokes some of their first gigs. Shows are always $10 or less, and the front bar is always free.

Trash Bar
Credit: The Trash Bar

The Trash Bar

256 Grand St.
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 599-1000

With a name like Trash Bar, you know not to expect too much at this Williamsburg dive, but you will find a steady crowd of music fans looking to catch bands performing in the back room. Free tater tots keep the skinny jeans-wearing crowd from overindulging during the late-night happy hour drink specials.

For the latest on NYC's bar and nightlife scene, follow us on Twitter!

Selena Ricks-Good writes about drinks and produces events as The Dizzy Fizz.

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