Five Spots to Catch Live Music with the Locals in New York

From hip hop to doo wop, from disco to new wave, New York is the birthplace of countless genres that people rock out to around the world. The city attracts millions of visitors a year who come for its uptown opera houses and downtown music halls. Here’s where to catch live music with the locals in New York.

The Cutting Room

In the early aughts, The Cutting Room headliners included top performers like David Bowie, Kid Rock, and Sheryl Crow. After relaunching in a new location in 2009, the music venue continues to build on a decade of history, while offering new, up-and-coming artists a stage to be seen and establish themselves.

Carnegie Hall

This 19th-century landmark needs no introduction. Since 1891, Carnegie Hall has been one of the most prestigious music venues in New York — and in the world. It’s hard to follow the opening act (opening night was conducted by the great Russian composer Tchaikovsky himself). But legendary performers from Duke Ellington to Billie Holiday, Judy Garland to Nina Simone, and Led Zeppelin to The Beatles have taken the stage. These days, classical music is the mainstay — with a focus on chamber and orchestra performances.

Mercury Lounge

At the convergence of the East Village and the Lower East Side, Mercury Lounge has been the go-to venue for indie headliners since the early ’90s. Downtown Manhattan is known for producing some of the biggest stars we know and love today. And it’s not entirely out of of the question for an unknown headliner today to become a star tomorrow. The Strokes were discovered here in the year 2000. And they took off when Ryan Gentles, the manager of Mercury Lounge at the time, quit his job to be their manager.

Music Hall of Williamsburg

The Village Voice named it the Best New York Club in 2002. The following year, it starred as the setting for the 2003 film School of Rock. Nearly two decades later, the venue that brought countless, notable live music performances across the river to Brooklyn is still going strong. Head to the Music Hall of Williamsburg for live music almost every night of the week.

Baby’s All Right

The locals call it Baby’s — and it’s alright if you do, too. Part bar, part restaurant, part live music venue, Baby’s has everything you need for a fun night out in Brooklyn, plus a recovery brunch the next day. The DIY-style space was designed by the same people behind the exclusive venue The Box in Manhattan. If a quirky but less pretentious night out is your thing, Baby’s is the spot for you.

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