NYC’s Best Blues Bars: B.B. King’s, Village Vanguard, Terra Blues, More

December 20, 2016 8:20 AM

(Credit: The Iridium)

(Credit: The Iridium)

There is no reason for New Yorkers to feel blue when they are looking for a entertaining night of music and drinks. Whether people are strolling through the streets of Chelsea or Brooklyn, here are some of the best blues bars in the city. By John Friia/Matt Thomas

(Credit: Sid Golds)

(Credit: Sid Golds)

Sid Gold’s Request Room

165 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001
212-229-1948
www.sidgolds.com

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Nestled off of Seventh Avenue is a classic piano bar with a contemporary twist. Sid Gold’s Request Room is divided into two rooms. In the front, patrons can drink signature cocktails while looking at various music memorabilia. For a more authentic experience, music lovers can head to the back of the bar and stand next to the baby grand piano. With a full calendar of performances, Sid Gold’s Request Room brings blues, soul, rock and pop to Chelsea.

(Credit: Dizzys Club)

(Credit: Dizzys Club)

Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola

10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019
212-258-9595
www.jazz.org/dizzy

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With breathtaking views of Columbus Circle and Central Park, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola is a cozy jazz and blues club that has become known for their Southern cuisine and renowned performances. The restaurant is located in Jazz at Lincoln Center and offers a seasonal menu that complements their daily performances. There are three shows daily, which start at 7:30 p.m. and run through 11:15 p.m. People can enjoy the sounds of big bands and soulful singers while indulging on one of their mouthwatering dishes.

(Credit: Village Vanguard)

(Credit: Village Vanguard)

Village Vanguard

178 Seventh Avenue South
New York, NY 10014
212-255-4037
www.villagevanguard.com

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One of the oldest music clubs in Manhattan, Village Vanguard is staple in Greenwich Village since the 1930s. The underground music lounge has hosted folk artists, poets and comedians, but has become known for their lively blues and jazz performances. Some of the most predominant names in the music industry have recorded albums at Village Vanguard, including Barbara Streisand, Ron Carter and Chris Connor.

(Credit: Barbes)

(Credit: Barbes)

Barbes

376 Ninth Street
Brooklyn, NY
347-422-0248
www.barbesbrooklyn.com

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The blues scene has entered Brooklyn at Barbès. This South Slope music bar is named after a Parisian neighborhood that is known for record stores that helped launch the Rai music scene in the 1980s. People can grab their drink and head to the quaint back room to listen to a variety of musical performances and film screenings throughout the week.

(Credit: The Iridium)

(Credit: The Iridium)

Iridium

1650 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
212-582-2121
www.theiridium.com

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Music lovers can spend the evening at the same place Les Paul called home for over 14 years. Iridium is located in the heart of Times Square and still attracts Grammy-nominated artists and blues singers, including Macy Gray and George Ezra. While many people come to hear the melodies of well-known artists, the musical landmark offers daily performances for emerging singers and songwriters. Whether people are sitting beside the stage or in the back, the expansive lounge creates a music filled night for all patrons.

100092100 NYCs Best Blues Bars: B.B. Kings, Village Vanguard, Terra Blues, More

Photo Credit: Thinkstock.com

Terra Blues

149 Bleeker St.
New York, NY 10012
(212) 777-7776
www.terrablues.com

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Terra Blues perfectly balances the best blues acts in the city with excellent service that keeps the drinks coming without interruption. If you’re looking to talk with friends, opt for the seats at the side of the stage. The early show at 7 p.m. is usually less crowded, and getting a table at that time shouldn’t be a problem. If attending the late show, however, be sure to arrive at least an hour early to ensure a good spot. Drinks here can be a bit pricey, but the bluesy tunes make it all worth it.

nightlife music blues bars blue note NYCs Best Blues Bars: B.B. Kings, Village Vanguard, Terra Blues, More

Photo Credit: The Blue Note via Facebook

Blue Note

131 W 3rd St.
New York, NY 10012
(212) 475-8592
www.bluenote.net

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The Blue Note is one of NYC’s most famous and historic blues clubs, known for mixing both established acts with young up-and-comers. While you’ll find yourself standing in a long line as the earlier shows wrap-up — often right beside the next act as it sits on their instrument cases — the Blue Note offers great music and nothing more. This is the perfect place for devoted jazz and blues enthusiasts who want to skip the distractions and head straight to the tunes.

nightlife music blues bars smalls NYCs Best Blues Bars: B.B. Kings, Village Vanguard, Terra Blues, More

Photo Credit: smallsjazzclub.com

Smalls

183 W 10th St.
New York, NY 10014
(212) 252-5091
www.smallsjazzclub.com

A true throwback to the jazz age, you’ll be introduced to odd characters in a uniquely intimate venue. The club’s name isn’t ironic, as the space fills up quickly, but it adds to the mystique and flavor that is Smalls. A must-see destination for blues adventurers, soulfully mesh with some of the most innovative artists on the blues circuit. Smalls adds an exciting, and somewhat experimental, twist to Saturday night blues.

nightlife music blues bars the 55 bar NYCs Best Blues Bars: B.B. Kings, Village Vanguard, Terra Blues, More

Photo Credit: 55bar.com

The 55 Bar

55 Christopher St.
New York, NY 10001
(212) 929-9883
www.55bar.com

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This self-proclaimed dive bar lives up to its reputation by providing music-goers with front-row seats to some of the most promising young and local talent in New York City in an intentionally rundown backdrop. The 55 Bar promises an intoxicating start or soothing finish to any night filled with blues and booze.

nightlife music blues bars bb king blues NYCs Best Blues Bars: B.B. Kings, Village Vanguard, Terra Blues, More

Photo Credit: B.B. King Blues Club and Grill via Facebook

B.B. King Blues Club and Grill

237 W 42nd St.
New York, NY 10019
(212) 997-4144
www.bbkingblues.com

Known throughout the country as one of the best blues and jazz venues, B.B. King’s legendary club does not disappoint. The artists who stop off here are, quite simply, the best at what they do. Once inside, you’ll be ushered to an aesthetically-pleasing table to sip mouth-watering cocktails and delve into an eclectic selection of decadent dinners. While it’s unquestionably one of the most expensive of this batch, paralleling the ticket prices of some of the city’s larger venues, the experience is remarkably one of a kind. It’s the perfect spot for those new to the city or natives looking to up the bluesy ante in their lives.

Matt Thomas is a freelance writer who has published articles and stories in The Village Voice, Examiner.com, The Worcester Review, The Journal of American Culture, and many others. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

John Friia is a freelance journalist and native New Yorker writing about food, drinks and lifestyle. You can follow his adventures on Instagram.

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