CLOS Wine Bar owner and certified sommelier Mine Ayberk personally chooses every option on the bar's wine list, focusing especially on Old World, single-vineyard wines. As it turns out, Ms. Ayberk's selection has more wines than her bar has seats. With enough space for just under 20 guests, CLOS carries an intimate aura, surrounding visitors with warm tones, handcrafted finishings, and works from local artists. Clambering across the hardwood floors, the CLOS staff doles out specially prepared gourmet plates designed to enhance the wine-drinking experience. But much like its owner, the bar's staff members aren't just shadows in the background: each is a certified sommelier, and each speaks multiple languages. This means guests can enjoy some European pizzazz without having to join a pen-pal program for adults.
Founded in 1986 as a place for writers and performers to create and develop new work before a live audience, Dixon Place in the Lower East Side steadfastly holds on to its underground spirit, and remains one of New York’s foremost places to watch the creative process in action. Today, the intimate 120-seat theater hosts a diverse program of plays, musicals, dance performances and literary readings by emerging and established artists like Kate Soper, Toni Schlesinger and Marcia Monroe. Dixon Place also hosts similarly experimental art exhibitions in its gallery, alongside film screenings and talks, while musical performances and cabaret take place in the lounge.
Rockwood Music Hall on Allen Street in New York’s Lower East Side is serious about live music. Consistently hosting a lineup of upcoming and aspiring talent, as well as established soloists and bands from virtually every genre of music, Rockwood Music Hall has become a legendary venue for urbanites looking to support their favorite band or discover the latest new sound. The no frills, no hype space is actually subdivided into three stages, each sporting old worn wood floors, an unadorned stage with spotlighting, a small bar and an open floor lets the audiences get up close and personal with the band. With a friendly, if straightforward vibe, Rockwood Music Hall is the perfect neighborhood spot to stay up to date on what’s hip, all while kicking back, enjoying a drink and listening to great music.
Founded in 1961 by Ellen Stewart, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club has been a home for artists of all kinds, especially those whose work is not considered to be mainstream or conventional. Sam Shephard, Phillip Glass, Amy Sedaris, Harvey Fierstein and more have all been a part of this historic East Village performance space, which encourages all kinds of art – think everything from puppetry to poetry reading, dance concerts to beatbox championships – and offers several in-house programs, as well as special events all year round. Visitors can experience any number of alternative artistic happenings within the theater’s casual black box atmosphere, with down-played surroundings and non-fussy seating that help guests focus on the performances at hand.
Like a monarch of old, Dave Delzio fills his court with music, drink, and good food. Only instead of the sweet sounds of the dulcimer, his hall resonates with the powerful hum of the electric guitar or beats spun by skilled DJs. This music industry veteran outfitted his venue specifically to cater to local and national acts, with a 24-foot modular stage, McCauley and Turbosound speakers, full-spectrum stage-lighting, and a whole array of materials on hand to help them put on a great show. Judging by Tammany Hall's packed calendar, it's a pretty enticing offer.
Of course, Delzio runs his bar for music lovers as well. From the comfort of banquet-style seating, guests sip craft cocktails or head to the bar for microbrews stored in a refurbished antique icebox dating back to 1907, the same year ice was first invented. And, to ensure empty stomachs don't ruin the revelry, Tammany Hall's kitchen also churns out a menu of American comfort foods such as sliders and quesadillas.
This tiny comedy club in the East Village has seen some huge acts over the years, from national names like Louis C.K., Daymon Wayans and Sarah Silverman to longtime New York locals like Janeane Garofalo, who is a regular performer at the Eastville Comedy Club. Ticket prices are kept low, at $10 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, and $20 on Fridays and Saturdays, making it an affordable form of entertainment whenever you feel like a laugh. Enjoy a few drinks while watching stand-up comedy within Eastville’s intimate, retro-designed interior, with its turquoise walls, and cheeky subway tiled stage. For big-time comedians looking to work out new material to a smaller audience, or smaller acts still honing their craft, this is a great, easily accessible comedy room.