How To Rock In New York

If you love to headbang after a hard day’s work, the Big Apple has some of the world’s best rock clubs.

New York has been the birthplace of different genres of music, and rock is one of them. The earliest punk rock scene in the United States was documented in the Big Apple. In the 80s, the city became one of the biggest contributors to heavy metal and was also one of the leading centers of the indie rock movement. EXEC lists some of the more popular rock clubs of the city.

The Bitter End

147 Bleecker Street (between Thompson and LaGuardia)

Located at New York City’s Greenwich Village, The Bitter End is know n as the oldest rock club in NYC. The famous brick-walled rock venue opened its doors in 1961 under owner Fred Weintraub’s supervision. In the 70s the club was renamed as The Other End but the owners went back to the more popular name Bitter End. The club is a must-visit for anyone who loves music and it’s history. It is not for nothing, The City of New York bestowed landmark status to the nightclub in 1992.

In its heyday the club hosted a wide range of talented and legendary musicians, comedians, and theatrical performers. During the 1960’s, Bitter End showcased folk music performances, “hootenannies”, every Tuesday night. The performers have since become legendary.

In 1968 Paul Colby, who began his career as a song plugger and went on to work for Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, and Guy Lombardo, became the manager and booking agent at The Bitter End, and in 1974 he bought it.

Many musical legends, spanning generations, have performed in front of the brick wall. The club is known as the birthplace of Bob Dylan and featured names such as Joni Mitchell, Roger McGuinn, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Joan Baez, T-Bone Burnett, Ronee Blakely, Mick Ronson, and many other guest stars. Major albums by stars as Peter, Paul and Mary, Randy Newman, Curtis Mayfield, Arlo Guthrie, Tom Paxton, Pete Seeger, The Isley Brothers and the Serendipity Singers have been recorded live at the Bitter End.

Bowery Ballroom

6 Delancey Street

The Bowery Ballroom has stood the test of time and has seen the city and its people go through many changes over the years. It was built just before the stock market crash of 1929 and stood vacant until the end of WWII, when it became a high-end retail store. But the neighbourhood subsequently went into decline and did not generate enough business for the then retail store. Music gave life to the venue and it was converted into a venue for performances in 1997 and now has the capacity to seat 550 people.

Terminal 5

610 West, 56th Street

Earlier known as Club Exit, Terminal 5 located in Hell’s Kitchen is operated by The Bowery Presents, part of the Bowery Ballroom. The venue is popular for some of the biggest rock acts in the city.

Located at 610 West 56 th Street, west of 11 th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen, a neighbourhood of Manhattan, Terminal 5 is one of most the well known venues in New York City with a capacity for 3000 people. Bowery presents, a group branching out of the Bowery Ballroom operate this latest addition to the rock venues in New York. Until its closure by the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2003 the venue was the nightclub called Club Exit where a single night had about fourteen thousand attendees. The stage often sports a LCD Sound System in this 40,000 square foot space with different level balconies and bars. Alcoholic beverages and empanadas are available during the events. The pricing of tickets is reasonable and bands like Snow Patrol, Knife Party, The Kooks, Skrillex are geared up to perform here this year.

HighLine Ballroom

431 W 16th Street

Built in the 1930s, to remove dangerous trains from Manhattan’s streets, this 1.45 mile long elevated rail structure runs through the West Side neighbourhoods of the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea and Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen. No trains have run on it since 1980. FHL a community based non-profit group formed in 1999 had worked with the city to transform the structure into a park. CSX Transportation donated the HighLine south of 30th street to the City in 2005. The Highline Ballroom is a venue for various music concerts and private parties.


125 5th Avenue

Created out of a 99-cent Discount Store in Park Slope, Brooklyn, this 5,000 square foot venue opened its doors to the public in June 2002 and is now one of the most frequented places for music lovers. It hosts international artists and DJs from all genres and is a premiere venue for concerts and events.

Southpaw has seen acts by Deer Tick, Sharon Jones + The Dap Kings, Cat Power, TV On The Radio, Roky Erikson, Bill Callahan, Dave Chappelle, The Felice Brothers, Negative Approach, KRS-One, Built To Spill, Gillian Welch, Big Daddy Kane, Steve Earle, The Fall, Vic Chesnutt, Luna, Devendra Banhart, The Black Angels, Antibalas, Joan Jett, Patton Oswald, ESG, Rocket from The Tombs, Frank Black, The Mummies, High on Fire, Sufjan Stevens, Marva Whitney, The Dirtbombs, Brazillian Girls, Slick Rick and features a second bar called DownSouth which is available for private parties.

Mercury Lounge

217 East Houston Street, Manhattan,

In the Lower East Side section of New York City stands the Mercury Lounge at 217 East Houston Street. Like it’s sister venue, Bowery Ballroom, Mercury lounge has had an interesting past. Servants were housed to the Astor mansion connected to it by an underground maze of tunnels. In the earlier part of the 20th century, it was known as Garfrein’s Restaurant and later was a storefront housing a seller of tombstones. It was converted to a music venue in 1993 and can now seat 250 people.

Frequented by many young professionals Mercury Lounge, like Bowery Ballroom is known for its production values in terms of audio-visual presentations. The venue books a variety of acts across genres like folk-rock and alternative and has played host to performers like Lou Reed, Joan Jett and Tony Bennett.

Founded in 1973, CBGB (Country, Blue Grass, and Blues) was originally intended to feature its namesake musical styles, but became a forum for American punk and punk-influenced bands like Ramones, Misfits, Television, the Patti Smith Group, Mink Deville, The Dead Boys, The Dictators, The Fleshtones, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, Blondie, and Talking Heads. Later it was known for Hardcore punk with bands such as Agnostic Front, Murphy’s Law, Cro-Mags, Warzone, Gorilla Biscuits, Sick of It All and Youth of Today becoming synonymous with the club.

Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Plaza

Opened as the Irving Hall in 1860 as a place for lectures, balls and concerts the structure built in 1888 has spent a century in its metamorphosis from being a German Theatre to a Yiddish theatre, French and Soviet film house, to Polish Army Vet community center. Since 1978 after it was converted to a rock music venue, which has hosted acts from Talking Heads to U2, Eric Clapton, Dave Matthew’s Band and Red Hot Chilli Peppers, becoming one of the major music venue in New York and a platform for many aspiring musicians.

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