17 New York City Live Music Bars For Visitors 2023

New York City is the largest city in the US and it has a lot of life. It's more than just buildings and attractions. One of the best ways to experience local life is through the art that lives here. These bars are some of our favorites in the city.

January 28, 2023

17 New York City Live Music Bars For Visitors In 2023

New York City is more than just buildings and attractions. There is a lot of life here and if you really want to get a feel of what visiting New York City and a New York City is known for Broadway and live theater but there are other fun live events to enjoy while visiting New York City. The music scene here is amazing and if you know where to go, you can catch some great bands. From big acts like Alcia Keys and Billy Joel to small upcoming artists like The Du-Rites and Impossible Odds.

If you’d like a personal recommendation to figure out which bar works best based on your trip plan, request a tailored plan. Our team of trip consultants builds custom plans for travelers based on the activities they love most. Tell us your must-see attractions, dietary restrictions, and the number of days you’re in New York City, and our team will build a hand-crafted plan that matches your profile. 

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Alright … on to the list …

1. Penny Jo's: The corner bar located at 3898 Broadway and 163rd Street, which opened in 2020, offers a modern twist on classic cocktails, as well as a selection of craft beer in cans or bottles. It has quickly become a neighborhood favorite by fostering a welcoming atmosphere with great music and positive energy.

2. The Village Vanguard: This legendary jazz club has been a staple in the city's music scene since 1935 and has hosted some of the biggest names in jazz, including John Coltrane and Miles Davis.

3. The Iridium: Located in Times Square, the Iridium Jazz Club is the perfect spot to hear a variety of jazz styles. The venue boasts a diverse line-up of jazz performers, from local talents to internationally renowned artists

4. The Blue Note: Blue Note has become one of the most well-known jazz clubs in the city. Expect to hear a mix of contemporary jazz artists who incorporate elements of hip-hop, soul, and funk, while enjoying the company of a younger and stylish crowd. The venue has a cozy and intimate atmosphere, though seating can be limited, so be sure to arrive early to secure a table or a seat at the bar. There's a full dinner menu, with a variety of options to choose from, including the delicious coconut shrimp. The prices are on the high side, but the food and the live music experience is worth it.

5. The Bitter End: Greenwich Village may not be the bohemian hub it once was, but The Bitter End is a must-visit destination for music lovers. When Greenwich Village was a bohemian hub you’d find Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder & Joni Mitchell hanging out here. Now it’s home to a diverse range of live music. And for the aspiring musicians, don't miss the acoustic open mic every Saturday afternoon, where you can showcase your talent to a live audience.

6. The Apollo Theater: Hip Hop is born is New York City and the best venue for any Hip Hop artist in NYC is the Apollo Theater. Its fame grew in the 80s when the Apollo Amateur Night was aired on TV. Today it hosts big name stars Jadakiss & Cam’Ron and Drake with close connections to the community. The Apollo has a full calendar of events including tours of the historic backstage seven days a week. 

7. The Mercury Lounge: The Mercury Lounge has been a mainstay of NYC nightlife and music for years, bringing in the biggest names from around the world with its amazing sound system and stage. From indie rock bands to rappers and everything in between, you can count on seeing a packed house when you come here.

8. The Brooklyn Bowl: Brooklyn Bowl is a unique and remarkable entertainment venue that combines bowling with live music, dining and drinking experiences. In this space, you can enjoy world-class performances from incredible musicians, feast on some of the most innovative food New York City has to offer, bowl alongside your favorite artist while they perform on stage or just come in for a drink at the bar.

9. The Bell House: This Brooklyn venue is known for its intimate performances and its wide range of musical styles, including rock, indie, and folk.

10. The Music Hall of Williamsburg: Known for its intimate and immersive performances, the Music Hall is the perfect spot for music lovers looking for a unique and up-close concert experience. The venue boasts a versatile line-up, featuring a wide range of musical styles, from indie and rock to hip-hop, electronic and more. The stage is small and intimate, and the crowd is always energetic and passionate, making it a great spot to see both established and emerging acts.

11. Birdland Jazz Club - Birdland is a renowned venue, known for hosting legendary musicians such as Charlie Parker and Count Basie, who made it their headquarters. Notable recordings made at the club include George Shearing's "Lullaby of Birdland" and John Coltrane's "Live at Birdland." The original location of the club was at 1678 Broadway in Manhattan, near West 52nd Street. However, due to rising rent prices, the club was closed in 1965. In the late 1980s, a second nightclub using the name Birdland was opened in Manhattan's Theater District, reviving the legendary name.

12. Django @ Roxy: This swanky jazz spot tucked away in the Roxy Hotel, will transport you back to the 1940s. You might not spot Humphrey Bogart or Ingrid Bergman, but you'll definitely feel their energy. The Django is the perfect blend of elegance and laid-back cool - it's fancy without being too pretentious. Plus, the live music will keep you moving your favorite body part all night long.

13. Bo-Peep: Bo Peep is the ultimate hidden gem for tourists in Midtown. Imagine stepping back in time as you head downstairs beneath The Ragtrader on 38th Street, and find yourself in a 1920s speakeasy paradise! Antique lamps and velvet furnishings will transport you to a bygone era, and the nightly piano performances in the corner will add to the charm. You'll find it's the perfect spot for both a fun night out and a relaxing evening. Plus, it's not as well-known as some of the other bars in the area, so you'll feel like a local in the know! And the cherry on top, you never know when one of the staff will take the mic and surprise you with a song, making it an unforgettable experience

14. Flatiron Room: Entering the Flatiron Room is like stepping back in time. The vintage Italian floral wallpaper, rolling library ladders, and a chandelier from the Smithsonian set the scene for a truly unique experience. Live jazz performances on a velvet-curtained stage add to the old-world charm. But what truly sets the Flatiron Room apart is their extensive collection of whiskey. With nearly 1,000 bottles to choose from, including rare and independent labels, there's something for every whiskey enthusiast. From Gordon & MacPhail, the Maltman to 27-year-old limited-run Glenmorangie Pride, priced at over $400 per dram, it's a whiskey lover's paradise. For an even more intimate experience, a private room upstairs offers tastings and classes. And if you find a bottle you can't live without, you can even purchase it and have it stored in your own private locker, with your name on it.

15. Dizzy’s Club At Lincoln Center: This intimate club offers breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline and Central Park while you savor delicious southern-inspired dishes like gumbo and blackened fish, paired with expertly crafted cocktails. The perfect spot for a post-dinner nightcap, Dizzy's also offers late-night sessions, and even drinks named after jazz legends like the Dizzy Gillespie.

16. Red Lion: The Red Lion is the go-to spot for live music in the city, featuring top-notch performances from artists like Gavin DeGraw, Milo Z, Dana Fuchs, and The Nerds, as well as national acts. Every night, music lovers flock to the venue to catch the hottest shows in town.

17. SOBs: The ultimate destination for fans of the Afro-Latino diaspora. Founded by Larry Gold in 1982, SOB's is a lively restaurant and concert venue where you can enjoy delicious food and dancing to the beat of world music. From samba to salsa, SOB's brings the sounds of Brazil and beyond to the heart of New York City. Don't miss your chance to be a part of the fun!

Plan Your New York City Trip
Plan Your New York City Trip

Our team of trip consultants builds tailored plans for travelers from around the world visiting NYC. We’ve built a wide range of plans for family trips, anniversaries, birthdays, and other special occasions, even for solo travelers treating themselves. Each plan is built with a 3-step process: 

Step 1: Bucket your must-see attractions 

Step 2: Add in restaurants, rooftops & other hidden gems 

Step 3: Create a custom map and provide transportation tips, so you know the best way to navigate the city. 

Click here to have our team tailor your New York trip itinerary today or check out a few of our sample plans here.