Tango House (Photo: Courtesy of Tango House)

Hot Entertainment and Cold Drinks in NYC

Forget dinner and a movie -- New York City is full of awesome venues with white-hot entertainment that pour expertly crafted cocktails or just-right glasses of wine to make for an exciting night on the town

The New York tradition of small stages, frosty drinks and hot entertainers is alive and well, as nightly across the city, jazz musicians take the stage, indie bands strike a chord and tango dancers strap on their dancing shoes. As a bonus, at the following six venues, the drinks — shaken or stirred — are of the same superior quality as the entertainment, and most serve food too. Arrive early to sip and nibble before the curtain goes up. Remember to order an extra drink before the show; you’ll need something to cool you down when those sizzling performers take the stage.

 

Tango House (Photo: Courtesy of the Tango House)

Tango House
Descend a flight of stairs from Lafayette Street down into Tango House, a bar and theater below Argentine restaurant, Malbec. That’s where you’ll find 75 minutes of sexy tango that takes over the stage from 8 to 9:30pm (tickets from $50), Tuesday through Saturday. Both the dancers and live musicians are straight from Argentina, bringing the atmosphere and heat of Buenos Aires to this small lower Manhattan stage. As for the exposed brick basement space itself, it’s filled with tables and chairs almost to the edge of the stage. Expect to feel the heat of the stage lights as you tuck into bar snacks like beef empanadas or lomito (skirt steak) sandwiches. (There’s a pre-theater menu available at the upstairs restaurant as well). As for drinks, Malbec wine is a specialty, but there’s a long list of cocktails as well. 428 Lafayette St., 212-419-4645, tangohouse.net

 

Ginny's Supper Club

Ginny’s Supper Club (Photo: Courtesy of Ginny’s Supper Club)

Ginny’s Supper Club
Continuing the tradition of hot performances underground is Ginny’s Supper Club, located beneath Marcus Samuelsson’s popular Harlem restaurant, the Red Rooster. The space and its shows will bring you back in time to the glamorous speakeasies of the 1920s, a la Harlem Renaissance. The dimly lit space with banquettes and generous tables is ideal for spending a whole evening. If you’ve eaten at the Red Rooster you will be familiar with the addictive food — cornbread, mac and greens, blackened catfish, jerk chicken — and the drinks are just as satisfying. Choose among cocktails such as a Harlem Mule (scotch, ginger, basil, bitters) or the Fine and Mellow (rye, yellow chartreuse, lemon, bitters). Ginny’s is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, along with Sunday brunch (tickets from $10; price varies for different performers). Check the online schedule for performance details. 310 Lenox Ave., 212-421-3821, ginnyssupperclub.com

 

Jazz at Kitano

Kitano (Photo: Courtesy of Kitano)

Jazz at Kitano
One of the city’s best-known small venues for jazz is located in an unlikely place — a Japanese-owned hotel on Park Avenue. This intimate jazz lounge hosts a range of performers from Monday through Saturday evenings and for Sunday brunch. Drink choices match the musical range and encompass Champagne, sake, classic cocktails and more creative creations such as the Poet’s Dream, a mix of gin, dry vermouth, Benedictine and orange bitters. When hunger strikes, there’s food from small plates such as duck spring rolls and sushi/sashimi platters to large plates such as ginger-soy grilled salmon. As for the schedule, Monday is an open session from 8 to 11:30pm with no cover and no drink minimum. On Tuesday, the piano solo series runs from 8 to 11pm with a $15 food/drink minimum. On Wednesday and Thursday, live jazz takes the stage for two shows, at both 8 and 10pm, with a $10 cover and $15 minimum. Friday and Saturday it’s a $25 cover and $15 minimum for the two jazz shows, at 8 and 10pm. Reservations are suggested and the website has all the details on upcoming performers. 66 Park Ave., 212-885-7000, kitano.com

 

Cutting Room

Cutting Room (Photo: Courtesy of the Cutting Room)

Cutting Room
For 10 years the Cutting Room was a staple for live music in NYC, but the Flatiron venue closed its doors in 2009 due to a rent increase. In 2013, however, it opened in a new location, also in the Flatiron, relaunching one of New York’s most exciting performance spaces. This club, co-owned by Chris Noth of Sex and the City fame, books well-known bands, singer-songwriters, and a few unexpected faces too—The Bacon Brothers recently performed. It’s a venue that brings back the pleasure of live music with live instruments (tickets from $10, best deals in advance online) in a relaxed setting. In that vein, there’s plenty of eating and drinking to be had. You could nibble on zucchini tacos, spicy lamb sliders, and mini bacon grilled cheese all night, but there’s also a complete dinner menu including thin-crust pizzas, steak frites and lobster roll two ways (that’s butter poached and New England style). The floor in front of the stage is packed with tables and chairs, giving the Cutting Room that intimate feeling music fans crave. 44 E. 32nd St., 212-691-9100, cuttingroomnyc.com

 

B Flat

B Flat (Photo: Katy Yen)

B Flat
It’s easy to walk right past B Flat, a hidden downstairs drinking den in TriBeCa on Church Street. Look for the sign that says Bb and descend the stairs to find this Tokyo-inspired bar with wood booths, comfortable bar stools and one impressively stocked bar. For live jazz performances, stop by this sultry space on Monday and Wednesday from 8 to 11pm in (no tickets or advance booking required). Cocktails are a serious matter no matter the night, with experienced bartenders wielding strainers, precision measuring tools, and a variety of ice to match every kind of drink. Some are Japanese-inflected while others are simply seasonal and delicious. You can’t go wrong here, but the Autumn Leaves, made with dark rum, cinnamon syrup, lime and pineapple juices, and the Sophisticated Lady with plum wine, Campari and grapefruit juice are both delicious. There’s also a food menu to soak up the drinks, and its items range from mac and cheese to a teriyaki beef burger. 277 Church St., 212-219-2970, bflat.info

 

Joe's Pub

Joe’s Pub (Photo: Kevin Yatarola)

Joe’s Pub
The year 2013 marks the 15th anniversary season of Joe’s Pub, a celebrated NYC venue with live music performances nightly. Since 1998, all manner of cabaret, dance, indie, jazz, rock, pop and singer-songwriter performances have graced this space on Lafayette Street — its eclectic lineup was for many years led by “music obsessive” booking agent Bill Bragin and is now helmed by his former assistant Shanta Thake. The drinks are as icy as the entertainment is hot — try the Col. Joe Rickey with bourbon, lime juice and club soda, or the spicy tequila sour with chili-infused tequila, agave syrup and lime. You’ll need to make a reservation for a table and leave room for dinner, late night bites or cocktails ($12 food minimum or two-drink minimum per person). Smaller bites run from marinated olives to popcorn and shrimp tacos, while those with bigger appetites can tuck into Joe’s Burger with caramelized onions, glazed pork ribs with sesame and scallion, or perhaps a flat iron steak with crushed potatoes. Don’t skip dessert: The vanilla and chocolate soft serve is a hit. Check the online calendar for performance schedules; there are often two (or even three) shows per night (tickets from $20). 425 Lafayette St., 212-539-8778, joespub.com