Best Bars with Live Music
By Alizah Salario
Want to sing your heart out, or dance the night away? Great local spots abound.
Sid Gold's Request Room
165 West 26th St.
Remember those old movies where everyone gathers around a piano and breaks into song? That's basically what Sid Gold's Request Room is like. Music brings strangers together around a baby grand piano (well, the booze helps, too). Sid's is known for its rousing piano karaoke and cabaret sets that run the gamut from Cole Porter to The Sex Pistols. Guests are encouraged to request songs, or take the mic and rally the crowd. Come prepared to sing along.
The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel
35 East 76th St.
Some bars make for a good night out. Others turn a good night into a grand occasion. Bemelmans fits into the latter category, with its Art Deco decor, leather banquettes and large-scale murals by Ludwig Bemelmans, the bar's namesake and creator of the classic “Madeline” children's books. The nightly live piano music provides a fitting soundtrack to Bemelmans Bar's classic sophistication; a host of luminaries, including Sutton Foster and Judy Collins, have tickled the ivories here. The cover charge (on weekends, $35 per person for a table, $15 for a spot at the bar) is steep, but the cost covers time travel: Bemelmans defines the romance of old New York.
The West End Lounge
955 West End Ave.
It's possible to travel across Manhattan without leaving the West End Lounge. There's a touch of Broadway on cabaret night, a DJ channels downtown vibes on karaoke Wednesdays, and gospel singer Nedra Belle takes the audience to church Uptown every week. With reasonable drink specials and a laid-back lounge feel, plus classic hits from the R.U.M. House Band, why leave the neighborhood? Yes, there's a bit of kitsch and camp here, but that's part of the fun.