Chances are, if you've looked into the city's music scene, you've heard of places like Bowery Ballroom and Terminal 5 where all the big-name artists go. If you favor more intimate and underground (sometimes literally) venues, or your favorite artist only shows up on the second page of Google results, then these are the places to check out.
1040 Metropolitan Ave.
This East Williamsburg box is the closest thing to 285 Kent 2.0: tight, sweaty, and deliciously DIY. Sometimes home to Venus X’s rising club night Ghe20 G0th1k, 1040 Metropolitan won’t provide you coat check (and let’s not even talk about the bathroom), but if your tastes lean toward eclectic electronic, you’ll enjoy.
122 Waterbury St.
Just down the road from 1040 Metropolitan Ave., 122 Waterbury St. is the punky yang to its neighbor’s dark electro yin. It’s an independent DIY space with an art-rock aesthetic—the last time I went, one room was decked out with analog TV sets blasting fuzz. It seems like we’ll be hearing more from this word-of-mouth wonder—rising Brooklyn band The Britanys hosted a party there over spring break.
Only a short walk from the venerable Bowery Ballroom, 88 Palace is a venue that keeps more with the current character of the neighborhood. Located in the basement of a Chinese restaurant, it consistently presents the cream of mainstream electronica, with current dance floor luminaries like Ryan Hemsworth and Cyril Hahn manning the decks during past shows. Next up is the The Gaslamp Killer on April 26—definitely worth a visit.
The Silent Barn
For first-years without IDs and a desire for experimental music, welcome to the Silent Barn. This all-ages art space in Bushwick hosts music, art, and community projects on a refreshingly intimate scale. A show at the Barn is like hosting a band in your basement, only you won’t be the one cleaning up after.
Santos Party House
If an artist makes it big in the city, they probably started out at Santos Party House. The Chinatown-based club featured rising stars like Icona Pop and Le1f long before their mainstream success, and consistently debuts excellent international musicians—check out UK bass queen Jessy Lanza on May 4. The House also puts on a variety of eclectic club nights. Rebel Fridays, whose next installment of which will be hosted by dance hall superstar Mavado, is a must.