You can still find gritty, down-to-earth dive bars in NYC. Who better to provide a guide to East Village bars that have great music playing than musician Jesse Malin. Jesse is from Queens and his first band, Heart Attack, auditioned at CBGBs when he was 12. He calls the East Village home.
Here are Jesse Malin's top bars in the New York's East Village:
- Don't miss Jesse's bar Niagara on 7th St and Avenue A. Just look for the Joe Strummer mural on the side. The spot was once the A7 punk rock club where Malin and friends started playing. Today, you can get a reasonably priced drink, listen to music, and have your picture taken in the photo booth.
- Located between Astor Place and the legendary music venue Webster Hall, Black & White is a dimly lit, low-key dive bar. On the weekends, you will find DJs spinning classic punk rock while during the weekdays, you can find a quiet spot to enjoy a drink or two.
- If you're looking for $4 drinks in a true neighborhood bar, Blue & Gold is for salt-of-the-earth New Yorkers who complain about the changing face of the city. Owned by Ukrainian immigrants since the 1970s, you'll find an eccentric mix of salty locals and college kids enjoying pool and 60s/70s classic rock on the jukebox.
- 2A is a corner bar on 2nd Street and Avenue A is one the last remaining dive bars that survived the 1980s when the East Village was a bit dangerous. While upscale eateries and cocktail bars have sprung up around it, 2A is still a place where you can grab a cheap drink and people watch.
- Anybody who's been in a New York rock band knows about the HiFi Bar. It's known for having the best jukebox in the city. Try a speciality or traditional cocktail and sit at the bar or move to a cozy table in the back.
Jesse had two records come out in the last year, New York Before the War and Outsiders. His band D Generation has a new album out. It's called Nothing is Anywhere and it's available on itunes. Check out Jesse's site for tour dates in a city near you.