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Free music venues

Enjoy jazz, soul, rock and more—without paying a cover charge.

American Folk Art Museum

Critics' pick

Close out your workweek at the American Folk Art Museum, where the Free Music Fridays series features performances from Americana, folk, indie-pop and other acts.

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Upper West Side Free

Austrian Cultural Forum

Critics' pick

Hear contemporary and classical chamber music from Vienna and other Austrian musical hubs without spending a penny, as all of the recitals and concerts here are free.

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Midtown East

BAMcafé

On most Fridays and Saturdays, kick back at a table with a cocktail and take in sets of envelope-pushing jazz, world music and other buzzed-about fare at BAMcafe Live. During happy hour (5:30–8pm select Fridays), save some dough with $3 beers.

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Fort Greene Free

Brooklyn Bowl

Critics' pick

Swing by the Bowl to catch its ongoing Local X Local soiree, held eight times a year featuring performances by NYC bands like Javelin (Apr 11 at 8pm) Crystal Stilts and Bear Hands. There's a $5 cover at the door, but R.S.V.P. at lxl.brooklynbowl.com for free admission

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Williamsburg

David Rubenstein Atrium (at Lincoln Center)

Check out the Target Free Thursdays performance series at Lincoln Center, which often features top-tier musicians from all genres in the mix of theater, spoken word and dance programming. Mark your planner for the Unsound Music Festival takeover (Apr 19 at 8:30pm) with LXMP and Peaking Lights.

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Upper West Side

Goodbye Blue Monday

Other than the occasional Saturday nights after 11pm (when shows cost a measly $5), performances at this knickknack-laden Bushwick bar are always free (although musicians pass a hat around for donations). Stop by for antifolk, experimental jazz, noise punk, electronic and classical music, and the entertaining Bushwick Book Club series, where bands perform songs inspired by that month's reading assignment.

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Flatiron

Hank’s Saloon

On weekends (Thursdays through Saturdays), catch country, rock and indie acts at this honky-tonk dive.

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Boerum Hill

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Escape the city's hustle and bustle for a bit at this quiet Upper East Side church. On Wednesdays, you can enjoy 45-minute lunch-hour sets of mostly pre-19th-century classical music as part of the Midtown Concerts series (midtownconcerts.org).

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Upper East Side Free

Lakeside Lounge

Because this comfortable joint is co-owned by guitarist and producer Eric Ambel, the roadhouse and roots acts that play here tend to be fun. Local country-tinged talents often appear, and bigger names such as Amy Rigby stop by occasionally as well. The bar, the jukebox and the photo booth are all attractions in their own right—and there’s never a cover charge.

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East Village

Otto’s Shrunken Head

Critics' pick

The bands hosted by this tiki bar play rockabilly, surf rock and other party music on a small backroom stage. Down umbrella drinks like Pang's Punch ($10), a glow-in-the-dark rum concoction, and dance along.

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East Village
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Comments

2 comments
Diamond
Diamond

None of these musical venues are really open and welcome to African American clientelle. U should find places that support ALL musical genres or at least a WIDER variety.