Though legendary clubs like the Mudd Club and Area are long gone, Tribeca is home to Santos Party House, one of the best nightspots to open in recent years. But you’ll also find late-night action in local music venues and one of the city’s best new comedy clubs.
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The address has seen so many incarnations (Reggae Lounge and Shine among them) that it’s hard to trust that anything will last. Now reborn as a music-industry showcase (talent ranges from the Roots to Lil’ Kim), the room has the size, sound system and slick interior to pull it off. If you’re not on the list, stop by late to see what’s hoppin’. The speakers’ll blow the hair right offa your head.
The downtown wing of the 92nd Street Y, 92YTribeca is ostensibly a cultural center for hip young Jews. Yet the club—which houses a performance space, screening room, art gallery and café—is by no means restricted to Jewish events or artists. In fact, it has quickly become one of the most daring venues in Manhattan. The club’s breadth is impressive, featuring obscure indie-rock, world music, country and mixed media shows.
Launched by a team that includes rocker Andrew W.K., Santos Party House was three years in the making, though you’d never guess it from the decor—both floors are basically black, square rooms done out in a bare-bones, generic club style. The place is committed to resuscitating the downtown area's underground scene, with top spinners of off-kilter house, cosmic disco, funk and soul regularly taking to the decks, including A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip and Rich Medina. The multigenre party Mister Saturday Night has featured everyone from hip-hop production god DJ Premier (from Gang Starr) to house hero Kerry Chandler.
The atmosphere in this spot—not to be confused with the space’s previous occupant, the Tribeca Comedy Club—is a congenial one. Its brick walls and makeshift stage remind you that you’re in a basement, but the doting waitstaff, haute Italian menu from Brick NYC upstairs and roomy layout will please fans of creature comforts, or those too claustrophobic for the likes of the Comedy Cellar. Adam Strauss, the owner-booker and a burgeoning comic himself, makes sure that his programming is packed with next-wave talent (young, funny stars such as Sara Schaefer, Dan St. Germain and Kevin Barnett) while also saving stage time for himself.