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B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, best blues music
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Salon NYC Harlem Gospel Choir at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill

The best blues music venues in NYC

We round up the best blues music venues in NYC including downtown standbys and outer-borough favorites

By Andrew Frisicano
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New York City’s musical offerings can seem limitless at times. Not only does the city boast the world's best jazz clubs, plenty of spots to see live hip-hop music and tons of venues with nightly indie-rock bands, there’s also a surplus of concert halls that book top-notch blues music regularly. Here are the best blues music venues New York City has to offer.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best live music venues in NYC

Best blues music venues

1. 55 Bar

Bars Lounges West Village

Many ghosts haunt the sodden crossroads known as Sheridan Square: poets, painters, firebrands. But only at 55 Bar can you imbibe alongside living legends, top boppers and bluesme, as they swing in the narrow basement boîte nightly. All shows have a two-drink minimum, but never fear: The bartenders know how to mix. If you want to talk, sit in back so the head-bobbing jazzbos don’t shush you.

2. B.B. King Blues Club & Grill

Music Midtown West

B.B.’s joint plays host to one of the widest varieties of music in town: Cover bands and soul tributes fill the gaps between big-name bookings. But the venue hasn't lost its connection to the genre that made King himself a household name. You'll still find lightning-fingered blues axmen fending off the Times Square bustle outside.

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terra blues club
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Steven Severinghaus

3. Terra Blues

Music Music venues Greenwich Village

The Blues series on PBS may have helped fill the seats, but the classic eight-bar has been the star of this unadorned, laid-back place all along. Both local musicians and marquee names play; bigger names draw a bigger cover charge, which is never too stiff. For stiff, there’s an extensive bourbon and Scotch collection.

Miss Tess and the Talkbacks at the Jalopy Theatre
Photograph: Isak Tiner

4. Jalopy Theatre

Music Carroll Gardens

If you’re looking for an authentic, atmospheric folk-and-country joint, this Red Hook honky-tonk is the real deal. Besides functioning as a gallery space, instrument store and café, the Jalopy has a super-cute, retro-style minitheater in the back.

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5. Barbès

Music Park Slope

This cozy French bar in Park Slope hosts one of the city's liveliest, most diverse music scenes in its cramped but friendly back room. Separated from the well-stocked front bar by a humble curtain, you might encounter indie rock, progressive jazz, classical chamber music, West African funk, French musette…you name it.

6. Hill Country

Music Music venues Flatiron

The guys behind Hill Country—which exists primarily as a bar and restaurant—host a variety of Amercana-based genres in the surprisingly spacious downstairs showroom. Entertainment includes blues, country-and-western, live-band karaoke and sundry other musical delights to go with your meat.

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