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Wild Yaks performs at Cake Shop for CMJ Music Marathon
Photograph: Marielle Solan Wild Yaks performs at Cake Shop for CMJ Music Marathon

Best cheap rock venues


Ah, cheap rock clubs. There are nights when you want to get dressed up, shell out some green and take in a fancy show at a big, name-brand venue. Then there are nights when you just want to chug cheap beer and blow your eardrums out in the music-venue equivalent of a great dive bar. When planning the latter, this list ought to come in handy. Who knows? You might even catch the next Strokes.

Baby's All Right

Music Williamsburg

This eatery, bar and stage, located on a happening little Williamsburg strip, is well on its way to becoming a local musical institution with its lively schedule of au courant musical acts and DJs that range from experimental (Pharmakon) to the voguish (Ariel Pink). And the food's pretty good too.

Mercury Lounge

Music Lower East Side

This Lower East Side hot spot features a big bar and a small back-room stage. Expect to be squished if it’s a popular show—but hey, you’ll still have a great view.

Yeah Yeah Yeah's at Union Pool 12/8/12
Photograph: Virginia Rollison

Union Pool

Bars Lounges Williamsburg

Enjoy indie-rock up-and-comers, excellent DJs and a sweet (working) photo booth at this Williamsburg staple. Beware the hipster crush on weekends, though.

Miniboone performs at Cake Shop for CMJ Music Marathon
Photograph: Marielle Solan

Cake Shop

Restaurants Coffee shops Lower East Side

Upstairs, lip-smackin’ coffee and cake. Downstairs, a small but perfectly formed music venue with noisy rock bills and Christmas lights.



Music Williamsburg

Cameo Gallery is a performance space situated behind Williamsburg's Lovin' Cup Cafe, typically hosting bills of up-and-coming indie-rockers, booked by local-scene enthusiasts. Though the sound isn't exactly the greatest (the venue's sound engineer has been known to scamper onstage during performances to quickly squash problems), Cameo's a decent place to catch a show and observe that slice of life on the hipster fringe. In between sets, you can take advantage of the café's full bar and menu.

Pelican performs at Saint Vitus for CMJ Music Marathon
Photograph: Marielle Solan

Saint Vitus

Music Music venues Greenpoint

It's simple: Saint Vitus is heaven for headbangers. Catch world-class acts from all over the metal spectrum: black, death, doom, thrash—you name it. Good sound and cheap beer sweeten the deal.


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