Wanna see where the cool kids hang out? Take the F train to Arlene’s Grocery, a Lower East Side club that books the best indie bands in New York City—and hosts an incredibly popular World Famous Rock N Roll Karaoke with a real live band every Monday night.
Bands like The Strokes and The Damnwells have been signed right off Arlene’s stage to major label record deals, and the Karaoke night draws downtown scenesters and celebs onstage to rock out ironically with the house band to everything from The Ramones to Led Zeppelin. There’s no cover that night, just make sure you arrive by 8:30 pm or so to get on the list for the performances, which start at 10 pm. While waiting for your three minutes of fame, have a drink at the Butcher Bar, a comfortable lounge adjacent to the main club where you can actually hear your date whisper in your ear.
This former bodega and neighboring butcher shop was transformed into Arlene’s Grocery in 1995, and has helped forge the thriving downtown indie music scene ever since. Loyal hipsters provide a solid fan base and with all shows costing $10 or less, it’s easy to understand why. The sound is great, the bands are usually interesting, and if they aren’t, you can always escape to the Butcher Bar, which is also a great spot for an afternoon cocktail.