So a few posts ago, I introduced you to my friend Beth. Well, she happened to be in NYC recently and when Tara and I joined her for dinner, she mentioned that she had gone to a place called The Bitter End to watch some live music a few days prior.
Not familiar with the spot, she quickly gave me the low down. This club is located in Greenwich Village and is a cultural icon in New York. Fred Weintraub opened the place in 1961 as a no-alcohol talent showcase where he presented up-and-coming acts like Peter, Paul and Mary (who made their debut there that year), Joan Baez and Woody Allen. Paul Colby became the club’s manager and talent booker and eventually, owner. The club has given some other little known artists their start….folks like Neil Diamond, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder and more recently Ingrid Michaelson, Norah Jones and Lady Gaga to name a few.
Last weekend Tara and I went out to dinner with some of our new friends, Cameron and Leslee. After dinner, we were looking for something to do and I suggested we check this place out. We arrived pretty early by “clubbing” standards (8PM) and it turned out that we got there just before the first band was to go on.
The cover was only $5 and the night featured 6 bands (they are open 7 days a week and feature that many bands nightly). Despite the low cover, there is a catch. Each person must buy at least 2 drinks per band performance (while that may not be a problem for my wife, it is for an alcohol lightweight like myself). Although there is a sign on each table stating this policy, we found out that it is not heavily enforced.
The décor inside definitely makes it feel like you’re in an old school rock n’ roll club. That said, the stage lighting and sound gear are up to all the latest standards. They’ve even got streaming video on their website (they’ve positioned a studio mic in the center of the room used exclusively for the streaming) so you can preview the talent before you even get there. No celebs at this particular show that we went to…just bands trying to get their big break. I was pleasantly surprised by the talent level. According to the door man, each band performs about 6 or so songs and then the next band gets set-up to play.
If you’re looking for a live music spot, this is a great spot to go. Here’s a couple quick snipets below of a band we saw (unfortunately, we didn’t catch their name). They did mostly their own original music (kinda bluesy) but also sprinkled in a few covers as well.