If you’re in New York’s rock 'n roll scene, you know that some of the best music around can be found in the back alley bars and pubs that bring to mind this city in the '80s. It’s tiring traipsing through the streets if you’re trying to weed out all the imposter bars, so we’ve done it for you. Here is our list of the best bars for all you rock stars.
Best Rock Bar in NYC: Angels & Kings
500 E 11th St
New York, NY 10009
This is truly a great New York City rock and roll bar. There’s a great crowd every time you go and the music is awesome, whether it’s coming from the DJ booth or from the make-shift stage of some of the coolest up-and-coming artists out there. Frequented by musicians big and small, you never know who you’re going to run into in this darkly lit bar owned by Fall Out Boy’s guitarist Pete Wentz. The bar is a good size and fully stocked, even offering specials to people who’ve just come from certain specified concerts. Definitely a place to check out if you’re big into the city’s music scene; it’s a fun time whenever you come through.
Best Rock Bar in NYC: Don Hill’s
511 Greenwich St
New York, NY 10013
This off-the-wall rock and roll bar, reopened by Nur Khan and Paul Sevigny, is home to some of the craziest parties in the city. With a big stage and high-quality sound equipment, it’s a great place to hear awesome live music from up and coming bands and has even been the venue for shows from artists like The Strokes and Courtney Love. Don Hill’s sets the stage for a leather-loving atmosphere. Equipped with pole dancing, they have weekly rock, glam and British Pop nights for you to go all-out to. The place is usually packed and has a wall covered with sailor tattoos and two rooms with spinning multi-colored lights which helps support it’s famous and wildly popular 80’s nights.
Best Rock Bar in NYC: The Bowery Electric
New York, NY 10012
Get here for a taste of the Bowery’s nitty gritty atmosphere. This venue, located just a block from the legendary CBGB, gives you a rare view of the rock scene that used to run New York City. Complete with that true downtown vibe, it hosts live music from tons of artists and is revered by the area’s residents as being totally rock and roll. With soft, low lighting, velvet curtains, leather chairs and blue mohair couches and stools, the scene is set for an off-kilter evening where the vibe is moody and brooding. The DJ’s play all rock and roll music seven nights a week so there’s always a great record swimming through the sound system with special guests, both famed and infamous, passing through regularly.
Best Rock Bar in NYC: Snitch
59 West 21st St
New York, NY 10011
A Chelsea bar with a definite rock and roll vibe, the interior, decked out in red, gets filled with rockers, hipsters and music executives. It has a super scene-filled attitude but it isn’t stuck up or stand-offish. It’s very often you’ll find a high-profile celeb perusing through the place, especially since Velvet Revolver bandmates Scott Weiland and Duff McKagan and Fuel vocalist Brett Scallions are partners in the ownership of this venue. The circular stage is a hot-spot for performances from awesome bands and musicians from all over. The long room quickly fills up and becomes a standing-room only mash-up of elbow to elbow patrons coming to enjoy some good old rock and roll. Drinks are strong, and although slightly pricey, are worth it for the excellent atmosphere and amazing time you’ll have.
Best Rock Bar in NYC: The Bitter End
147 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10012
An old-school New York rock and roll bar that should be named one of the classics; Bitter End has started the careers of tons of artists since it’s opening in 1961, with the likes of Bob Dylan playing here. Tons of new artists play their first gigs at the Bitter End and get a taste of the rocker life and underground music scene that is so attached to NYC. Its famous red brick walls are lined with photographs and painted murals dedicated to the great artists of the past. The old-fashioned but perfectly kept bar has been home to the friends of musicians and tourists from far and near and serves up perfectly mixed cocktails that pair with the great music filling the room. There are four to six live acts each night, ensuring you’ll find something you like; there’s never a dull moment here so come to see a live piece of New York’s never-ending rock and roll history.