Where It’s At: (Le) Poisson Rouge

So far we’ve covered venues in Williamsburg (DBAShea Stadium) and the Lower East Side (Cake ShopMercury Lounge), so let’s go crazy and check out a different neighbourhood! LPR is located in Greenwich Village at 158 Bleecker Street; conveniently placed for just about anyone, being less than a 10-minute walk to a A,B,C,D,E,F,M,N,R, 1 or a 6 train.

I guess it’s appropriate that you’re greeted by the sight of a fish tank upon entry. The venue hosts an eclectic mix of acts from all genres, and will always score cool points from me for having Bitch Magnet play last year.

The stage is oddly located in the corner of the room, cutting across as a triangle while entrance/exit doors flank either side. Apparently the stage can be set for different layouts, but I’ve only ever seen it this way. General admission standing gigs can fit 700 attendees, the venue can also arrange a 250 capacity seated show.

There is a raised area at the back of the room for diners (and I guess VIPs?), I have no idea what the food is like, anyone ate there? Où sont l’escargots, le baguette? Et pourquoi je parle Français? Mon dieu!

As for beer, there is a full and sizeable bar which offers 10 different cocktails at $14 a pop while draft beer options are a bit more limited. For $7 you have a choice of Hoegaarden, Magic Hat, Red Fish Ale or Stella, etc, and you’ve got more options if you switch to bottles but who wants to do that when you have a draft option?! There is an additional bar in another room to the right hand side of the stage but I’ve only seen it open once when Beck played, it serves as an art gallery and performance space (check here).

I hate to disappoint you, dear readers, but you’ll have to make do without seeing pictures of the toilets on this occasion since it was far too busy on my last visit and you know, taking pictures of toilets is a bit weird at the best of times, despite my best attempts at giving you real life journalism on the front line. You’re not missing much however, since LPR offers a fairly generic black tile wall, over-spilled water dominates the floor (I hope it’s just water…) although it does have one of those jazzy modern hand dryers that you put your hands into.

Bitch Magnet

In terms of sound, LPR holds its own, I’ve never had a problem here although I have friends who say the sound isn’t great, maybe I’ve been lucky or they’ve been unlucky, who knows. They do seem to run a lot of fans around the stage though which can be a bit distracting in quieter moments (apparently due to a recent AC failure, so expect that to be a temporary glitch at the time of writing). There are some pillars so if you like to hang towards the back you’ll have to position yourself accordingly.

The Clean
The Clean

Fittingly, I recently saw Beck perform here, he didn’t have two turntables and a microphone, it was an acoustic performance, but still… for that night it was definitely where it’s at (he didn’t play the song either, but he did play a ton from Sea Change, my favourite of his records, and yes I’m that lame I couldn’t think of a better column name).

Beck
Violens

No visit to the West Village is complete without visiting Mamoun’s, I’m not sure there’s a better way to spend $3.50 on food than picking up a falafel and baba ganoush sandwich. Eating said item should be a spectator sport as you’ll no doubt end up with some of it on your face, clothes and possibly anyone within a 10-feet radius, but you won’t care because it’s so damn good. You could also go for a slice at Bleecker Street Pizza.

LPR might not be the most thrilling venue in NYC but the variety of acts alone make it essential to keep on your radar.

See our listing for upcoming gigs at LPR

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