Music Hall of Williamsburg is located at 66 North 6 Street in Williamsburg (kept you guessing, I’m sure), and so inevitably you’re hopping on an L train to Bedford yet again to get there. The main box office for Bowery Presents shows is at the Mercury Lounge, but MHoW also acts as a box office on Saturdays from 11am-6pm, so save yourself from those excruciating fees if you can (cash only).
I would recommend you head into a couple of nearby record shops beforehand, but they all seem to be closing or moving to Greenpoint, so, erm, yeah…
Upon entering the venue, you can either head straight into the main space or go downstairs into the lounge, which features some comfy sofas and a full bar (the whole place is basically the Bowery Ballroom’s twin). They’ve changed the layout fairly recently as there used to be a cloakroom but now there is more space to sit. Happy hour is between the time the doors open and the first band come on and whilst the selection is not exactly inspired, it’s still nice for the people that turn up early, I guess I’ll take a Magic Hat (although you could always head to MSL hangout Zablozki’s instead for a drink).
The facilities are also downstairs in the lounge, but they’re pretty sizeable so even when it’s busy you should be in and out. They’re clean and functional and compared to other places we’ve seen you could pretty much eat your dinner off the floor, which is so boring you have to be careful not to doze off whilst you’re doing whatever it is you need to do, these things need some proper graffiti in them.
Once you’re done in the lounge you can head back upstairs and check out any merch that might be available, there’s also another bar at the opposite side of the room. Take a moment to admire the recent pictures they’ve just had put up recently of Adam Yauch, Charlie Parker, Joey Ramone and Allen Ginsburg, they really do add something to a place that is otherwise frankly terribly bland in terms of aesthetics.
After entering the main hall you can either just pitch up anywhere on the floor or if you so desire there are a couple of raised areas to each side, they are decent spots if you know a show is going to be mental and you’d rather just watch and listen. There’s also another level higher up but come to think of it, I’ve never been up there so I don’t know if it’s general admission or not. Capacity is around 600, which obviously dwarfs many of our favourite haunts nearby.
The quality of the sound is a bit inconsistent, I’ve had good and bad experiences here so perhaps it’s more down to who is manning the boards on a particular night.
Music Hall of Williamsburg is a steady all-rounder but with few thrills, I’d like to see a few more quirks to give it an identity of its own and a sound system that delivered consistently, but for a medium-sized venue it’s hard to quibble, and maybe those are the hardest kind of establishment to really get right. Reliable, if slightly impersonal.
Check out our MHoW listings here.