The Bowery Ballroom is among almost everyone’s favourite venue in the city, and was recently voted number 1 by Rolling Stone as the best club in America. Bowery Presents liked it so much they made the Music Hall of Williamsburg exactly like it.
Located at 6 Delancey St near the corner of Bowery (dur…); if there was a competition for “concert venue closest to a subway entrance” then Bowery Ballroom would surely win (with The Flat maybe coming in at 2nd place?). It can’t be much more than 10-feet to the Bowery J/Z stop.
Other nearby stations include Grand Street (B/D), Essex (M), Spring St (6), 2 Av (F), Delancey (F), while Canal Street (N,Q,R) is also easily manageable. Just to avoid confusion, there is another entrance for the Bowery J/Z station on the other side of Delancey, so make sure you come out the right one.
The building has been a concert venue since 1997, but keen eyes will have noticed the top of the building has Tree Mark Shoes engraved in it. Some pictures from the 1930s recently came to light from its time as a shoe store, as we posted here.
As you can see, not all that much has really changed!
Your first port of call is the downstairs bar (which is usually open before the “doors” to the show, although not always.) Probably the most disappointing thing about the Bowery is the drink selection and prices, a PBR is $5 while most other beers are $8. The bar downstairs is pretty roomy though, with plenty of seats around the edge of the room. Toilets are functional and can be found in the far corners as you first get down the steps.
When the doors have officially opened you’ll find the merch table before ascending another set of stairs to get into the ballroom. Capacity is around 550 and there is a cash-only bar the opposite side of the room to the stage.
The ballroom offers good sightlines, and you can head up to the balcony if you so desire (there’s another bar behind the soundboard.) Usually one of the seated areas on either side are reserved.
As far as sound goes, it’s consistently good, which can’t always be said for venues that start hitting this kind of size and beyond. I’ve seen a few shows where the vocals can get lost (The Men) but I think that’s more their style than anything else. It seems to handle pretty much anything you can throw at it.
Bowery Ballroom in many ways is the cornerstone of New York’s live music scene. People love to come here and bands love to play here. It is home to acts on the way up the gauntlet, as well as those who can command much larger halls. It’s really just missing a happy hour and better beer selection (as noted here, you can always pre-game at Double Down Saloon, Local 138, or Clockwork Bar on Essex.)
As you can tell by most of the pictures I’m posting, I tend to have a favorite spot where I usually stand!
Keep up to date with shows at the Bowery HERE.