Illustrations by Mark Nerys
The Ramones Gone Dub
Veronica People’s Club
Typically a go-to for sets curated by Stereogum writers and famous-person D.J.’s (Jens Lekman, D.J. Teen Wolf), Veronica’s hosts the monthly Dub Dub Nights party every first Monday, blaring dub remixes of familiar rock songs like “Gimme Shelter” and “Heart-Shaped Box.” Expect to bop, fuel up with nightlong drink specials, and bop some more (105 Franklin St., nr. Greenpoint Ave., Greenpoint; 718-349-2901).
“Sweater Song” Sing-Along
The music is highly personal here, with a jukebox packed with owner Ray Gish’s own mix CDs. As the floor fills up, Dark and Stormy–buzzed devotees of recentish rock join in barwide sing-alongs to Weezer, the Shins, Death Cab, or early Kings of Leon. While there’s ample room for dancing, the Park Slope crowd sometimes musters only an enthusiastic sway (497 Fifth Ave., at 12th St., Park Slope; 718-768-2040).
The Clash Over Karaoke
On Wednesdays, the bravest of punk-rock fans step on stage, grab the mike, and get their scream on. While this red-boothed Chinatown venue has a rock-and-roll-cool aesthetic, the audience is varied (stockbrokers, artists, teachers) and welcoming to even the most wince-inducing performers among them (105 Eldridge St., nr. Broome St.; 212-334-6740).
Slayer, Louder, Please
For those in the mood for a headbanger’s ball, Duff’s hard-rocking jukebox slices through all the old favorites, from Sabbath to Slayer. The sensory overload continues behind the bar, where you’ll find cheap beer, baby skulls, and comely tattooed ladies who’ll lubricate you to the point of belting out “Master of Puppets” (168 Marcy Ave., nr. S. 5th St., Williamsburg; 718-599-2092).
Debbie Harry and Friends
The latest in the new wave of bespoke-cocktail dens is also the best for New Wave rock and roll: Fittingly, the door is half-hidden, the drinks strong, and the space small but not too cramped for a good dance party. Plus, the D.J. booth,which spins a range from the Cars to Blondie, sometimes takes requests—ensuring that your playlist is as custom as your cocktail (149 Mulberry St., nr. Grand St.; 646-448-4536).
In a bar where there’s always a taxidermied moose head on the wall and occasionally Andy Cohen on the turntables, you can catch the weekly Aaliyah Night, pumping out R&B hits of the nineties to a grind-y crowd of fashion and business types who get close—very close. If you don’t want to “Push It” with a sweaty stranger or two, this is not the Friday-night bar for you (40 Ave. C, nr. 4th St.; 212-228-1049).
Though the headliner of this restaurant is technically Korean chicken, its 30,000-album-strong wall of jazzy vinyl, as well as its working piano/dining table, is the primary draw. As you sip your soju-based cocktail, choose an album from the collection to be chauffeured along the ceiling track to the D.J. and then wafted through the speakers (116 E. 4th St., nr. First Ave.; 212-466-6660).
Bluegrass in a Sea Shanty
Banjo-loving locals and fans from all over God’s creation trek to Sunny’s for live bluegrass sessions, featuring Earl Scruggs covers and original tunes. Resembling the inside of a ship, the old longshoremen’s haunt books bands on Wednesdays and Fridays but holds an especially boisterous jamboree on Saturday nights (253 Conover St., nr. Beard St., Red Hook; 718-625-8211).
Johnny Cash’s Brethren
An East Village anomaly, this low-key respite for simple, hard-livin’ folk serves cheap drinks and has a jukebox full of country music—Patsy Cline, Steve Earle, and, of course, Mr. Cash. But fancy-footers be warned: This is no honky-tonk. While patrons are open to whiskey-sipping conversation, busting a move maxes out at light toe-tapping here (520 E. 6th St., nr. Ave. B; no phone).