A favorite haunt of New York University students, this East Village dive is loud, cheap, and lots of fun, in a delightfully sophomoric way.
Address: 25, 3rd Ave., at St. Marks PI.
A hip bar, live-music dive, and DJ dance party are all in one at this former meat cooler in the raw yet up-and-coming Meatpacking District. Come here for a mix of rap, reggae, techno, and jazz.
Address: 416 W, 14th St., between 9th and 10th Aves.
At this TriBeCa favorite, you'll find bands both popular and not yet signed. Most of the time the crowd is authentically rock-and-roll; Friday night is Squeeze Box, a riotous party usually hosted by drag impresarios.
Address: 511 Greenwich St., at Spring St.
Looking for Joan Osborne, Weezer, or Wilco? You'll find them in this perfect-size place for general-admission live music. There's a small balcony with a bar and a tiny lounge area.
Address: 17 Irving PI., at 15th St.
Phone: 212/777-6800; 212/777-1224
Downtown hipsters pack the back room of this Ludlow Street staple to catch between two and four local rock acts a night, except on Monday when stand up comedy is on the bill.
Address: 171 Ludlow St., between Houston and Stanton Sts.
It's actually in New Jersey, but if you're looking for a small room to see some big names in indie rock, it's well worth the short PATH train ride.
Address: 1039 Washington St., at llth St., Hoboken, NJ
With one of the best sound systems in the city, this East Village club holds a quiet cachet with bands and industry insiders.
Address: El 217 E. Houston St., at Ave.
This former kosher winery on the happening Lower East Side presents some of the most innovative rock and jazz in town.
Address: 107 Norfolk St., between Delancey and Rivington Sts.
If you can ignore the hokey broken-down VW bus-cum-gift shop, this hard-to-find club rules, mostly because it draws great, often danceable, often psychedelic bands. Dave Matthews, Soul Coughing, and Hootie and the Blowfish "developed" here.
Address: 161 Hudson St., at Laight St.