Featured Neighborhood: Midtown West (05/27)

Selected Music Tonight – Manhattan’s WestSide

Hear Big Band Smiths
Because Morrissey always needed a horn section.
The eleven-piece band known as the Titanics offer Morrissey this eccentric, sweet tribute for his birthday: gloomfest emo tunes goosed with full-on Tommy Dorsey–style arrangements.
The Cutting Room
44 E. 32nd St., 

Hear The New York Philharmonic Play Bruckner’s Third
Free!
Bruckner’s Third Symphony is among the mystical master’s more leisurely creations, but Philharmonic music director Alan Gilbert has a knack for its inner drama. For the Memorial Day concert, the orchestra unfurls the piece in St. John the Divine, where reverent chords build up into a great rich vault of sound. —J.D.
Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, 

Peter Bernstein Quartet 
Peter Bernstein, a guitarist with a clean tone and unwavering technique, leads a postbop combo with the pianist Donald Vega, the bassist Dezron Douglas and the drummer Billy Drummond.(Chinen-NYT)
Smalls Jazz Club, 183 West 10th Street, West Village
From 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., $20.
252-5091 / smallsjazzclub.com

Orrin Evans Trio
Orrin Evans is an astute postbop pianist often heard in combustible settings, but the title of his new album, “…It Was Beauty” (Criss Cross), signals a subtle shift in intention. Designed as a quieter, more lyrical outing, it features the drummer Donald Edwards and four different bassists; Luques Curtis is the one who surfaces here. (Chinen-NYT)
Blue Note, 131 West Third Street, Greenwich Village,
At 8 and 10:30 p.m. /  $15 cover at tables, $10 at the bar,
with a $5 minimum.
(212) 475-8592 / bluenote.net;

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Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm dates and check times, as schedules are subject to change.  ==========================================================================

A PremierPub + 3 Good Eating places / Midtown West

“Pub” is used in it’s broadest sense – bars, bar/restaurants, wine bars, cocktail lounges,  tapas bars, craft beer bars, dive bars – just about anyplace you can get a drink without a cover charge.

Russian Vodka Room
265 W 52nd st (btw 7th/8th ave)

Sure, you could travel to Minsk or even Brighton Beach, for an authentic Russian experience, but why bother. On those days when you feel you must wash down your dish of kasha with a few glasses of icy, cold vodka, the Russian Vodka Room will definitely satisfy your urge.

From the outside this place looks a bit drab, and with no windows, a bit mysterious. Midtown tourists walk right by on their way to see “Jersey Boys”, just down the block.

Those in the know enter a secret hideaway, a dimly lit front room with soft jazz playing – a perfect spot for an illicit late-night rendezvous, or maybe a meet-up with your Russian spy handler. Early in the evening the large U-shaped bar fills with the after work happy hour crowd, a group made very happy by the much reduced prices.

Their website says: “Welcome Comrades”. Of course, this welcome focuses on dozens of different vodkas, including their own special infusions, which marinate in giant, clear glass jugs visible around the room. The large vodka martinis ensure that you won’t confuse this place with your mother’s Russian Tea Room.

But man does not live by vodka alone. Eat some food, especially the tapa like appetizers. Be decadent and try the cheese blintzes with chocolate, or try a main dish like beef stroganoff with kasha.

Your best bet is to go on a night when the piano man is playing. This guy, who looks like he has eaten a lot of those cheese blintzes, plays five nights a week from 7 to 12 (no Mondays and Thursdays). When the piano man is playing pop tunes, and you are at the crowded, dimly lit bar testing the horseradish infused vodka, that’s when the RVR shines.

It’s the kind of place where the noise gets louder and the crowd gets happier as the night goes on. I’m generally a beer guy, but I like to come here with a group of friends. We find a table in the back room; we eat, and we drink vodka ‘till it hurts (and it will hurt).

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Website: http://www.russianvodkaroom.com/
Phone #: 212-307-5835
Hours: 4pm-2am; Fri-Sun closes 4am (that could be trouble)
Happy Hour: 4-7pm every day
$4 shots infused vodka (2oz), $5 cosmos; $4 czech draft beer
Music: FR-SU; TU-WE / 7pm-12am
Subway: #1 to 50th st
Walk 2 blk N on B’way to 52nd; 1 blk W to RVR
Confusingly, the Russian Samovar is right across the street, on the  S. side of 52nd st.
The RVR, your destination, is on the N. Side.

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