Selected Events Manhattan’s WestSide + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Midtown West (11/24)

Today’s “Fab 5” / Selected NYCity Events – SUNDAY, NOV. 24, 2013

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide check out:
♦ “Notable NYC Events-Nov.”, “on Broadway”, and “Top10 Free” in the header above.
♦  For NYCity trip planning see links in “Resources” and “Smart Stuff” in the header above.

Rhythmic Circus (through Sun. Dec 1)
The nationwide tour of “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now,” performed by the 11 members of this Minneapolis troupe, has landed in New York. The percussive extravaganza features tap dancing, beat boxing and live music ranging from salsa to funk. There is a starry-eyed storyline, involving a private investigator and “a unique group of colorful souls on a mission to change the world with song and dance.”
New Victory Theater, 209 West 42nd St.
at noon and 5 p.m./ $14 to $38.
(646) 223-3010,

WFMU Record Fair
Live bands, amazing films, and
a gigantic room filled with wall-to-wall records and collectibles
Records lovers unite this weekend at WFMU’s massive three-day dig fest at the Metropolitan Pavilion. Forced to cancel last year due to Sandy, this year promises to be a return to form. Goers can expect 30,000 square feet brimming with LPs, CDs, DVDs and artwork for browsing and buying. Among the dealers you’ll find Mystery Train Records, Kayrock, Norton Records, Play It Louder Music, and many, many, more. In addition, Blowfly, Jeffrey Lewis and The Rain, Liquor Store, and more are slated to perform, and a number of films including Miss Pussycat and Quintron’s The Mystery of Old Bathbath, Andrew Bird: Fever Year, and BANANAZZZ, are screening. Music lovers of all denominations are sure to find something that catches their ear at this fest that is also a fundraiser for the radio station.” (Mindy Bond, Flavorpill)
Metropolitan Pavilion, 125W18th St.
10am – 7pm /  $7.00

NYC Craft Beer Festival–Winter Harvest
Throw back pints at the cold-weather edition of this seasonal beer extravaganza. Sample more than 150 winter brews, including Ommegang’s Take the Black stout, Southern Tier’s 2Xmas and Sixpoint’s Global Warmer. Booze experts Jonathan Pogash (a cocktail consultant) and Jared Rouben (Moody Tongue Brewery) will lead seminars on how to make beer cocktails and fruit-and-spice-infused ales. To help sop up all the beer, purchase bites from mobile vendors like Morris Grilled Cheese (Gouda-and-bacon sandwich, $8.50), El Paso Tacos (Baja fish tacos, $7.50) and Carl’s Steaks (cheese-steak sandwich, $8.50).
Lexington Avenue Armory, 68 Lexington Ave, at 26th St
OK, this is not Manhattan’s WestSide, but it is a craft beer fest – enough said.
At 4PM / $55-$135

Trombone for Lovers: A 78th Birthday Concert and Benefit for Roswell Rudd*
“The trombonist Roswell Rudd, who made his name in the avant-garde stir of the 1960s and has rumbled around contentedly since, has a new album, “Trombone for Lovers,” chock-full of refurbished old pop standards. It’s also full of guests, including those found here: the trumpeter Steven Bernstein; the guitarists Gary Lucas and Rolf Sturm; the keyboardist John Medeski; the singers Bob Dorough, Fay Victor and Heather Masse; and the NYC Labor Chorus. “ (Chinen-NYT)
Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St., near Thompson St.
At 3 p.m./ $30

Jane Monheit 
“Once dismissed in some circles as a chanteuse manqué, Ms. Monheit has evolved into an excellent interpreter of the standard songbook — and a fine jazz singer besides, especially when applying the pristine sensuality of her voice to songs of cozy reverie. She appears with her working band, featuring Michael Kanan on piano, Neal Miner on bass and Rick Montalbano, her husband, on drums.” (Chinen-NYT)
Blue Note, 131 West Third Street, Greenwich Village,
At 8 and 10:30 p.m. / $35 cover at tables, $20 at the bar (which are good seats),

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.

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, but that’s later in the evening. 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 American 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 happy hour 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).


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 St.; 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 of 52nd St.
Update: music some nights includes a sax player with a younger, trimmer piano man.

“Pub” is used in it’s broadest sense – bars, bar/restaurants, wine bars, tapas bars, craft beer bars, dive bars, cocktail lounges  – just about anyplace you can get a drink without a cover charge.
If you have a fave premier pub or good eating place on Manhattan’s WestSide let us all know about it – leave a comment.
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