Selected Events + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Midtown West (10/30)

Today’s “TOP 3″/ Selected NYCity Events – THURSDAY, OCT. 30, 2014
“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to. We make it as easy as 1-2-3.”

Joshua Redman Trio ( through Nov. 2)
“The saxophonist Joshua Redman has lately directed a lot of his energy toward James Farm, an ultramodern collective that will release its second album, “City Folk,” next week. But Mr. Redman has also kept busy in the ageless tenor trio format: another sharp album he released this year was “Trios Live,” whose nimble calisthenics give a good idea of what he’ll be up to in this run, with Reuben Rogers on bass and Gregory Hutchinson on drums” (NYT-Chinen)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, at 11th Street, West Village,
212-255-4037, villagevanguard.com;
At 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. / $25 and $30 cover, with a one-drink minimum

Noche Flamenca y Antigona
Following well-deserved critical accolades for her previous Joyce seasons, Soledad Barrio and her astounding company, Noche Flamenca, come back with Noche Flamenca y Antigona, featuring a night of flamenco with excerpts from Sophocles’ tragic tale. Again the company performs to live music, propelling the dancers to an incredible height of drama that “goes straight for the expressive tension that seems to be at flamenco’s very heart” (The New York Times) and elicits cheers from sold-out houses of loyal fans.
The Joyce Theater, 175 8th Ave.
8:00pm / $36
212-691-9740

Kina Grannis
In 2007, Kina wrote “Message From Your Heart,” filmed a video and uploaded it to YouTube. A few months later, her song and video earned her a major label recording contract and aired during the SUPER BOWL in front of its 97 million viewers. Kina soon forfeited the record deal, choosing instead to self-release her album and keep creative control. Her debut album – Stairwells – debuted on BILLBOARD’S TOP 200 chart (and #2 on its new artist chart) due in large part to her devoted online following.

Kina’s sophomore album – Elements – written entirely by Kina and produced by Matt Hales (Aqualung), was released in May, 2014 and debuted in the TOP 50 on Billboard’s Top 200 Chart (and top 5 on its Folk Chart). Elements marks an undeniable maturity in songwriting and artistry and documents a period of growth and change in Kina’s personal life, complete with an honesty and a vulnerability that she’s excited to share with the universe. Kina’s music is dark and driving, sweet and soaring, melancholy, humble, heartfelt and hopeful.
Stage 48, 605 W 48th St.
$20 / 8:00pm

editor’s note: a 2nd hard drive failure in 7 months (what’s going on here Apple!) requires a reduction in daily event info on this site until the hardware issues have been resolved. while we use borrowed equipment and until further notice, the daily “Fab 5” is now the “Top 3”. we look forward to restoring full service soon.

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♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity is a big town with many visitors, where quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats in advance, even if just on day of performance.
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A PremierPub / 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.

lThose 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).

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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 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.

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“Pub” is used in it’s broadest sense – bars, bar/restaurants, jazz clubs, wine bars, tapas bars, craft beer bars, dive bars, cocktail lounges, and of course, pubs – just about anyplace you can get a drink without a cover charge (except for certain jazz clubs).
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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