Selected Events (07/29) + Today’s Featured Pub (Midtown West)

Today’s Elite 8 > WEDNESDAY / JULY 29, 2015

“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening, primarily on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to.”
We make it as easy as 1-2-3.  (click on links for complete event info)

Music, Dance, Performing Arts
> The Mavericks and Orkesta Mendoza – Lincoln Center Out of Doors
Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center / 7PM, FREE
“the Mavericks present an intense live show steeped in a deep love of romance, pure country, and surprising covers. Sergio Mendoza mixes cumbia, merengue, and ranchera with jazz and rock, adding a pinch of psychedelia to create what he calls “indie mambo.”

> 54 Sings Tina Turner: Simply the Best
54 Below, 254W54th St. / 7PM +9:30PM, $40-$75, plus $25 minimum
Singers from the Great White Way and top cabaret stars honor the The Queen of Rock and Roll with renditions of her greatest hits.

SummerStage
> Philadanco / TU Dance
Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, mid-Park at 69th St. / 7PM, FREE
“PHILADANCO! is celebrated for its innovation, creativity, and preservation of predominantly African-American traditions in dance, while Minnesota’s TU Dance is a leading voice for contemporary dance.”

> Minimus 3D Arkestra (through Thursday)
13th Street Repertory Theater, 50 West 13th St. / 8PM, $18
“This innovative performance combines 3-D film making and live music. Audience members wear stereoscopic glasses as they watch a live duet (with music by the jazz saxophonist and composer Hayes Greenfield) paired with a silent film by Ikuo Nakamura.” (NYT)

Smart Stuff / Other
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)
> Colin Quinn
Word for Word: Novel Novelists
Bryant Park Reading Room, 6th Ave, at 42nd St. / 12:30PM, FREE
this storytelling/reading series combines some of New York’s best storytellers, humor writers, memoirists, and character performers.
today’s talk: comedian/actor Colin Quinn discusses his book “The Coloring Book: A Comedian Solves Race Relations in America,” a laugh-out-loud look into why we tiptoe around the very subject we should be celebrating – diversity.

> NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2015 (through Aug 14)
Various locations and times; $25 for lunch, $38 for dinner
Enjoy the summer edition of Restaurant Week (actually three weeks) of prix-fixe three course meals at many of the city’s best restaurants. Mangia!

ELSEWHERE, but for photography buffs this looks worth the detour:
> “The Fence” in Brooklyn Bridge Park
Begin at Jane’s Carousel, Brooklyn Bridge Park / FREE
a 1,250-foot outdoor photo installation, this exhibit features work from 40 professional photographers from around the world. a unique site-specific exhibition aimed at fostering conversations and exploring new thematic directions in photography. best of all, it is in Brooklyn Bridge Park, NYCity’s newest park and a small gem of an oasis.

Have time for only one event today? Do this:

> Jazz & Sondheim, Side by Side – Jazz in July (through July 30)
92nd Street Y, Kaufmann Concert Hall, Lexington Avenue at 92nd St / 8PM, $62
“Not till you’ve heard piano duo Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes’ stunning jazz treatments of his masterpieces—from groundbreaking shows like Company, Follies and Sweeney Todd. Theater and jazz fans, here’s a night for you—featuring the dynamic voice of Ann Hampton Calloway and a soaring string ensemble to bring out the beauty of Broadway’s best.”

Bonus – Jazz Picks:
Many consider NYCity the Jazz capital of the world. Here are my favorite Jazz clubs, all on Manhattan’s WestSide. Check out who is playing tonight:
Greenwich Village:
Village Vanguard – 178 7th Ave. South — villagevanguard.com / 212-255-4037
Blue Note – 131 W3rd St., nr 6th ave. — bluenotejazz.com / 212-475-8592
55 Bar – 55 Christopher St., nr 7th ave.S. — 55bar.com / 212-929-9883
Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — jazz.org/dizzys / 212-258-9595
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9 ave) — birdlandjazz.com / 212-581-3080
Smoke Jazz Club – 2751 Broadway, nr.106th St. — smokejazz.com / 212-864-6662
Special Mention:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St., nr Bleecker St. — caffevivaldi.com / 212-691-7538
a classic, old jazz club in the Village, Caffe V often surprises with a wonderfully eclectic lineup. It’s my favorite spot for an evening of listening enjoyment and discovery.

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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, with a population of  8.5 million, had a record 56 million visitors last year and is TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2015.  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 near the piano man; 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 now includes a sax player with a younger, trimmer piano man. “tiny” we miss you.

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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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