Selected Events (08/28) + Today’s Featured Pub (Midtown West)

Today’s Elite 8 > FRIDAY / AUGUST 28, 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)

Have time for only one event today? Do this:

> Accordion Band Festival
Bryant Park, 6th Ave (btw 42nd/40th St.) / 4:30-10PM, FREE
if you like accordion music, don’t miss this one – six groups presenting musical styles from around the world. Balkan funk of Slavic Soul Party, Niall O’Leary Irish Band’s traditional folk, Argentine tango from Los Chantas and more. Bryant Park is a small gem, a perfect spot for a picnic this warm evening, accompanied by the accordions – only in NYCity.

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

>Trio da Paz and Friends (through Aug. 30)
Dizzy’s Club, 60th St. and Broadway / 7:30PM +9:30PM, $40
“Effervescence comes easily to Trio da Paz, a samba-jazz cooperative consisting of Romero Lubambo on guitar, Nilson Matta on bass and Duduka Da Fonseca on drums. This engagement, a celebration of bossa nova standards, will augment the band with familiar reinforcements: the trumpeter Claudio Roditi, the saxophonist Harry Allen and the vocalist Maucha Adnet.“ (NYT-Chinen)

>Gerald Clayton Quintet (through Aug. 30)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave South, at 11th St. / 8:30PM +10:30PM, $30
“While there are certainly more daringly original pianists on the scene, Clayton has an unapologetic vivacity that’s hard to resist. Where trios were once his ensemble of choice, Clayton is now thinking like a commanding small-group leader: his sharp quintet includes the saxophonists Ben Wendel and Logan Richardson.” (NewYorker)

>Charlie Parker Birthday Celebration Sextet (through Aug. 29)
Birdland, 315 W44th St. / 8:30PM +11PM, $40
two prominent alto saxophonists, Greg Osby and Vincent Herring, in an all star tribute to the music of the “Birdman.”

>New York International Fringe Festival (through Aug 30)
Various Locations and Times
“Catch more than 200 shows from emerging theater troupes and dance companies from around the world when FringeNYC returns this weekend. Productions range in topics and genres, including drama, comedy and satire. It’s $18 per ticket, with discount passes for multiple shows.” (dnainfo.com)

Smart Stuff / Other
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)

Life’s a Picnic in Grand Central (LAST DAY)
Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal, FREE
“This pop-up picnic space returns for a second year, with live entertainment, food to purchase and chef demonstrations from Grand Central’s vendors. Performances include selections from Joe’s Pub, Big Apple Circus and Broadway shows like “Wicked,” “Something Rotten!” and “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.” The schedule is at grandcentralterminal.com/events.” (NYT-SpareTimes)

>Summer HD Festival (through Sept. 7)
Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center / 8PM, FREE
tonight: “West Side Story” right where it was filmed!
“For 11 nights the Metropolitan Opera will take over Lincoln Center Plaza to bring some of the company’s most memorable recent performances to the masses. The series features 10 screenings of previously recorded operas, beginning with Elina Garanca and Roberto Alagna in Bizet’s “Carmen” (7:45 p.m. Saturday), Anna Netrebko in Verdi’s “Macbeth” (8 p.m. Sunday) and Vittorio Grigolo in Offenbach’s “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” (7:45 p.m. Monday ). The festival begins on Friday with the 1961 movie “West Side Story,” which features a score by Leonard Bernstein. Seating is first come first served. At various times, 212-721-6500, metopera.org” (NYT-SpareTimes)

>Astronomy on Deck
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Pier 86 / 6:45-10PM, FREE
but registration is required.
“Astrophysicist Maryam Modjaz is the Philip Marlowe of stellar death. She’ll discuss gamma-ray bursts and supernovas that explode with the light of a billion suns at a special Astronomy on Deck night.” (ThoughtGallery.org)

Inaugural Exhibition: AMERICA IS HARD TO SEE (through Sept 27)
Whitney Museum, 99 Gansevoort St. / 10:30AM-6PM, $22.
“It’s finally here! The new improved Whitney home in MePa that’s supposed to finally put to rest the museum’s rep as the also-ran of New York’s major art institutions. The Whitney inaugurates its new home with this massive permanent-collection survey spanning eight decades. Covering four floors in roughly chronological order, the show relays overlapping histories about the Whitney itself, the development of modernism in America and the country’s transition from cultural backwater to overweening superpower.” (TONY)

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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