Selected Events (12/30) + Today’s Featured Pub (WestVillage)

 Today’s FAB 5+ > WEDNESDAY / DEC. 30, 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 more complete event info.)

Have time for only one event today? Do this:
Phish (thru Jan.2)
Madison Square Garden, / 8PM, $70
“The popular Vermont improv-rock quartet returns to its de facto home away from home in NYC following an impressive summer tour. (This was certainly enhanced by lead guitarist Trey Anastasio’s extensive rehearsals for attempting to fill Jerry Garcia’s shoes in the remaining Grateful Dead members’ Fare Thee Well money machine). Tonight should serve as warm-up for Phish’s traditional triple-set New Year’s Eve extravaganza. At least one of their four-night run’s nine no-repeat sets will be transcendent, so expect many opportunities for the Garden’s legendary bouncing action.” (VillageVoice, Richard Gehr)

Music, Dance, Performing Arts
Duchess
Jazz Standard, 116 E27th St./ 7:30PM +9:30PM, $
“Three fine singers—Melissa Stylianou, Amy Cervini, and Hilary Gardner—join together in swinging harmony to whip up music that traffics in delight. Referencing vocal icons from Peggy Lee to the Boswell Sisters, this fresh-voiced triumvirate plays it straight from the heart, leaving any trace of camp or postmodern irony at the door.” (NewYorker)

New Riders of the Purple Sage
The Cutting Room, /7:30PM, $30-$50
“Microdosed country-rock abides in this laid-back band of survivors that has bubbled up intermittently since San Francisco 1969. Featuring songwriting guitarist David Nelson and the terrific Buddy Cage, who replaced Jerry Garcia as its pedal steel guitarist in 1971, New Riders of the Purple Sage has aged more or less gracefully since the era when tunes like “Panama Red” and “Portland Woman” were FM-radio staples. The band’s most recent album contains plenty of vintage Robert Hunter lyrics, and guitarist Michael Falzarano adds galvanizing guitar to the mix.” (VillageVoice, Richard Gehr)

Eric Alexander and Harold Mabern Group (through Dec 31)
Smoke Jazz Club, 2751 Broadway, at 106th St./ 7, 9, 10;30PM, $48
Friday through Wednesday at 7, 9 and 10:30PM; on Thursday at 6:30 and 9:45PM, $
“Mr. Alexander, a tenor saxophonist with a taste for smartly surging hard bop, teams up with Mr. Mabern, a veteran pianist and collaborator. The lineup and size of their bands will shift a few times between now and the close of the year, featuring strong partners like the drummer Jimmy Cobb (on Friday); the trombonist Steve Turre (Saturday and Sunday); and the alto saxophonist Vince Herring (Monday through Thursday).” (Chinen-NYT)

Smart Stuff / Other
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)
Public Eye: 175 Years of Sharing Photography (ends Jan.3)
NYPL, Main Branch, 5th ave & 42nd St./ 10AM -6PM, FREE
“Thanks to the development of new technology and social media, more photographs are created, viewed, and shared today than ever before. Public Eye, the first-ever retrospective survey of photography organized by NYPL, takes advantage of this moment to reframe the way we look at photographs from the past. Ranging from photography’s official announcement in 1839 to manifestations of its current pervasiveness, this landmark exhibition, drawn entirely from the Library’s collections, explores the various ways in which photography has been shared and made public.”

See the history of photography before this fine, wide ranging exhibition closes. I was blown away. Read what the WSJ had to say about this exhibition.

SPECIAL EVENT, A MUST SEE:
Noche Flamenca: Antigona (through Jan. 23)
West Park Presbyterian Church, 165 W86th St./ $25-$60
Mondays through Saturdays at 8PM
“The best part of Noche Flamenca’s flamenco musical Antigona—and it is full of astonishing parts—is the way that it tosses you between states of delight. At first, the delight stems from the ridiculous. Stalking the stage at West Side Presbyterian church, our Master of Ceremonies (a hilarious Emilio Florido) sings us the rundown on Oedipus’s family with elaborate disgust. Incest! Suicide! Fratricide! It’s dark. The flamenco company plays an abbreviated version of the entire Sophoclean trilogy with the emotional volume cranked to 11; their operatic intensity is joyful and absurd. (Spanish speakers may have a little extra fun: The elegant supertitles seem to leave out a bit of the cast’s improvisatory swearing.)” (TONY)

a personal note:
Noche Flamenca is Spain’s most successful touring company and its greatest exponent of the art of flamenco. Soledad Barrio is a goddess of dance and brings so much passion to her role as Antigona. Two wonderful Spanish guitarists and two vocalists do not get the credit they deserve. Every piece of this performance is outstanding. Go See It!

Bonus – Jazz Venues:
Many consider NYCity the Jazz capital of the world. Here are my favorite Jazz clubs, all on Manhattan’s WestSide. Check out who’s 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 8/9ave) — 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 / West Village

Corner Bistro / 331 W. 4th St.

Sometimes you just need a beer and a burger. If so, Corner Bistro is the place you want. Located just outside the hip Meatpacking district, this corner bar and grill is decidedly unhip, but it’s not uncrowded, especially at night. Seems that everyone knows this place has one of the better burgers in town.

kac_120405_phude_corner_bistro_bar_1000-600x450In the maze of streets known as the West Village, where West 4th intersects with West 12th (and West 11th, and West 10th, go figure), you will eventually find Corner Bistro on the corner of West 4th and Jane Street. An unassuming neighborhood tavern, it looks just like dozens of other taverns around town.

The bartender tells me that the Corner Bistro celebrated it’s 50th anniversary last year. The well worn interior tells me that the place itself is much older.

Corner Bistro has outlasted many of those other taverns around town because they know how to keep it simple — just good burgers and beer, fairly priced. The classic bistro Burger is only $6.75, and should be ordered medium rare, which will be plenty rare for most folks. Actually, it will be a juicy, messy delight – make sure you have extra napkins. I like to pull up a stool and sit by the large front window in the afternoon, where I can rest my burger and beer on the shelf, and watch the Villagers walk by.

Corner Bistro seems to attract very different groups of patrons depending on time of day. While it’s crowded with locals in the evening, in the afternoon you hear different foreign languages, and watch groups of euro tourists wander in, led by their guidebooks and smartphones.

For the classic Bistro experience, order your burger with a McSorley’s draft, the dark preferably. This is the same beer that you can get over at the original McSorley’s in the East Village, the pub that claims to be the oldest continually operating bar in NYCity. The only difference is that this McSorley’s ale is served with a smile by the bartenders here. Or you can get a Sierra Nevada, Stella, or Hoegaarden on tap if you want to go upscale a bit. Either way this is a simple, but quality burger and beer experience that is just too rare these days (sorry for the pun).
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Website: cornerbistrony.com
Phone #: 212-242-9502
Hours: 11:30am-4am Mon-Sat; 12pm-4am Sun
Happy Hour: NO
Music: Juke Box
Subway: #1/2/3 to 14th St. (S end of platform)
Walk 2 blk W. on 13th St. to 8th Ave.; 1 blk S. on 8th Ave. to Jane St.
Update:

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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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