Selected Events (01/19) + Today’s Featured Pub (Tribeca)

 Today’s FAB 5+ > TUESDAY / JAN. 19, 2016

“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:
Donny McCaslin Quartet
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./8:30 +10:30PM, $30
“In a move as unexpected and ultimately efficacious as any in his doggedly left-of-center career, the late David Bowie brought on the saxophonist McCaslin’s quartet as the core band for what turned out to be Bowie’s final album, “Blackstar.” McCaslin’s new jazz ensemble features the keyboardist Jason Lindner and the drummer Mark Guiliana, with Nate Wood substituting for the bassist Tim Lefebvre on the first five nights.” (NewYorker)

Music, Dance, Performing Arts
American Songbook 2016 Opening Night
Ryan Scott Oliver and Friends
Rubenstein Atrium, Lincoln Center/ 7:30PM, FREE
“Composer-lyricist Ryan Scott Oliver and a boisterous group of his most gifted friends kick off American Songbook 2016 with a free opening night concert. Called “the future of Broadway…a major new voice in musical theater” (Entertainment Weekly). Oliver’s distinct work combines a powerful pop influence, rich harmony, and stories steeped in myth.”

Jon Irabagon (also Wednesday)
Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia St./ 8PM, $10
“A wily, hyperliterate saxophonist who has successfully ducked in and out of the mainstream jazz tradition, Mr. Irabagon leads two small groups next week. On Tuesday he re-enlists the ace rhythm section from “Behind the Sky,” an album released last year: Luis Perdomo on piano, Yasushi Nakamura on bass and Rudy Royston on drums. On Wednesday the format is a trio with two equally brilliant partners: the guitarist Mary Halvorson and the drummer Nasheet Waits.” (Chinen-NYT)

Author @ the Library:
Never Surrender: Winston Churchill and Britain’s Decision to fight Nazi Germany in the fateful summer of 1940.
NYPL, Mid-Manhattan Branch, 5th ave @ 40th ST./ 6:30PM, FREE
with John Kelly, the author of the acclaimed bestseller “The Great Mortality” and “Three on the Edge.”
“Wrestle with Winston Churchill on a crucial dilemma back in 1940: whether England should appease or go to war with Hitler. Historian John Kelly, author of Never Surrender, zeroes in on that tense six-month period.” (ThoughtGallery.org)

Behind the Wine Tours and Tasting
Brooklyn Winery, 213 North 8th Street, Brooklyn / 6:30PM
“Want to learn the ins and outs of an urban winery? Brooklyn Winery is offering a tour of its facility followed by a tasting of select Brooklyn Winery wines. Tickets are $25 after promotion” (VillageVoice)

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
“Traditional Spanish dance and ancient Greek theater are an unlikely but well-suited pair in Noche Flamenca’s sharp production “Antigona,” based on Sophocles’s famous tragedy. The dance lights a fire under the play while discovering in itself a knack for narrative drama. In the title role, the powerhouse Soledad Barrio is both fierce and fragile. The century-old church where the performance takes place is filled with striking sets, darkly amorous music played by a live band and a ferocious Greek chorus of dancers.” (NYT-Schaefer)

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!

This week’s fave and FREE NYCity App: 
OpenTable
Instantly locate restaurants near you with open reservations and then place a reservation right from your iOS device. A great interface and the ability to see a menu from the restaurant you’re interested in makes this my go to restaurant reservation app.

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 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 8/9ave), 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 / Tribeca

B-Flat / 277 Church St. (btw Franklin/White St))

b_flat4There are some places that are tough to find, then add a layer of mystery when you do find them. B-Flat has a nondescript, almost unmarked door at street level – today’s speakeasy vibe. Open this door and you face a dimly lit stairway down to their basement location. It almost takes a leap of faith to follow the stairs down to their interior door.

But open that door and a pleasant surprise awaits you.

It’s a basement jazz spot all right, but not like any traditional jazz joint you may have been to before. This place looks as fresh as today, probably because it’s only been open for 6 years. Even though it hasn’t had a chance to age gracefully, the cherry wood accents and low lighting make this small space very inviting.

There is always jazz, often progressive jazz, playing over their very discrete, stylish bose speakers, setting just the right tone as you find a seat at the bar, or one of the small tables. There is wine and beer available, but this place has some expert mixologists making some very creative cocktails, which I’m told change seasonally, a nice touch.

Come at happy hour and tasty cocktails like the el Diablo or the lychee martini are $8 – not bad. I am a sucker for any drink made with lychee and how can you not try a tequila drink named el Diablo. There is also nice selection of small bites available at happy hour and a food menu that is as innovative as the cocktail menu, so this does not have to be a happy hour only stop.

It wasn’t surprising to find a tasty prosciutto and arugula salad with yuzu dressing, but I did not expect to find such a good version of fried chicken breast on the apps menu. Here it’s called “Tatsuta.” Best bet is to sample happy hour, then dinner on a Monday or Wednesday night, when you can finish with no cover live jazz that starts around 8.

This place is tough to find (look for a small slate sandwich board on the sidewalk out front advertising happy hour) and on some nights when there is no live music iot may be a little too quiet for some. But I think it’s worth searching out if you want a place with good music, food, and especially drinks, away from the maddening crowd.

Website: http://http://www.bflat.info/index.html
Phone #: 212-219-2970
Hours: Mo-Wed 5pm-2am; Th-Sat 5pm-3am; no Sun
Happy Hour: 5-7pm every day; $8 cocktails + special prices on apps
Music: Mon/Wed 8pm
Subway: #1 to Franklin; walk E 1 blk to Church; N 1 blk to bFlat

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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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