Selected Events (01/25) + Today’s Featured Pub (Midtown West)

 Today’s SWEET 6 > MONDAY / JAN. 25, 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:
Arturo Schomburg Celebration
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Blvd./ 6:30PM, FREE
“Arturo Alfonso Schomburg was a notable writer, activist, collector, and bibliophile, who devoted his life to acquiring and archiving materials related to the history and culture of people of African descent, amassing over 10,000 documents. In 1926, he sold his personal collection to the Division of Negro Literature, History and Prints of the 135th branch of The New York Public Library, which is now known as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Join us for this annual celebration of Arturo Schomburg’s legacy and our 90th anniversary with this special tribute.” (ThoughtGallery.org)

Music, Dance, Performing Arts
Brian Gallagher and friends
Birdland, 315 W44th St./ 7PM, $30-$50
“Charming singer-songwriter Gallagher celebrates his birthday with a night of songs, some of which are from his recent album, All That’s Ahead. Guests include his wife, blond Broadway bombshell Megan Hilty (Smash), as well as Eden Espinosa, Carly Hughes, Celisse Henderson, Carrie Manalakos, Ben Cameron, Matt Cusson and Sean Jenness.” (TONY)

Live Artery (through Jan. 30)
New York Live Arts, 219 W19th St./ 7:30PM, $15+
For the benefit of visiting arts presenters catching up on the latest in New York dance, Live Artery offered a nearly nonstop buffet of performances this past weekend. Beginning Wednesday, dance’s bad girl Ann Liv Young presents “Elektra,” her take on the Sophocles tragedy that is sure to be characteristically audacious.” (Schaeffer-NYT)

Smart Stuff / Other
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)
Author @ the Library:
City on a Grid: How New York Became New York, with Gerard Koeppel,
NYPL, Mid-Manhattan Library, 40th St & 5th ave/ 6:30PM, FREE
“This illustrated lecture tells the grid’s story: What prompted it? how did the commissioners and their surveyor develop the plans? and how has the lengthening life of the city been shaped by it? are some of the questions that are explored.”

Robert Burns Night with Single Malts 
Jimmy’s No. 43, 43 E7th St./ 7 to 9PM; $55
“Celebrate Robert Burns with poetry and single malt whisky samples from both American and Scottish distillers like Laphroaig. Beer and spirits writer Brad Japhe will lead guests through a journey of eight different scotch, bourbon, and whisky samples. Food offerings designed to pair with each sample includes a selection of cheeses, meats, and light fare. Tickets are $55 and are inclusive of all food, beverages, and poetry; reserve them here.” (VillageVoice)

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:
St Marks is Dead
Theatre 80, 80 St Marks Place, (btw 1st/2nd Ave) / 6:30PM, FREE, resv. required
Chronicle the history of St. Marks Place at a talk with the author Ada Calhoun.
“In this idiosyncratic work of narrative history, enriched by more than two hundred interviews and dozens of rare images, St. Marks native Ada Calhoun traces the 400-year history of the area—organized around pivotal moments when yet another group of denizens declared, “St. Marks is Dead.” And yet, Calhoun shows how the street continues to provide each new generation of rebels with a place to call home.”

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This week’s fave and FREE NYCity AppS: 

Trip Advisor
An enormous base of NYCity user reviews (2.1 million) provides the widest coverage of hotels (468), restaurants (12,645) and things to do (yes, 3,246). Have a specific question? Then try one of Trip Advisor’s forums. Just remember that with all those reviews you have to try to find the consistency among the comments, and ignore the outliers.

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.

Subway Time 
Need to catch your #1,2,3 subway to attend an event? Use the Subway Time app from the MTA to find out when the next train arrives at your station. The MTA also has Bus Time info available on their mobile website.

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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 8/9 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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