Selected Events (07/09) + Today’s Featured Pub (Midtown West)

Today’s Sweet 6 > SATURDAY / JULY 09, 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:

Harlem Renaissance Orchestra
12th Annual Tribute to Illinois Jacquet
Plus the Ambassador Prize Lindy Hop Dance Contest
Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center / Dance lesson at 6:30
Live music at 7:30; $17 for dance floor – FREE for plaza
“Swing is the thing at our season finale. Guardians of Harlem’s jazz past for two decades, the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra summons the spirit of jazz legend Illinois Jacquet with high-octane renditions of tunes by the Count, the Duke, and the King of Swing. Always one of the most popular parties of the season, the night hits fever pitch as New York’s best dancers face off for the Ambassador Prize, an homage to Lindy hop icon Frankie Manning.”

Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing, a two week festival where a different band played each night is a first class, wonderful series. Sad to see it end.

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Cristin Milioti
Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St./ 7:30PM, $30
“Once was enough for many people to fall in love with Cristin Milioti, became nationally known as the finally-revealed title character on How I Met Your Mother—but some of us had been mooning over her for years. One of the city’s finest young actors, she cuts to the heart with raw nerves and fierce nerve. Tonight she shares her musical talents.” (TONY)

Joe Lovano Quartet (thru July10)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, at 11th St./ 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $30
“Mr. Lovano, a saxophonist equally drawn to garrulous epiphany and tender lyricism, convenes a new band for this six-night run at the Village Vanguard, his second home. Along with the pianist Kenny Werner, a longtime compatriot, it features the virtuoso bassist John Patitucci and the wise and grounded drummer Andrew Cyrille.” (Chinen-NYT)

Elsewhere, but this guitar genius is worth the small detour:
John Pizzarelli (July 5-10)
Jazz Standard, 116 E27th St./ 7:30PM, +9:30PM,; $40
“A sterling cabaret artist who doesn’t hide his deep affection for the classic rock and pop that he grew up with, the guitarist and singer Pizzarelli recently tipped his hat to a major influence on “Midnight McCartney,” an imaginative project that approached offbeat Paul McCartney tunes from a stylishly personal angle.”(NewYorker)

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

Pinknic (also Jul 10)
Governors Island, The Play Lawn/ 12PM – 6PM; $65+
“Pinknic, the largest rosé-themed picnic and music festival in New York City, comes to Governor’s Island. Take a short ferry ride from the tip of Manhattan and set up shop on one of 4,000 rosé-hued blankets dotting the sprawling grounds. From here, delight in spirited sounds, satisfying snacks, and ice-cold bottles of rosé. A variety of refreshing rosés will be available for purchase. You’re invited to bring your own picnic or pre-order our special Pinknic Baskets crafted by acclaimed chef Chris Santos.”

Masters in Modern Art Lecture Series: Picasso
Mulberry Street Library, 10 Jersey St./ 2PM, FREE
“Maestro Francesco Santoro, art history scholar and world-renowned visual artist, will present the first of four free public lectures and discussions (in Italian with simultaneous English translation) on the masters of modern art: Picasso, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and De Chirico.

Santoro will focus on the life and work of these artists who broke with traditions in response to changes in the world around them. Santoro in his lectures highlights, through space-time connections and documentary evidence, that what they tried after the breakup with traditional painting, was to make art survive through the research of a new language. They were infected by “the willingness to remake the world.” They wanted to analyze systematically the phenomenon of “perception,” creating a Science of Art. They wanted to show that what matters in the artwork is knowledge; they wanted to communicate that the project of an artwork is already a work of art.” (ThoughtGallery.org)

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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 (all six are within walking distance of each other):
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 – basement @55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave.S. 55bar.com, 212-929-9883
Mezzrow – basement @ 163 W10th St. nr 7th Ave. mezzrow.com,646-476-4346
Smalls – basement @ 183 W10th St. smallslive.com, 646-476-4346
Cornelia Street Cafe – 29 Cornelia St. corneliastreetcafe.com, 212-989-9319

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 58 million visitors last year and was TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2016.  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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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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