158 Bleecker St., New York, New York (Sullivan & Thompson Sts.)
Bring an open mind, wear your drinking shoes and come hither to (Le) Poisson Rouge, the mixed-use art cabaret founded by musicians on the site of the historic Village Gate. The Gate hosted everyone from Miles Davis to Jimi Hendrix, leaving big shoes to fill, which Rouge does with a constant hodgepodge of keep-you-guessing bookings. With everything from Afropop to indie rock to Icelandic folk to an improved Charlie Parker sax show, the performances wafting up from the neo-Baroque-bedecked basement are always inspired. Dedicated to the fusion of popular and art cultures in music, film, theater, dance, and fine art, the venue’s mission is to revive the symbiotic relationship between art and revelry. Do enjoy the show with several beverages and a plate from the $5 menu (tater tots, grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly) or the crostini sampler, with savory pesto, tomato bruschetta, and black-olive tapenade. The décor is heavy on black and of course, rouge, inspired by its Moulin sister, Toulouse-Lautrec and late 19th-century Parisian nights.
Photo credit: Olgu Aytac