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Entertainment & Nightlife in New York

Every night of the week, you'll find New Yorkers going out on the town as nobody here waits for the weekend. In fact, many people prefer to party during the week when there's actually room to belly up to the bar. If word gets out that a hot band is playing in a bar on a Tuesday, or if a well-known DJ takes over a dance club on a Thursday, you can be assured these places will be packed like the Saturday nights in most other towns.

The nightlife scene is still largely downtown but you don't have to go below 14th Street to have a good time. Midtown, especially around Hell's Kitchen, is developing a reputation, and there are still plenty of preppy hangouts on the Upper East and Upper West sides. And across the East River, Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighbourhood has become the place for artists, hipsters and rock-and-roll fans.

There are enough committed club crawlers to support venues for almost every idiosyncratic taste. But keep in mind that when you go is just as important as where you go. A spot is only hot when it's hopping – a club that is packed at 11pm might empty out by midnight, and a bar that raged last night may be completely empty tonight. These days, night prowlers are more loyal to floating parties, DJs, and club promoters than to any specific addresses.

Most clubs charge a cover, which can range from US$7 to US$30 or more, depending on the venue and the night. Be sure to take some cash, because many places don't accept credit cards. Remember to dress properly, something that is easily accomplished by wearing black and leaving your beat-up sneakers at home. Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed public places in New York City, including restaurants and bars. Some bars have gardens or fully enclosed smoking rooms for those who wish to light up, but in most places you'll have to step outside.

The Sidewalk Cafe is a great venue overflowing with every kind of band trying to make it in this city. Some are better than others. See well-known bands up close at the Bowery Ballroom. S.O.B.'s showcases world music, while the Knitting Factory provides a mixed bag of music, spoken word and art.

When you want a spectacle, there's no place like Broadway. For jukebox musicals, singing green witches and collapsing chandeliers, Broadway is the place. You can see some amazing work at prices ranging from just-below-Broadway to less than US$20 if you know where to look. The terms Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off-Broadway refer to theatre size, pay scales and other arcane details, not location. For Off-Broadway, expect to pay $20 to $65 or so for tickets; Off-Off-Broadway rarely charges more than US$20, and you can sometimes get in for US$12 or less. There are even some theatres that let you see the show for free if you volunteer to usher. Three resident theatres in New York City, Lincoln Center Theater, the Roundabout Theatre and Manhattan Theatre Club, present work in Broadway houses, as well as in smaller venues Off-Broadway.

An evening spent at a sophisticated cabaret just might be the quintessential New York night on the town. It isn't cheap: Covers can range from US$10 to US$60, depending on the showroom and the act, and also require two-drink or dinner-check minimums. Always reserve ahead, and get the complete lowdown when you do.

For those of you who like your jazz with an edge, see what's on at The Knitting Factory. Swingsters should consider Swing 46. Weekends at Carnegie Club are ideal for Sinatra fans looking to relive the moment. Despite its name, B.B. King Blues Club & Grill extends well beyond the blues genre to embrace over-the-hill acts of just about any ilk, from Morris Day and the Time to Blue Oyster Cult. Still, the venerable bluesman does take the stage from time to time, so you might want to see what's on. You might also consider Jazz at the Kitano, in the mezzanine of the Kitano Hotel, 66 Park Avenue, at 38th Street, for some first-rate jazz in a casual, comfortable setting. The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street, between Tenth and Eleventh avenues, has a full slate of live music and performance art.





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