Before I officially moved to The Big Apple and realized that a) a subway ride costs more than a beer in my home state Ohio b) Houston is pronounced “Howston” and c) New York State Taxes would make that part of my budget pie chart reserved for entertainment an anorexic girl’s pizza slice, I thought I could afford an apartment in the West Village AND have fun. As such, I soon learned about the art of the perfect pregame and my neighborhood’s live jazz haven The Garage. I had grown up buying black and white postcards with images of legends Billy Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong singing in smoky nightclubs, but the romance died when I realized my own live jazz experience would either cost me my grocery money or a trip to what I only knew as “that scary area north of the city that where a friend woke up on the subway there to a man masturbating on the train.” Thankfully, the West Village’s The Garage has a heart for poor, bad-at-math gals like me and neither charges cover nor sets a drink minimum for its nightly high-quality jazz stylings.
The Garage’s heart is so big, in fact, that there are even plentiful dishes of complimentary pretzels on the bar and good beers on draft (Sidenote: Am I the only person who hates drinking beer out of a bottle? I don’t know if it’s because I instantly compare the cost I’m paying for one against an entire 6-pack when I see a bottle or what, but draft is a huge plus for me, always.) If you decide to dine, you’re welcome to bring in your own bottle for a $25 corkage fee. The food is a bit more than I’d normally pay (around $25-30 average entree), but there are numerous appetizers for an affordable price. You could also stop by Gray’s Papaya for one of the city’s favorite quick, cheap bites, or… I hear the free pretzels on the bar are a delightful accompaniment to performances of Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train” and the bar’s specialty draft Garage Ale!
The bar restaurant also offers a jazz brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 11AM-4PM, where $15.95 will get you a hearty brunch option and a mimosa, screwdriver or OJ. Day drinking enthusiasts will be happy to know that $6 extra will get you unlimited alcoholic drinks… one of those amazing NYC quirks that helps you remember why you live here despite having to step over the occasional dead rat on the way to work.
The Garage, even when just a jazz trio, is not for light background listening while trying to drop your best pick-up lines or catch up with your bestie (aka don’t be rude, son!). But, it’s a great way to round out an evening with before mentioned hot dogs or a walk along the Hudson River, especially given its nightly happy hour from 4-7PM Monday through Friday and 10PM until close Monday through Thursday.
Know the Nabe: The Garage is located around the corner from The Stonewall Inn, where the infamous Stonewall Riots took place in 1969 and launched the modern day gay rights movement. Learn more on the bar’s site HERE.
99 7th Ave
Between Christopher and Bleecker [West Village]