The Weekend Shortlist April 18 to 20
Friday April 18
The first time I heard Herbie Hancock’s 70’s jazz/funk project The Headhunters, I realized there was more to jazz than the acoustic upright bass/drums/horn trio. Though the original Headhunters are here for the reunion and Hancock is not, this is sure to be magic live. For a kickass burger or chicken sandwich, Island Burgers and Shakes specializes in making great burgers like the Bourbon Street Burger that’s blackened, with bacon, Jack, bayou mayo, and onion on sourdough. One cheap bar in midtown, Smith’s is a dive bar with cheap booze, friendly locals, and live music daily in the next room. Though the place is way expensive, Colony Music is a fun music store that sells albums and sheet music. You can walk around and check out the entertainment memorabilia. Whether you’re looking for an autographed guitar signed by the Rolling Stones or an autographed 8×10 of Linda Carter, they’ve got it.
Friday April 18
Cock Lorge is like that really dirty joke you heard, spread out over an album. This sex talking folk singer may come across as creepy at first thought, but after hearing him harmonize with a lady singing backup, you’ll blush but you’ll also laugh. Part lounge and all restaurant, The Stanton Social offers a very chic décor and a menu of small and affordable items meant for sharing. Try the Wasabi Pea Crusted Salmon with Asian pesto and soba noodle Beet salad ($15). If you like your bars loud, Detroit Rock City loud, then Motor City Bar is for you. With inexpensive drinks and an automobile motif, this is the place to party hard late into the night. Whether you’re in a band, looking for gadgets, or just want to strum on a $2,000 guitar, Ludlow Guitar is your wet dream.
Saturday April 19
So apparently Saturday is Record Store Day. Not sure if that’s an actual holiday, but in celebration of it, Regina Spektor will play a free show here. So get there early as the performance space is small and a free show by Spektor doesn’t come along often. For veggie lover’s, Bliss Café is an excellent place for tempeh, tofu, and vegetables, with all menu items $10 and under. Right off the L train at Bedford, Spike Hill is a really nice Irish pub with a great selection of draft beers on tap and booths in the back to sit, drink, and even order off an Irish menu of food. While several new coffee shops have popped up in Williamsburg recently, Ella Café is not just the best designed, with it’s blond wood interior but the coffee is pretty good too.
Saturday April 19
Touring in support of their new album Walk it Off, Tapes n’ Tapes have put out an even better album than their last one, The Loon. Openers White Denim are punk, funk and spazz rock worth checking out. Though it looks like a fancy club belonging in the Meat Packing District, SEA is one of the best Thai restaurants in Williamsburg. Huge in size, the menu serves up your typical Thai cuisine, but it’s the space, where a giant Buddha sits over an indoor pond that’s one of its draws. More than just a bar, Galapagos is also an art space with front and back rooms filled with art, music, burlesque, and most importantly, inexpensive drinks. Whether you’re a music geek, an audiophile, or someone who appreciates the warm crackle of a record player, Academy Records is a huge warehouse sized space filled with vinyl and CDs at relatively cheap prices.
Sunday April 20
An excellent lineup of bands here as Brooklyn’s Bad Wizard heads up this awesome lineup. With Dark Meat, a psych-rock band, Monotonix a heavy rock outfit known for their live performances, and rockers Heavy Hands. One of the best Pan-Latin restaurants in the city, Paladar, helmed by Chef Aarón Sanchez, creates eclectic dishes that tickle your palate like the Salmon con Parcha, a seared salmon with black squid rice and spicy passion fruit glaze ($17). Very swanky for Ludlow Street, Libation is a three-floor bar and nightclub beautifully designed with mostly warm brown and gold colors. Though the drinks are pricey, it’s worth trying this place, at least once. One of my favorite late night places for eats, Bereket has some of the best falafels on the L.E.S. and is one of the funniest places to eat after 2 a.m., because everyone there is just as drunk as you are.