Since opening in 1998, the Bowery Ballroom has been one of the city's best venues for live music, with an intimate 575-person capacity, great sound, decent sight lines, and your favorite bands—not bad for an old shoe store. The nearly 90-year-old building straddles Chinatown, Nolita, and the Lower East Side, all of which are filled with good places to eat and drink, both before and after the show. Here are a few of our favorites.
3 Places To Drink Before The Show
Sweet and Vicious
Are you young, fun, maybe already a little drunk, and totally down for some Frozen Jageritas? Sweet and Vicious is the move. This rowdy bar is almost always packed with recent college grads intent on having a good time, with lots of floor space and a huge back terrace (covered and heated in winter!) in which to do it.
5 Spring Street, just east of the Bowery (212-334-7915; sweetandvicious.nyc)
The Randolph at Broome
Care for something creative and boozy? The cocktails at Randolph at Broome have got you covered. On the winter menu, for example, you'll find: Crimson & Clover, with Holland pepper tequila, blood orange ice, Combier, lime, agave, hellfire bitters, tajin. Or just tell your barkeep what you like, and they'll whip something up for you on the spot. The decor is playful and has a Brooklyn flare™. Expect hip-looking folks in their 30s and 40s.
349 Broome Street between Bowery and Elizabeth (646-383-3623; randolphnyc.com)
This spot's corner location in central Nolita ensures that there'll be plenty of Euro-tourists in the house, but there's enough of an old-school NYC dive-/party-bar vibe (it's been here since the '70s) to make it fun for everyone. Regulars call it the Shark Bar, and it's obvious why once you get there—there are multiple mounted toothy swimmers hovering above you inside.
48 Spring Street at the corner of Mulberry (212-965-1774; thespringlounge.com)
6 Places To Eat Before The Show
Goemen Curry (Scott Lynch/Gothamist)
Cocoron Soba or Goemon Curry
These two sister restaurants are right next door to each other, so if tiny Cocoron is too full (the case more often than not, because all the noodles here are terrific), the less-crowd-pleasing Goemon usually offers a waltz-right-in situation. And Goemon—at which you choose your health- / life-affirming curry and add on pork, chicken and/or a variety of fresh vegetables—might even be better than Cocoron, which is saying a lot.
37 and 29 Kenmare Street, respectively, between Elizabeth and Mott (cocoronanddoemon.com)
The Michelin-starred Uncle Boons is a convivial, comfortable restaurant with an amusingly over-the-top design sensibility and some seriously good, traditional-leaning Thai food. The place is popular, unsurprisingly, so make a reservation. And though the menu's "small plates" may seem pricey in the mid-teens, the portions are nearly entree-sized. Most importantly, they serve beer slushies. This is an excellent, semi-upscale group option.
7 Spring Street between Bowery and Elizabeth (646-370-6650; uncleboons.com).
Famous Sammy's Roumanian Streak House
Are you seeing Beirut tonight? Gogol Bordello, maybe? Get pumped up at this classic NYC institution, which is famous for many things—the bottles of schmaltz on the table (literally pourable chicken fat), the organ player belting out Borscht-belt schtick, the time-capsule decor, to name a few. Sammy's may not have the best streaks and chops in town, but the prices won't kill you either. This is a true bucket-list spot, unless you manage to become a regular, of which there have been many over the last 40 years.
157 Chrystie Street just north of Delancey (212-673-0330; sammyromanium.com)
Pearl & Ash
If you want to get a little fancy, the still-stunning Pearl & Ash is one of the best contemporary-romantic spots in town. Next-door sister restaurant Rebelle gets most of the attention these days, but the menu at Pearl & Ash is usually more daring and the food is always delicious. But be careful, because with its "shareable small plate" format and acclaimed wine list it's easy to drop a bundle here.
220 Bowery between Spring and Prince (212-837-2370; pearlandash.com)
Black Seed Bagels
If you're running late and just want to grab something quick (and already missed last call at the Kenmare Street Xi'an's Famous Foods, which closes weirdly early), Black Seed Bagels is a solid option for fueling up fast. Any of the set sandwiches are great, including the heavily-Instagrammed beet lox with horseradish cream cheese. And even though these Montreal-style bagels are smaller than some of the gut-bombs around town, this is still a satisfying quick meal.
170 Elizabeth Street between Spring and Kenmare (212-730-1950; blackseedbagels.com).
Right next door to Randolph at Broome, Randolph Beer focuses on beer (obviously). There are dozens of raft brews from which to choose, as well as several bearded men working there who can help you do exactly that. There's also an impressively extensive menu of bar-food classics, including a decent burger that comes with better-than-decent waffle fries. This is definitely the broham move.
343 Broome Street between Bowery and Elizabeth (646-383-3623; randolphnyc.com).
4 Late-Night Places to Eat After The Show
Mother's Ruin is actually an excellent choice in any of these categories, but since the kitchen blessedly stays open until 4 a.m., here we go. This is always jam-packed with people looking to get lucky, which is nothing too unusual for a bar in the neighborhood. But it's the quality and creativity of the food that makes Mother's Ruin such a standout, from the addictive Spicy Fried Chickpeas and peppery Duck Wings to the gloppy New Mexico Frito Pie. In fact, the French Onion Soup Grilled Cheese Sandwich is one of the best things you'll ever eat in your life.
18 Spring Street between Elizabeth and Mott (212-219-0942; mothersruinnyc.com).
One of the neighborhood's go-to slice joints, Williamsburg Pizza gets the nod over the also very good Prince Street Pizza because it's open later. You can get pizza until 2 a.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and until a dawn-breaking 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. If you are in the mood for a Brooklyn Round or Grandma Square and/or need to soak up all that Bowery Ballroom booze late at night, you will not be disappointed.
277 Broome Street at the corner of Allen (212-226-4455; williamsburgpizza.com).
Speaking of soaking up alcohol (or finishing your already epic night with even more booze), Congee Bowery is always a bit of a party scene, known for its cheap Cantonese eats and, uh...casual ID-check policy. The menu is massive, but stick with the basics and the Rice Congee porridges, and you'll be fine. Open until 12:30 on weeknights; 1:30 on weekends.
207 Bowery just south of Rivington (212-766-2828; congeevillagerestaurants.com).
If you're just looking for a sweet treat to end your night, Petee's Pies has some of the best baked goods in the city, and she stays open just late enough to accommodate most (though not all) Bowery Ballroom shows. Everything is outstanding here, though I gravitate toward the Salty Chocolate Chess/Chocolate Bourbon Pecan varieties. Petee's slings slices until midnight on weekdays and Saturdays; 1 a.m. on Friday.
61 Delancey Streey between Eldridge and Allen (212-966-2526; peteespie.com).