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Village Vanguard

Critic's Pick Critics' Pick

178 Seventh Ave. South, New York, NY 10014 40.742542 -73.996818
nr. 11th St.  See Map | Subway Directions Hopstop Popup
212-255-4037 Send to Phone

Photo by Shanna Ravindra

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Official Website

villagevanguard.com

Nearby Subway Stops

1, 2, 3 at 14th St.

Parking

  • Nearby Parking Lots
  • Street Parking

Profile

The photographs that crowd the walls show jazz greats with their eyes half-closed, heads tilted back in ecstatic concentration. That same expression is worn by the patrons thanks to the world-famous acoustics of this wedge-shaped room. Opened in a former Greenwich Village speakeasy in 1935, this small club had a tradition of showcasing bohemian outpourings—from Lenny Bruce's earliest rants to Harry Belafonte's navel-baring dance—before it switched to strictly jazz in 1957. Since then, the Vanguard has become a mecca for all things swinging. The roster of luminaries begins with John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Cecil Taylor then extends through today's biggest names. Despite the frequent rumble of the subway underfoot, the room has also served as a recording studio for seminal artists such as Sonny Rollins and Wynton Marsalis. The red stairwell may be perilously steep; the green basement, a little bit shabby, but this joint's long been more about aural not visual experiences. And so long as this sacred space remains intact, New York City will keep its cool.

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