1 at Christopher St.-Sheridan Sq.; A, B, C, D, E, F, M at W. 4th St.-Washington Sq.
If you've always wanted to sample the city's jazz scene but have been scared off by high cover charges, twenty-hour PBS documentaries or chin-stroking "aficionados," this is your place. Unlike other, more devoutly traditional venues, this unpretentious basement gem showcases not only new players, but also new styles—which is what jazz used to be all about in the first place. The house seems to particularly favor funky, guitar-driven combos that'll have even the most jazz-resistant patrons tapping their feet. Early-evening sets are free (it's hard to imagine the friendly staff enforcing the official two-drink minimum).
Picnics with a view, roller-skating nostalgia, and a party for gay headbangers.