497 Fifth Ave.
Evidence that Commonwealth is a kinder, gentler indie rock bar lies in the Please Be Nice sign over the drink menu. The exposed brick walls, dark wood booths, and hardwood floors give off the spotless, varnished look of a graphic designer's studio. In lieu of the usual photo collages, framed concert flyers are hung like museum artwork, and the elegant lighting fixtures that compliment candles glowing on tables are bright enough to make Blanche DuBois flinch. Even mixed drinks are concocted with a clean twist (the Antioxidant Martini is made with lemon vodka, pomegranate, and pineapple) while a solid list of tap and bottled beers and a few wines provide more familiar options for the low-key 20- and 30-somethings. If Commonwealth lacks the beer stains and drinking history that tinge neighborhood hangouts with entrenched character, a sublime jukebox laden with owner Ray Gish's celebrated compilation CDs supplies the grunge.