Sun-Wed, 5pm-2am; Thu-Sat, 5pm-4am
5pm-7pm; $5 drafts, well drinks and house wines, $3 Rolling Rock, $8 specialty cocktails
A, B, C, D, E, F, V at W. 4th St.-Washington Sq.; 6 at Bleecker St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
The second hardest job at (Le) Poisson Rouge must belong to the bookers, who juggle a performance schedule that bounces from Icelandic folk to opera to skronk to, uhm, Dick Gregory, who recorded an album here in the 1970s when it was the famed Village Gate. The hardest job goes to the poor soul who has to feed the fish in the aquarium dangling midair in the foyer, the trophy piece in the venue’s part trashy, part high-concept decor. There are two bars in (Le) Poisson Rouge: The first, which functions as an all-day hangout and revolving art gallery, is reached by descending a staircase woven with rubber tie-down straps. Tables carved from industrial foam, looking like nothing less than giant hunks of pate, squat next to ornately filigreed Asian thrones and church pews. This space makes for a fine lounge in itself, but it also serves as a waiting room for a large performance area and second bar. The crowd varies with the music, as do the seating arrangements, and during sit-down concerts you might find a room full of human bobble-heads trying to gain sightlines to the stage. But ticket prices are cheap in relation to the quality of shows.
Picnics with a view, roller-skating nostalgia, and a party for gay headbangers.