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Best Small Music Venue

  • Rockwood Music Hall

    196 Allen St., nr. Houston St.; 212-477-4155

    Despite its tininessójust 520 square feet, and that’s with a baby-grand piano onstageóRockwood Music Hall attracts an outsize following, mostly owing to owner Ken Rockwood’s singular obsession with booking topflight music (there are no readings or comedy nights or small-plates menus to distract from that mission). The typical lineup includes a discriminating mix of singer-songwriters (Amos Lee, Noe Venable, Ryan Star) and folk, rock, and indie bands. A musician himself, Rockwood runs sound from a nook above the entrance, his feet dangling overhead. Unlike the many other modest-size venues crammed into the Lower East Side, the stage isn’t relegated to a back room or basement: It’s visible from the street, surrounded by café tables, dripping candles, and a tip jar passed during each set in lieu of a cover charge.

From the 2009 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine