Cheap Thrills After Dark
What's your pleasure: Burlesque? Blues? Bush jokes? Here are 14 ways to satisfy your nocturnal urges without a lot of cash.
By Tisa Coen

The bare essentials: Burlesque at the Slipper Room.

The Slipper Room

On Friday and Saturday nights, you'd be hard-pressed to find such bawdy fun (that's still legal, that is) under one roof for such a bargain. The cover is never more than $5, and acts have included such famed performers as Dirty Martini and the bodacious *BOB*.
• 167 Orchard St., at Stanton St., 212-253-7246;

"Eating It" at Luna Lounge

For several years, this Monday night series has provided an environment where lesser known comedians as well as established jokesters like Jon Stewart and Saturday Night alums try out their new material. Admission is $8 and includes a free drink—starts in September, '04.
• 8 p.m., 171 Ludlow St., between Stanton and Houston Sts.; 212-260-2323;

Chetty Red
The comedians are seasoned pros (most have had a turn on Comedy Central or NBC at some point or another). Political humor dominates, and if the crowd has taken advantage of the two-for-one drinks before the show (5 p.m.-8 p.m.), it gets lively. No cover.
• 9p.m., 28 E. 23rd St. between Madison and Park Aves.; 212-254-6727;

experimental theater

Downtown's best overall Off-Off Broadway venue, with a consistent lineup of the top experimental productions in the city, including works by Elevator Repair Service and HERE's director and founder, Kristin Marting. Tickets start at $15.
• 145 Sixth Ave., between Spring and Broome Sts.; 212-647-0202;

The Flea

Every year, this celebrated little TriBeCa performance space seems to get better, with regular visits by downtown talents like Obie Award-winning playwright Mac Wellman. Tickets cost between $5 and $25 and include a free drink.
• 41 White St., between Broadway and Church St.; 212-226-0051;

Got the blues: Arthur's Tavern.

jazz and blues
Arthur's Tavern

For more than 65 years, this legendary live-music venue has been home to performances ranging from Dixieland jazz to Chicago blues. There's no cover and the two-drink minimum is rarely enforced since it's impossible to keep track of who's who in the packed crowd.
• 57 Grove St., at Seventh Ave.; 212-675-6879;

Free live music, featuring everything from rock to country, seven nights a week. Audience participation is always welcomed. What you'll hear may not always be earth-shatteringly original, but it will be solid enough to merit the cost of the one-drink (usually around $5) minimum.
• 157 Ave. C, at 10th St.; 212 677-8142;

The Cajun
Every night this bar and restaurant showcases some of the best big-band jazz in the country an infectious mix of twenties and thirties jazz classics that you won't hear anywhere this side of a Woody Allen film soundtrack. No cover.
• 129 Eighth Ave., between 16th and 17th Sts.; 212-691-6174.

For the past nine years, the East Village's Detour has brought traditional and experimental jazz to the neighborhood at no cost, live, seven days a week. Plus, there's a $3 Happy Hour that runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., 7 days a week. Great jazz and cheap drinks it couldn't get any better. Two drink minimum.
• 349 E. 13th St., btw. First and Second Aves.; 212-533-6212;

Smoke hosts a revolving cast of terrific jazz bands. Big names like George Benson drop in to jam with the marquee acts, and many of the city's best side men play Sunday through Thursday for absolutely nothing more than your applause. $10 drink minimum.
• 2751 Broadway, between 105th and 106th Sts.; 212-864 6662;


Punk Rock/Heavy Metal Mondays at Arlene's Grocery

Looking to kick your karaoke up a notch? All your rockstar fantasies can come true when you step in front of a real band to belt out some vintage Aerosmith or Sex Pistols. And the best part here is you don't have pay a cover charge or a song fee to fuel your K addiction.
• 10 p.m., 95 Stanton St., at Seventh Ave.; 212-358-1633;


Rififi/Cinema Classics

Named after a 1954 French film noir, Rififi, a hipster bar with soul, doubles as a screening room, with a variety of 16mm artsy, foreign, classic and cult films shown for a mere $6. Wednesday night comedy and Thursday and Sunday night burlesque acts are also a steal ($5 or less).
• 332 E. 11th St., btw First and Second Aves.;

rock venues
The Baggot Inn

Props to the Baggot for being one of the only alternative music venues in Greenwich Village that won't bleed you dry. Enjoy the Irish hospitality of the barkeeps as you fulfill your one-drink minimum and catch the tunes of future Island Records artists. No cover, Sunday through Wednesday; $5-$10, Thursday through Saturday.
• 82 W. 3rd St., between Thompson and Sullivan Sts.; 212-477-0622;

The Living Room

A contemporary folkie haven with a revolving door of troubadours, from cable-access rejects to popular regulars such as Lianne Smith and ex-Fleshtone Robert George Warren. There's usually no cover and a one-drink minimum, but the bartenders exert only modest pressure to honor it.
• 154 Ludlow St., between Rivington and Stanton Sts.; 212-533-7234;

Luna Lounge

The Strokes, Kid Rock, and Elliot Smith have all belted, bellowed or bounced across this stage at one time or another. The club is great for catching an eclectic group of future stars and they even have their own record label, LunaSea. Three shows nightly; all are free.
• 171 Ludlow St., between Stanton and Houston Sts.; 212-260-2323;