The Experimental Aesthetes
Pre-Theater Dinner: Sparky’s
After clocking out at various book stores, bakeries, and coffee houses around the city, the crew meets at this charmingly industrial hot dog spot to enjoy their organic meat and hand-cut french fries. While seated around the cafeteria style table, with CCR or DCFC blaring in the background, they bitch about co-workers, customers, roommates, subway lines, and pretty much anything or anyone who isn’t currently present. Then, when the last drop of homemade ketchup is gone, they head en masse to the main event.
135 N5th St, Williamsburg.
Chosen Show: Art Jam at Galapagos
Through a graffitied door, past the reflecting pool, they find themselves at the entrance to a high-ceilinged, mood-lit, ultra cool bar with an improvised stage and multi-colored spotlights at the ready. A young man, dressed seductively in fishnets and falsies, asks them to give a donation. After scrounging around in the pockets of their thrift store jeans, they each give the gentleman something between one and five dollars, depending on that day’s tips. He thanks them, stamps their hands, and ushers them in. With five dollar beers (which they will nurse for the entire show) firmly in hand, they watch an hour-long cabaret variety act consisting of drag queens, interpretive dance, lesbian lounge acts, and stand-up comedy. But as soon as the final applause dies out, they’re out the door and on to the next activity.
70 N6th St, Williamsburg.
After Party Drinks: The Metropolitan
What a better way to end the evening than karaoke night at a gay bar? Here the gang fans out and flirts, sings a Smiths song or two, and generally gets lost in this bar’s dark corners, comfy booths and cheap drink specials. However, when last call comes and the flourescent lights catch them in their rude glare, they have found each other again, reluctantly ready to stumble home after another heady evening.
The Downtown Climbers
Pre-Theater Dinner: Corner Bistro
This little hole in the wall is one of this crowd’s favorite places for good reason: it’s conveniently located in the comfortably fashionable West Village and yet eschews most of that neighborhood’s posh pretenses, which is what this night is all about. So, ensconced in a corner booth, eating the city’s best hamburgers from quaint paper plates, the group discusses everything lowbrow in the highest liberal arts college manner. One of the girls selects a Cannonball Adderly song from the jukebox just as Claire Danes is spotted ordering a McSorley’s. All is right with the world.
331 W 4th St, at Jane St.
Chosen Show: Belly of a Drunken Piano, Soho Playhouse
Cell phones and pagers reverently silenced, they are treated to the vocal stylings and amused ramblings of Tom Waits, or rather, an Australian actor impersonating him. A good chunk of his bittersweet repertory is performed in a characteristic pack-a-day voice, interspersed with ribald musings and backed by a trio of solid musicians. The group is thrilled by their civilized brush with debauchery and walks out into the Soho night in search of libations.
15 Vandam St.
After Party Drinks: Milady’s
But after this performance, the usual Soho haunts will just not do. They want something with a little dirt under its fingernails. And so they choose Milady’s — a haven of a dive bar sandwiched between Chanel and Starbucks. Here the stools swivel, the tables wobble, and there’s always a game of pool. If they didn’t step outside to smoke their Marlboro Lights they could almost imagine being in (gasp) the East Village. Despite this, after a couple of Negra Modelos, everyone realizes they have to be up early, and, at a very un-Waitsian hour, decide to call it a night.
160 Prince St.
The Out-of-Town Enthusiasts
Pre-Theater Dinner: ‘21’ Club
Languishing in their Midtown hotel room has really given them an appetite. Thankfully, they made reservations three months ago at ‘21’ and have been looking forward to it (from their wistful suburban windows) ever since. After much showering and powdering of noses, they anxiously hail a cab and drive five blocks to this New York City landmark of elegant dining. They feast on (insert meaty dish here) and only then, while digesting with outlandish cocktails, do they regretfully recall what show they’re seeing.
21 W 52nd St.
Chosen Show: Sweeney Todd
Ah yes. It’s the gory Sondheim musical about murder, morals, revenge and meatpies. As this tale of justice and bloodlust begins, soothing peppermints are quietly passed down the group’s row, with a joyful hand squeeze as the strains of the first song are sung. By curtain call, they are in complete thrall of the actors, the theatre, the glitz, the glamour, in a word (or rather three), New York City. They couldn’t possibly go back to their suites now.
230 W. 49th St.
After Party Drinks: The Algonquin
A dizzy stroll (“Oh it feels so good to walk!”) brings them face to face with the legendary façade of literary New York. Once comfortably installed in the lobby bar’s large and mismatched armchairs, they self-consciously ring the bell in the middle of their old oak table. This summons a tuxedoed waiter who waits patiently as they decide which signature cocktails to order. They decide on two New Yorkers (tequila, fruit nectar and lime) a Parker (Smirnoff, Chambord and lemon juice) and a Fair Lady (Grand Marnier and white peach nectar), and when they are brought they sip and admire the stately decor while discussing what a lovely show they’ve just seen. And after a few drinks, they stop feeling so conspicuously cultured, and begin to feel, well, drunk and tired. It is at this moment (though they are not aware of it) that they have truly had their first New York experience.
59 W 44th St.