10 Amazing Comedy Venue Bars In New York City
New York City offers so much great comedy, it’s easy to take for granted. On any given night of the week, you can see stand-up royalty like Louis C.K. or Chris Rock at the Comedy Cellar, or catch the next SNL star “yes and-ing” their way to fame on an improv team at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.
In addition to the city’s great comedy theaters, there are tons of trendy bars where fans can down some adult bevies while catching their favorite comics. Take a look below at a few of the best comedy venue bars the Big Apple has to offer.
With two bars and a stage that hosts a bevy of hot comedy and music shows, The Bell House is hopping every night of the week. Catch comedians like Pete Holmes and Maria Bamford, or see rising stars at stand-up and storytelling showcases Risk! and The Moth. The spacious Bell House, in the warehouse and condo-heavy Gowanus section of Brooklyn, is also home to many live podcast recordings, from the wise musings of Judge John Hodgman to the pop culture quips of the Throwing Shade duo.
The popular Brooklyn bar/performance space/bocce ball court has thankfully bounced back after a recent fire shuttered its doors. Still one of the best comedy spots in the city, Union Hall is the place to see buzzy comics like Jo Firestone, Mary Houlihan and John Early. Where else can you play a game of bocce ball after catching a set by comedian Andy Kindler or a podcast recording featuring the brothers from The Adventures of Pete and Pete?
This Gowanus, Brooklyn bar, performance venue and art gallery is the home of Night Train, comedian Wyatt Cenac’s (The Daily Show, People of Earth) long-running showcase for some of the best stand-ups in NYC. It’s also the place to catch writer/comedian Lane Moore’s show Tinder Live!, where funny folks make comedic magic out of the addictive dating app.
Home to the city’s bustling burlesque scene, Lower East Side venue The Slipper Room is also where you’ll find comedian Seth Herzog’s (The Tonight Show) popular Tuesday night stand-up show Sweet. This room isn’t for the faint of heart — stay late enough, and you’re likely to see performers baring their souls and their naughty bits.
The East Village outpost of the venerable Upright Citizens Brigade theater is the place to find rising stand-up comics and improv teams. The Beast, as it’s known to regulars, also has a divey bar where you can down craft beers before catching stand-up showcase Lasers in the Jungle or an improv set from the popular team Airwolf.
Queens has been enjoying a comedy renaissance of late, thanks to hot venues like The Creek and the Cave and the performance space Q.E.D. Storytellers, comedians, open mic-ers and other oddballs let their freak flags fly in this free-wheeling, anything goes space. Want to get involved? Take a class on everything from podcasting to beekeeping.
This bustling spot for up-and-coming stand-ups, improvisers and sketch groups has helped Queens give Brooklyn a run for its cheap-beer-and-comedy-shows money. In addition to the wide variety of shows (stand-up, sketch, storytelling) every night of the week, The Creek also boasts an eclectic drink menu that pays tributes to comedy geek icons like Patton Oswalt and Chris Gethard.
This West Village comedy club/restaurant has become a mecca for stand-up fans thanks to its appearance on Louis CK’s acclaimed FX series Louie. Virtually unchanged since its ’80s heyday, The Cellar is still the place where Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Jim Gaffigan and other stand-up greats pop in to try out new material and offers an edgy alternative to mainstream comedy clubs like Carolines and Gotham.
Fans of friendly dive bars were relieved with Freddy’s moved to South Park Slope a few years back after being forced out of the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn during construction of the Barclay’s Center. These days, the lively bar hosts music and comedy shows, including the long-running stand-up showcase Ed Sullivan on Acid.
Once an upstart rival to UCB, The PIT’s three theaters (Mainstage, Underground and Loft) have become a reliable source for cutting edge stand-up and improv. The PIT Mainstage also boasts one of the nicest bars you’ll find at a black box comedy theater.