New York City

Arlene’s Grocery is a Great Spot to Catch Up and coming Musicians in NYC

Charlie Bell

I’ve been on a live music kick. I believe live music makes you feel young. I’ve gone to big venues to see Green Day, Foo Fighters, and Depeche Mode this year. I’ve also been to smaller venues to see Citizen Cope. A frequent stop of mine lately has been to Arlene’s Grocery in Manhattan.

Arlene’s Grocery opened in 1995. A former bodega turned bar and stage, Arlene’s Grocery is a place for musicians to showcase their talent. Many artists get their start at Arlene’s Grocery. Lady Gaga, The Strokes, Jeff Buckley, Arcade Fire, Lana Del Rey, and many others graced Arlene’s stage during their early years.

Growing up with Green Day and Finally Seeing Them in Concert

Taking my Daughter to se Depeche Mode

Upon entering Arlene’s, patrons first encounter a bar and open area. The live music happens in the basement. Stepping down a few steps, a small performance space is found. A bar lines one wall, which is where I usually huddle up. The front of the room is where the action is. The sound is always great inside the venue.

Before I started going to Arlene’s Grocery, I was a wee bit worried I would no longer fit in where young people congregate. My grey hair and bald spot might stick out in a sea of youth. Those worries had not basis, because music doesn’t care how old you are. I’ve always felt welcomed among a community of music lovers.

This is probably why I love taking photos of musicians. When you’re in a small venue/bar, you notice the passion and joy. It’s an infectious feeling. Often when I photograph a landscape, I find it boring. A photo of a musician tells a story without needing words.

Head to Arlene’s Grocery and take out that phone. You’ll definitely catch something good.

Arlene’s is in the Lower East Side at 95 Stanton Street.

On the night I brought my camera, the acts were Charlie Bell, Johnny Nicholl, Mel Bryant, and Phendste. All the acts were phenomenal.

All photos were taken with a Sony a7rii. 

Johnny Nicholl
Johnny Nicholl
Mel Bryant
Charlie Bell
Charlie Bell


Other things to do in NYC:
Wonderland Dream: Where Visitors Become Art
Spyscape: Spying and solving in NYC
Visiting Madame Tussauds
Batman X at Spycape
Rise NY
History of the Liberty Pole in City Hall Park
History of Bowling Green’s Fence
Visiting St. Paul’s Chapel
Gaming at the Paley Center
Harry Potter NY
Great Jones Distilling
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Moulin Rouge on Broadway
Unmarked Slave Burial Ground
Hamilton Dueling Grounds
List of Museums in NYC that are free or have suggested prices
Visiting the Guggenheim with my Toddler
Visiting the MoMA with Kids 
Visiting Hamilton Grange
Visiting Grant’s Tomb
Visiting the American Girl Store

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