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Ranked & Reviewed: Concert Venues in Lower Manhattan

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pace chapter.

There are so many great places in lower Manhattan to catch a show, from small bars with a stage to full-blown concert halls. Today, I will be going through every venue I’ve been to and discussing my experience so you know the best places to go see your favorite artists.

Pier 17

Artists I saw: DJ Beeba/Macklemore

Rate: 9/10

Pier 17 is the place to go for any concert! This outdoor venue is surrounded by some of the best views of the city, with the Brooklyn Bridge to your right, and the buildings of lower Manhattan to your left, you have so much more to look at than just what’s on stage. The process of getting in was super easy and fast, even though we had to go up four escalators. Getting out was a different story. Being behind the huge crowd caused it to take about 20 minutes to even reach the escalator. However, this is to be expected when any large artist performs. The experience of the crowd and the concert was amazing. The size of the venue allowed people to spread around enough to not be shoulder to shoulder with others in the crowd which gave people room to dance and cheer, and the weather made for perfect temperatures when the crowd would normally be very hot. Overall, I would 100% recommend seeing a show at Pier 17, especially if you’re in the Pace University or Financial District area (can’t beat the commute). They’ve hosted many amazing artists such as The Maine, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Elvis Costello so everyone can find something they enjoy there!

Irving Plaza

Artists I saw: Simone/Maude Latour

Rate: 9/10

Located right off of Union Square, Irving Plaza is one of the most iconic and well-loved venues in the area. Many great concert experiences have happened here, and mine was no different. The line was very well organized which made it easy to get in. We even got to see the artist walk in while we were waiting! Getting inside was extremely easy, you could tell the staff was very well trained. The actual stage area was very lovely, the way they set it up with a general admission crowd and balcony seats above so everyone could have a good view. The edge of the stage was close to the front row of the crowd, so I was able to feel close to the performer while still being in a pretty huge venue. She was able to come up to the edge of the stage and sing about one foot away from the crowd which was so amazing and surreal. At the end of the concert, I left happy with a full view the whole time and some amazing pictures. 

Le Poisson Rouge

Artist I Saw: Poi Dog Pondering

Rate: 7/10

Le Poisson Rouge is one of the more unique venues I have been to. With a combination of seating and standing room and a huge stage, everyone gets a great view. There are tables all around the place from front to back, right to left, so you can choose which angle and proximity to the stage works best for you. One of my only issues was if you come in late, it is very difficult to find a table, most of them are already taken or have people crowded around them. We did have to scan the room for about 10 minutes in order to find a seat so I would definitely recommend getting there early for the best view. The set could’ve been a lot better. I think they were just trying to fit as many people as possible which led to tables being placed extremely close together. This combined with people dancing in the aisles made it very difficult to get up to get a drink or use the bathroom. However, seeing people get up and dance was a vibe and I did like how the table setup allowed them to do this without getting in anyone’s way or taking up too much space. Overall, I would say this venue is for people who enjoy a sit-down chill vibe but want to get up and dance every once in a while.

Webster Hall

Artists I Saw: Flo/Rico Nasty

Rate: 7/10

Shoutout to Pace Board and Unleashed for this one! Since this concert was run by Pace University, I can’t say how it usually is while you’re getting in, but the Pace Board members were super efficient and got everyone inside right away. Something that I loved about Webster Hall was that they had a huge room before you got to the stage with food and drinks, bathrooms, and places to take pictures. I really love it when places have a room like this because having a huge crowd with people moving all around trying to get food or use the restroom can be a lot. This allowed people to do all that before they even entered, which I loved. The actual setup of the stage could’ve been better in my opinion. I noticed the floors weren’t slanted, so I had a difficult time seeing the stage even though I wasn’t too far back. One friend I came with noted the floor “felt like it was going to cave in,” which I agreed with. I would recommend that if you’re going to Webster Hall and don’t want to be the first person in line, get a ticket for the balcony section.

The Bitter End

Artist I saw: Simone

Rate: 6/10

The Bitter End is set up a lot like Le Poisson Rouge, with mostly tables, a bar area, and some standing room. Unfortunately, for The Bitter End, their standing area was a lot worse in my opinion, and was in a very awkward location. It was very close to the bar and the entrance, so people had to crowd in more than necessary in order to not be in each other’s way. Quite a few tables were empty, but there was a two drink minimum if you wanted to sit down. I and the other broke college student attendees weren’t about to pay that, which led to us spreading out the other areas of the venue in order to see. What I did love about this place, much like many others on this list, was the intimate vibe and feeling close to the artist. Sitting or standing you had a view of the performance from any angle. The Bitter End is definitely a great place to go if you prefer to sit down for a few drinks while you enjoy your show.

Stella Bolin is a Sophomore film student at Pace University. Outside of HER campus she also participates in film club and has worked on multiple shorts with them. When Stella isn't in school she is sewing, writing a screenplay, or watching a TV show. She also enjoys going out to parks and concerts with her friends.