New York’s West Village Marie’s Crisis Brings Musicals to Life Till 4 AM


I always try to meander into Marie’s Crisis in the West Village on Grove Street near Seventh Avenue, a small down-to-earth laid back bar in the West Village, where you travel back in time. Here you can hang out into the wee hours of the morning singing Broadway tunes with locals.

As described in a NY Mag article, “the room first opened in the 1850s as a prostitutes’ den, became a boy bar by the 1890s, and lasted through Prohibition, when it was known as Marie’s (the “Crisis” came from “The Crisis Papers,” by Thomas Paine, who died in the same house).

For the past 35 years, it’s plowed through as a piano joint in which neighboring gay men and musical theater performers gather round the keys nightly and sing solo—numbers like “Stranger in Paradise” or “You’re the Top”—to create a mood of both giddiness and longing.

The fanciest thing at the bar itself—which serves Bud, Bud Light and Michelob Ultra, and simple mixed drinks—is the stunning WPA mirror depicting French and American Revolution scenes, its origins unknown.”

I’ve been here a number of times and it’s always charming, magical and consistent….regardless of when you go, you will be guaranteed of one thing, SINGING and great Broadway show tunes.

If you’re not in love with music, especially musicals, don’t bother going since you’ll only be a nuisance to those who cherish the stuff, yours truly included. As one local put it to me as someone scolded an out of towner who was yacking in the background, “There are a million bars in New York to go and talk. This ain’t one of then.” Hear hear brother I thought.

So few places like Marie’s Crisis on the planet and if you’re going to go, take in the incredible voices and the cheerful piano players who keep going until 4 in the morning.

As Time Out puts it, “One minute, the barmaid is pulling you a pint of Bass, the next she’s belting out “Me and Bobby McGee.”

Below is a video of Maggie Wirth singing (from 2009) though it’s about as evergreen as it gets, because she was there last year when I went, the year before that and the year before that.

She also sang when I was there this past October and while this video’s quality isn’t stellar, mine was even worst.

It’ll give you a flavor of the place and the flavor is “grand”. Just don’t request a Disney musical, although a few songs from Lion King are acceptable :-)

Photos by Shanna Ravindra (much better shape than what I snapped on my iPhone).

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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