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).
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