217 Houston St | New York, 10002 | 212-260-4700
Hours: 6p-3a Daily
Subway: J,M,F to Essex St/Delancey St | F to 2nd Ave
Written by: Brian Thunders
At the crossroads of the Lower East Side, Houston and Essex, stands a former tombstone shop turned rock club, The Mercury Lounge, home to a unique history. Once upon a time it housed the servants to the Astor Mansion and a labyrinth of tunnels below ground connected the two buildings.
Opened in 1993 by The Bowery Presents, The Mercury Lounge is long established as the premier small-size LES live music venue, catering to New York’s rock and indie scene.
The space is akin to the great NYC rock clubs—a long, wooden bar with lighting that allows you to see and be seen. On any given night you can rub shoulders with the band before they perform. The bar has typical rock-club fare: reasonably priced bottles and tap beers, as well as a full liquor selection.
Past the bar through swinging double doors is the live room, a large space that’s acoustically treated for some of the best sound in NYC. The stage is lit tastefully, without any overly attention grabbing strobes or spots. It is the perfect sized room: you’re never too far from the band, but the place holds a decent amount of people—and gets packed often—so, everyone in the room is there for the same purpose, enjoying the same thing. It adds to the experience. The outer edge of the live room is lined with couches and a server near the entrance will give your drink orders to the bartenders through a cut-out in the wall.
The Mercury Lounge has been host to some of the biggest names in music, including Radiohead, 30 Seconds to Mars, Lou Reed, Joan Jett, Jeff Buckley, The Strokes, Jim Jones, Interpol, Tony Bennett, the Dandy Warhols, Broken Social Scene, The Killers, Lady Gaga, and more.