151 Bleecker St
New York, 10012
Hours: 11a-4a Daily
Subway: A,B,C,D,E,F,M to West 4th St
Written by: Emily Niewendorp
Sports bar by day, music venue by night: the Red Lion brings traditional English pub culture to Bleecker Street. The venue attracts students from NYU, and a lively mix of American and European professionals. At night’s end, everyone from avid sports fans to dancing couples mix together in rowdy fun.
The Red Lion opened in 1983. Ten years later, current owner Andrew Breslin took over, inspired to support local musicians. Red Lion has a neighborly and low-key feel during the week when it features original music and singer-songwriters. Its weekend line-up attracts large crowds from the NYC area—some are ‘dressed to the nines’—who come out to hear familiar cover songs played by a live band. The Dugger Bros Band with its dynamite, rhythm and blues show is a Sunday night staple.
Throughout its history, Red Lion has lent its stage to several, notable names in music: Bob Dylan hung out here in the ’80s; John Mayer has also stopped by. Musicians that often play here include: Gavin DeGraw, Milo Z, Dana Fuchs, The Nerds and Michael Brunnock, among others.
Upon entering the venue, the small stage sits to the left backdropped in bold colors. The bar stretches across the length of the room, staffed with friendly bartenders who converse with regulars on a first-name basis. Seating is provided throughout the wood-paneled room, under tiled murals of legendary musicians. Red Lion also has outdoor seating, a perk that few other Bleecker Street venues can provide.
The kitchen is open until midnight. It serves American-European cuisine, an all-day English breakfast and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. (Note: the Bloody Marys are great.) An ATM is housed in an old-fashioned, red telephone booth in the back.