130 West 3rd St
New York, NY 10012
Hours: Tues-Sat 9p-4a, open Sun
Subway: A,B,C,D,E,F,M to West 4th St
Written by: Emily Niewendorp
The Village Underground brings to life music and memories from the past four decades. The entryway is demure and understated compared to its neighbor and sister-bar, The Fat Black Pussycat. Downstairs, the dark brick walls and columns exude a hip, basement environment. This medium-sized room provides a variety of seating: large booths in the back and small tables that skirt the stage. On the walls, posters of prominent ’60s rock and folk musicians recall the venue’s former activities.
The Village Underground played an important role in the modern, folk-rock era. Originally known as Gerde’s Folk City, from 1970 to 1987, the venue yielded up such legends as Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello. In 2000, Noam Dworman, who formerly owned Cafe Wha? around the corner, opened The Village Underground to revive the live music scene in Greenwich Village. The space was given an overhaul, and bands—now playing a variety of music genres—began to groove on the large, well-lit stage.
The Village Underground is not known for folk music these days, but instead hosts rock, R&B, funk, reggae, world and country music. The venue has a namesake in its own band: The Village Underground, which performs popular covers every Wednesday through Friday. The large band invigorates the room and people jump to their feet, dancing and getting ‘down ‘n’ dirty’ in the aisles. DJs spin on Saturday night and individual musicians take to the open mic on Sundays. The Cheryl Pepsii Singers, followed by guest bands, jam on Mondays, and world music takes over on Tuesdays.
All the musicians create remixes in their own styles and bring their own recipes from time to time, diffusing creative energy around the room—and the crowd loves it.