Music venues can play a dynamic role in the neighborhood they are located in. Many music venues in New York City have a prior history as bodegas, factories, stores, printing press and more, and were repurposed for live music. As you read through the quirky history of these spots, think about the changing atmospheres of the neighborhoods they’re in. Have the venues changed the place, or has the place inspired the venues?

1. Arlene’s Grocery

Arlene's Grocery stanton street lower east side music venue new york untapped cities samantha sokol

Located at 95 Stanton Street, this venue was actually once a grocery store. Arlene’s Grocery took over a Puerto Rican Bodega and the butcher shop next door to become the two room music venue it is today. Arlene’s grocery featured bands such as The Strokes and the Bravery during its heyday. It now devotes itself to unsigned indie bands and Karaoke Fridays. We happened to walk in during their CMJ party, and we stumbled in to a free performance by Ski Lodge – check them out!

Ski lodge concert arlene's grocery stanton street lower east side new york untapped cities samantha sokol