Best Live Music spots on the UES/Tim Mossholder, Unsplash
Best Live Music spots on the UES/Tim Mossholder, Unsplash

Best Spots for Live Music on the Upper East Side

MANHATTAN – Madison Square Garden and Barclays may be the stage for some of our top-billboard artists, however, there’s no need to buy a ticket to experience live music–especially in New York. The Upper East Side is home to some of the most lively performers who use our favorite bars, restaurants and lounges as their stage. Below, we break down where to see live music every night of the week, right here in our neighborhood.

Brandy’s Piano Bar

Every Night of the Week

For the last 35 years, Brandy’s Piano Bar has been serving up the most amazing live music to the Upper East Side neighborhood. Every night of the week, starting at 9:30 pm and going all the way to 3:00 am, the bar comes alive with sounds from the pianos and vocalists singing everything from classic hits to show tunes.

Brandy's Piano Bar has live music every night/Elizabeth Blasi for Upper East Site
Brandy’s Piano Bar has live music every night/Elizabeth Blasi for Upper East Site

While there is no cover charge to listen to live music, Brandy’s Piano Bar does require a two drink minimum for all customers. Before heading over to Brandy’s at 235 East 84th Street, between Third and Second Avenues, check out their schedule online. It’s updated every week with their live musical talent that varies day-to-day. 

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Bemelmans Bar

Every Night of the Week

If you’re looking for an ‘experience’, whether it’s a romantic date night or a friend’s night out, there’s something special about the Bemelmans Bar in the iconic Carlyle Hotel on Madison between East 76th and 77th Streets. Every night of the week, the bar’s lounge hosts Jazz Piano starting at 5:30pm – 8:30pm, on Sunday-Tuesday enjoy music from Earl Rose; while every Wednesday through Saturday enjoy the music from Rob Mosci.

Bemelmans Bar has live music every night/Upper East Site
Bemelmans Bar has live music every night/Elizabeth Blasi for Upper East Site

Forewarning, this spot is not for the penny-pinchers or impatient New Yorkers. Expect to drop at least $20 for a music cover at the bar ($35 per table), while a cocktail can run you $24. However, price aside the music, shared plates, and drinks will create a memorable evening.

Don’t miss the Madeline drawings on the wall, as the bar is named after the child’s book author Ludwig Belelmans. 

Madeline drawings on the walls of Bemelmans Bar/Elizabeth Blasi for Upper East Site
Madeline drawings on the walls of Bemelmans Bar/Elizabeth Blasi for Upper East Site

Mission Ceviche 

Wednesdays and Sundays 

While enjoying your authentic pisco sour and canchitas, listen to live music at Mission Ceviche. Every Wednesday from 5:00 to 7:00 pm and on Sunday from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, the restaurant hosts Renzo Tipacti– a Peruvian musician, singer, composer, and producer from the capital city of Lima.

Mission Ceviche hosts live music on Wednesdays and Sundays/Elizabeth Blasi for Upper East Site
Mission Ceviche hosts live music on Wednesdays and Sundays/Elizabeth Blasi for Upper East Site

His performances have been featured on Sofar sounds and can be found on Spotify. The restaurant turns into a party, where guests are using the hallways for a dance room. Mission Ceviche is located on Second Avenue between East 71st and 72nd Streets on the UES. 

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AOC East 

Wednesdays

Every Wednesday between 7:00 and 10:00 pm, the French bistro AOC East hosts the legendary reggae band, The Brooklyners. The bar and restaurant turn into a fun and lively center focused around entertainment, wine and delicious French cuisine.

AOC East has live music on Wednesdays from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm/Elizabeth Blasi for Upper East Site
AOC East has live music on Wednesdays from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm/Elizabeth Blasi for Upper East Site

There’s something about sipping a cabernet, listening to reggaeton, and feasting on mussels & frites in candlelight that creates the perfect Wednesday evening.  Enjoy AOC East, located on First Avenue between East 82nd and 83rd Streets. 

Stella & Fly

Wednesdays and Fridays

One of our neighborhood’s favorites, Stella & Fly, also hosts live music every Wednesday and Friday in their quaint coffee shop and wine bar. While their Friday night musicians are traditionally traveling lineups with significant following in the UES– such as the Lock Smith Band or Mike O’Malley– Wednesday’s lineup is a little different.

The coffee shop and wine bar, located at 1705 First Avenue between East 88th and 89th Streets, hosts the Big City Folk Song Club, which showcases talent and their new sets and songs (each musician playing is their own songwriter as well). Music goes from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. 

Phil Hughes

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Thursdays

If you’re a Phil Hughes fan you may be scratching your heads, ‘Phil Hughes has live music on Sunday’, well not anymore. As of December 2nd, Phil Hughes now features live music every Thursday with performer John Malone at 8:00 pm.

Phil Hughes hosts live music on Thursdays/Elizabeth Blasi for Upper East Site
Phil Hughes hosts live music on Thursdays/Elizabeth Blasi for Upper East Site

A traditional Irish bar in every sense of the word, enjoy wonderful music, lively bartenders and even a game of pool or darts. Either eat before you go, or bring food in, as they don’t have a kitchen– however, they do have Tayto crisps, which are a tasty Irish snack. Phil Hughes Bar is located at 1682 First Avenue at the corner of East 88th Street.

Avoca

Thursdays and Sundays

One of the newest hot spots in the Upper East Side, Avoca on First Avenue between East 87th and 88th street not only houses a great craft beer selection, but live music every Sunday as well. 

Avoca hosts live music on Sundays/Elizabeth Blasi for Upper East Site
Avoca hosts live music on Sundays/Elizabeth Blasi for Upper East Site

The bar and restaurant also house musical appearances from UES performer John Malone, as well as traveling musicians making their way through our neighborhood. When walking by Avoca, check to see if you hear live music– as a Thursday stroll led this reporter into the bar with the sound of live tunes. 

*Music nights can shift month to month, make sure to check their instagram, website, or call in to confirm live music for the night

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