Marie’s Crisis Cafe – A Broadway show in a dive bar theater
There are few places in New York City that are as iconic and well known as the shows and musicals on Broadway. Tourists from all over the world descend on the city and pay top dollar to see the most talented singers in the world perform in the city that never sleeps. Yet that culture and passion for broadway style music is not relegated just to midtown and broadway. Located within the West Village is a dive bar that epitomizes a deep love for show tune music, community, and fun.
Marie’s Crisis Cafe is a bar that has roots all the way back to the 1850’s when it was used as a den for prostitution and was also the building where Thomas Payne died (the writer of Common Sense in 1776). This history can still be seen in the fabulous French revolution themed mirror which frames the back of the bar. Unique in so many different ways, Marie’s Crisis has been a staple of New York City for a very long time.
For those who aren’t interested in paying for a $100 ticket to a show and yearn to listen to musical quality show tunes in the confines of a divey bar in the West Village than you really have to look no further than Marie’s Crisis Cafe. Marie’s Crisis is one part dive bar, one part piano bar, and one part broadway show. Walking down into the depths of Marie’s there are a few things that stand out, the first being the piano directly in the center with its own bar top and stools featured around it. This bar however doesn’t serve alcohol (that bar is in the back). The bar around the piano is only reserved for those who plan to sing along with the piano player who belts forth a steady stream of show tunes and ballads along with his bar compatriots. For years regulars have been flocking to this bar to join in a chorus of Broadway style songs accompanied by a single piano player. Those thinking that this is just another karaoke bar need not apply as the bar veterans gathered around the piano are no mere mortals, but gifted with voices that you could find on any Broadway stage. So be prepared to be amazed by the quality of music you will hear… it really puts any juke box to shame. The bar setting however is what you would picture a dive bar deep in the West Village to look like… sticky tables, holiday lights up year round, and solid happy hour specials. The last being what surprised me the most as the drink specials lasted until 9 whereas most happy hours in the city end at 7.
So if you are interested in listening to a rendition of “Suddenly Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors while you drink a Bud Light, then this fantastic little bar is for you.
New Yorker Tip: Marie’s Crisis is mostly viewed as a gay bar but don’t let that keep you away. The music and atmosphere are both fantastic and this bar is unlike any you are likely to find within NYC.