10 Cool Under-The-Radar Activities In NYC

Sofar Sounds, Courtesy of notauniqueid/Flickr
Sofar Sounds, Courtesy of notauniqueid/Flickr
Photo of Julia Goicochea
9 February 2017

Hailed as ‘the city that never sleeps,’ New York City offers round-the-clock entertainment for early birds and night owls alike. From gender-bending theater to private concerts, the city’s under-the-radar entertainment makes the case for skipping the standard brunch and Broadway this weekend. Here are 10 under-the-radar activities for unique New York City fun.

Sofar Sounds, Courtesy of notauniqueid/Flickr

Sofar Sounds’ Intimate Concerts

International entertainment company Sofar Sounds brings the best under-the-radar music acts to your own backyard – literally. With the help of Sofar, private apartments and local businesses are transformed into intimate concert halls showcasing the hottest before-they-break bands and artists.

Manhattan Shakespeare Project’s Theater Performances

Step aside, Shakespeare in the Park: Manhattan Shakespeare Project’s gender-bending theater performances are the hottest tickets in town. Reinventing classic Shakespearean works including Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew, this all-female Shakespeare company brings the bard into the 21st century.

Bembe’s Calendar of Creative Events

Bar, Nightclub, Pub Grub, $$$
Map View
Enjoy Latin-leaning tunes, tequila, and nightly themed events at Williamsburg’s Bembe. Part-gallery and part-nightclub, this multicultural hotspot caters to a creative crowd with monthly art exhibitions, daily-changing DJs, and funky fusion dance parties. Hosting exciting events each night of the week, Bembe is Brooklyn’s party scene’s best-kept secret.

Syndicated’s Dinner-and-a-Movie Experience

Gastropub, Pub Grub, $$$
Map View
Reinventing the tired dinner-and-a-movie night out, Bushwick’s recently-opened dine-in theater Syndicated helps step up your date-night game. Enjoy classic films and throwback blockbusters while dining on bacon-butter meatballs, duck confit nachos, and hot fried chicken. The best part? Syndicated’s $3-$5 ticket prices leave you with plenty of cash for drinks at the bar – or a double feature.

Mehanata’s Sub-Zero Vodka Drinking Room

Bar, Nightclub, Pub Grub, $$$
Map View
For a taste of New York’s unique nightlife-and an excellent Instagram opportunity, visit Mehanata, a Bulgarian nightclub known for its vodka-filled below-zero bunker. To experience Mehanata’s ‘ethereal Siberian discotheque,’ patrons don arctic-appropriate Soviet military wear before enjoying shots of the bar’s premium vodkas. Offering intoxicating enjoyment rarely found outside of a drinking game, Mehanata delivers the only unforgettable experience you may have trouble remembering the next morning.

Brooklyn’s Food Book Fair

For foodies seeking a peek inside the kitchen, Brooklyn’s Food Book Fair delivers three days of literature, libations, and more. Authors, chefs, and restauranteurs converge at this culinary culture fest to trade tips and explore the food industry from different perspectives. Serving on-site refreshments from Brooklyn Brewery, Farm to People, and Four & Twenty Blackbirds, the fair’s food line-up will satisfy your expectations-and your appetite.

Cake Shop, Courtesy of The All-Nite Images/Flickr

Cake Shop’s Reading and Music Series

Bar, Gastropub, Pub Grub
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Bakery-cum-music venue Cake Shop champions hyphenated entertainment, like the shop’s reading and music series which merges literature and live musical performances. Join poets and fiction writers as they read from recent works followed by performances by indie music acts for a unique evening of multimedia entertainment.

Bunna Cafe’s Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

Restaurant, Cafe, Ethiopian, Vegan, Vegetarian, $$$
Map View
Bunna Cafe, New York
Bunna Cafe, New York

Immerse yourself in Ethiopian culture at Bunna Cafe, a Bushwick eatery offering flavorful vegan cuisine and free ethnic entertainment. The traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, performed live at the cafe several nights a week, entails an elaborate process of roasting, grounding, and brewing which results in rich and spicy bunna, or Ethiopian coffee. At Bunna Cafe, dinner is the show as the captivating coffee ceremony is followed by complementary bunna for all patrons.

Bluestockings’ Feminist Book Club Meetings

Bookstore, Store
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Bluestockings | © Alexa/Flickr
No one does educational entertainment quite like Bluestockings, an alternative bookstore-cum-activist center dedicated to broadening minds and boundaries. Discussing everything from theoretical texts to contemporary literature, Bluestockings’ Feminist Book Club meetings are open to seasoned scholars as well as curious newcomers. Also hosting women and trans open mic nights, kundalini yoga classes, and talks on topics such as veganism and non-monogamy, Bluestockings’ events calendar is your ultimate source for alternative entertainment.

Sunday Dinner’s Unique Dinner Parties

Recalling the sit-down family dinners of your youth, Brooklyn’s Sunday Dinners hosts a weekly themed dinner party with an exciting yet unusual guest list. Open to anyone who wishes to attend, this event takes the idea behind a restaurant’s community table and runs with it – all the way to a private Brooklyn apartment. A great way to meet new people, Sunday Dinners’ guests are invited to bring food to share, ingredients to cook with others, or their own company.

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