ZINC BAR, NYC — The New York City music scene really can be a small place.
When I walked into the Zinc Bar, the band leader and I looked at each other as if we knew each other. And we did!
Barry Bryson, the electrifying trumpet player and Louis Armstrong “channeler” extraordinaire, had welcomed me to Arthur’s Cafe a week earlier when he was performing with The Grove Street Stompers! This evening, he was leading Stan Rubin’s Tigertown Five at The Zinc Bar.
These guys, in their blue blazers and orange-and-blue Princeton ties, hardly look like a rocking Dixieland jazz band, but the minute they launch into a song, it’s pure joy and incredible musicianship.
Each player — the clarinetist, the pianist, the bass player, drummer, trombone player, and Barry on the horn — delivers solos that are masterpieces. The clarinet play in particular clearly feels the music from his head to his toes.
Again, the time to catch these guys, and almost any band in New York if you want to enjoy the music and not fight the crowds, is the early show, almost always starting at 7 PM.
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THE BAND: On Facebook, on YouTube, on iTunes, their website
THE CLUB: The Zinc Bar
COST: There was a $10 cover charge the night I went, but as with all these low-cover bars, well worth the price for the talent. There was no drink minimum, however, which is nice.
BEER (Sorry, I’m not a cocktails or wine guy): Limited but excellent selection including the (yuck) stables and some good craft beers. Not cheap, but they’ve got to keep the lights on, right?
ATMOSPHERE: You can actually listen to the band from the bar in the front room without paying the cover to get into the back room, but that’s for cheapskates who probably aren’t there to really appreciate the music. The back room has the basic small tables around the edges of the room and packed into the middle. If you get there early, you can sit right up front within feet of the band.
GOOD TO KNOW: They do not serve food, but do allow you to bring your own, and there are tons of great restaurants nearby. I stopped at a jerk chicken place at _______ and got a half chicken and rice for just ___.