Best of NYS Music 2015: Staff Picks for Best Venues in New York State

Most bands and performers have goals to play their music, record albums, have fun, and entertain thousands of fans in the largest of venues that host our favorite bands.  It takes years of dedication, hard work, and constant creativity to pursue these dreams and goals.  For almost every performer, they have to start their careers in the smaller clubs and work their way to the large venues.  Here we have our Top Staff Picks for the Best venues in New York State.

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Best Club in New York StateBrooklyn Bowl (Brooklyn, NY)

This bowling alley and live-music venue fully embraces the bowl-a-rama theme park idea. This is a great place to kill a few hours by your-self or with a group of friends.  You can down a pitcher of Brooklyn Brews, chew your way through the food menu from the Blue Ribbon team (delicious fatty brisket, Old Bay–fried chicken) lane-side between frames, while listening to/watching some the best music from around the world on their music stage.  This establishment is also certified L.E.E.D Green with use of 100% wind energy, all beverages being on-tap only (No cans and bottles), cork and recycled truck tire flooring, and energy efficient electronics and appliances.  There’s no wonder why this was voted the best club.

“Basically, Brooklyn Bowl is the Pimp My Ride of music venues. It has a 16-lane bowling alley with big-ass HD TV screens situated above the pins. “Rock. And Roll. Fries” and the “Really Sloppy Joe” are on the Blue Ribbon-supplied menu. And they book wonderfully odd and unexpected novelty shows such as Lebowski Fest, the Regional Air Guitar Championships, and Snoop Dogg. Most of the time, however, the Bowl brings out the latest in indie rock, punctuated by seasonal specialties like Questlove’s weekly DJ residency. Their couches are really comfortable, too.”  – The Village Voice

moe.yearsBest Theatre in New York StatePalace Theatre (Albany, NY)

The top pick by our staff for best theatre turned out to be a good one.  The Palace Performing Arts Center is a Baroque-style theater dating to 1931 hosts concerts, classic movies & the Albany Symphony Orchestra.  This theatre is a favorite among many bands and performers visiting the capital region with its 2,800 person capacity, beautifully carved moldings, and painted ceilings. It holds events that spawn from broadways the Nutcracker to celebrating New Years Eve with the progressive jam-band Moe.  The theater has also been profiting tremendously for the last 4 years straight since under new management.

Best Arena/Amphitheater in New York StateSaratoga Performing Arts Center (Saratoga Springs, NY)

With a close race in this category, SPAC came out on top for our staff pick of the best large venue in New York State.  The Saratoga Performing Arts Center is a complex with a large Amphitheatre and smaller theatre that hosts every single kind of music known from around the world and also hosts banquets and events for local high schools and companies.  This year of 2016, SPAC is celebrating its 50th anniversary and is also up for its contract renewal with New York State.

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Best NEW Venue in New York StateLakeview Amphitheater & Funk ‘N’ Waffles Downtown (Syracuse, NY)

Tied for Top Pick of the best NEW venue in New York State by our staff are two venues located in Syracuse, NY.   The Lakeview Amphitheater was built this year and opened to the public in late summer, hosting one of Country music’s biggest stars, Miranda Lambert.  The all-new state of the art venue seats over 17,000 people and has a picturesque view of Onondaga Lake.

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Funk ‘N’ Waffles Downtown was established in late 2014 and is located near Armory Square in downtown Syracuse.   The 2nd location is an offshoot of the original restaurant-slash-club located on Marshall St, near the University.  The downtown spot is set up to hold 100+ people and divided into two sections (Coffee shop and Bar with live music).   They serve a wonderful selection of local and popular NYS beers, have state of the art technology for their visiting musicians, and have an original tasty concoction of waffles to choose from.   NYS Music is also co-sponsoring Wednesday Nights with live music every week in December.

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