The sign out front says it all: "Funk – Ska – Ja' Rock." Da Funky Phish is a festive place that brings in many musicians you're not likely to see elsewhere. The omnipresent owner, Craig Rera, makes a concerted effort to book bands that don't sound like the top 40 pop charts. Lots of music fans appreciate the change of pace, which, in addition to the genres listed above, strays into soul, bluegrass, and jazz. "We're just trying to get some creative juices flowing here," says Rera. The management's laissez-faire attitude guarantees that anybody can feel comfortable in Da Funky Phish's four distinct chambers: the dance floor, "Soho Underground" pool room, "Moulin Rouge" corridor, and "San Bernardino" outdoor patio. For food, bartenders serve giant soft pretzels with mustard from a toaster oven. In summer, the garrulous Rera cooks hot dogs and hamburgers on the outdoor patio. Open mic Tuesdays can be interesting, especially with the sweetener that anybody who gets on stage drinks for $1 the rest of the night. The friendly vibe in the bar suggests that even the worst acts pass without heckling. Of course, lots of fish hang from the black ceiling, which is adorned with stars and whimsical spray painting. --Devon Smith

Top Stories