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Cabaret in New York City

With its bootlegger-chic decor, 54 Below, seen in

With its bootlegger-chic decor, 54 Below, seen in an undated photo, aims to be a hip hangout for Broadway babies and the fans who love them. Credit: Marc Bryan-Brown

It's been a tough year for cabaret lovers, since The Algonquin Hotel shuttered its famed Oak Room, where top-tier entertainers performed. Filling the void is 54 Below, a new supper club with a louche, speak-easy feel and appropriately tawdry location beneath what used to be the infamous nightclub Studio 54. Patti LuPone opened the place in June with a new cabaret show that quickly became the hottest ticket in town. Of course, the grande dame of dining with a downbeat is the luxe, mega pricey Café Carlyle. Alas, it's closed till September. Here, four summer options, both classy and cool.


WHAT With its bootlegger chic decor, this place aims to be a hip hangout for Broadway babies and the fans who love them. Order small plates or old-timey drinks (gin rickey, Moscow mule) and enjoy your fave stars up close. There's a cover (about $30 to $85) and food/drink minimum for headliners, but none for "The Green Room" (when it's a post-theater lounge with live music) or "Backstage" (an open mic session).

DON'T MISS Long-running "Phantom" Howard McGillin on Aug. 7 and 8, jazz phenom Hilary Kole Aug. 14 to 18, Patti LuPone returns in September.

WHEN|WHERE Monday through Saturday, "Green Room" Tuesday through Thursday at 10 p.m., "Backstage" Sundays 5 to 7 p.m., 254 W. 54th St.

INFO 646-476-3551,


WHAT Singer Michael Feinstein's club offers stars (Barbara Cook), hip newbies (Maude Maggart) and lotsa Broadway. Prices are in nosebleed territory (covers about $30-$110, plus minimum). Avoid seats near the kitchen; noise can seep through. The look is sleek, simple ... and a tad sterile, but the whole building will be renovated next year, and Feinstein's will find a new home.

DON'T MISS Rebecca Kilgore's jazzy tribute to Judy Garland opening Monday, Feinstein performing with cabaret legend Marilyn Maye Sept. 4 to 22, Betty Buckley in October.

WHEN|WHERE Dark most Sundays and Mondays till September (when it's open all week), 540 Park Ave.

INFO 212-339-4095,


WHAT Located at The Public Theater and named for Public founder Joe Papp, Joe's has a decidedly downtown feel. Think urban goth, with ornate molded ceilings. And columns, which obscure some sight lines. Seating is now reserved (tickets about $15 and up, with a $12 minimum). Artists vary from pop to rock to World music.

DON'T MISS Jazz-funkster Kenny Brawner on Aug. 4, YouTube sensations The Skivvies (playing stripped-down covers -- in their skivvies) on Aug. 5, jazzy contralto Kate McGarry Aug. 10.

WHEN|WHERE 425 Lafayette St.

INFO 212-539-8778,


WHAT In the basement of his popular Red Rooster restaurant, chef Marcus Samuelsson opened a swankified spot for diverse crowds to enjoy jazz, Latin and blues. Chic banquettes and patterned screens hint of Morocco, while the menu boasts Harlem staples (chicken and waffles) and Asian touches (mushroom wontons). Trouble is, there's live music only on Sundays, no real piano (just an electric keyboard) and DJs on Fridays and Saturdays. Marcus, dude -- either do this thing or don't.

DON'T MISS Ginny's Gospel Brunch, Sundays at 11 a.m.

WHEN|WHERE Friday through Sunday. 310 Lenox Ave. (at 125th Street)

INFO 212-421-3821,

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