Marie's Crisis Café

Dive Bar / Gay Bar / Piano Bar
Marie's Crisis Café "Located in the historic building where Thomas Paine wrote ""The Crisis Papers"" during the Revolutionary War, Marie's Crisis Café is a mellow hetero-friendly gay piano bar that attracts a mix of entertainment and musical..." New York United States 40.7331836 -74.0034095
3.83 7
Marie's Crisis Café - Dive Bar | Gay Bar | Piano Bar in New York.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Located in the historic building where Thomas Paine wrote “The Crisis Papers” during the Revolutionary War, Marie’s Crisis Café is a mellow hetero-friendly gay piano bar that attracts a mix of entertainment and musical... ... read full review

  • Subway:

    1: Christopher Street-Sheridan Square-7th Avenue South

  • Hours:

    Daily 4pm–4am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Marie's Crisis Café Review

The Scene

"Located in the historic building where Thomas Paine wrote ""The Crisis Papers"" during the Revolutionary War, Marie's Crisis Café is a mellow hetero-friendly gay piano bar that attracts a mix of entertainment and musical..."

Located in the historic building where Thomas Paine wrote “The Crisis Papers” during the Revolutionary War, Marie’s Crisis Café is a mellow hetero-friendly gay piano bar that attracts a mix of entertainment and musical types and patrons who just like to get buzzed and sing show tunes.

A dark cellar at the bottom of some crooked stairs, the simple venue consists of a single room lit by rainbow-colored Christmas lights and featuring a bar backed by an unusual WPA mirror depicting scenes from the French and American Revolutions and the inscription Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité – a revolutionary motto given whole new levels of meaning in this setting.

Marie’s centerpiece, of course, is the piano fitted out with a drink ledge and red leather stools where men in muscle shirts and madras shorts congregate to belt out theater standards between sips of bootleg classics like Georgi and Old Crow.

Less musically inclined guests tend to lay low at the bar to chat with straight newcomers, though a few drinks later even the most tone-deaf patrons will warble along with the off-night Broadway stars and gifted regulars.

In a place where the tunes last all night and new friends last for life, perhaps Marie’s real crisis is that the show must end when dawn breaks and the bleary-eyed but happy crowd must climb the stairs back to the present.

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Tip from Emma:

Between songs, ask one of the regulars to tell you about the ghosts that haunt the bar – but no laughing! The patrons and bar owner take the paranormal activity seriously.

  • Crowd

    Older gay crowd, Broadway musical actors, local young professionals, and tourists, 30s to 60s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Bar staff plays piano from 5:30pm to closing.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Free appetizer buffet. Happy Hour daily 4–9pm. Cash only.

  • Prices

    Beer $4+, wine $5+, mixed drinks $5+.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Anything goes: muscle tanks, casual jeans, and button-downs for guys, comfy and unfussy outfits for girls.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Mondays for the talented crowd of off-duty Broadway stars, understudies, and aficionados. Friday and Saturday nights for a busy weekend scene.

  • Close By

    Stonewall Inn (53 Christopher Street) – the namesake bar of the 1969 riots that marked the beginning of gay liberation – draws a mostly gay clientele happy to welcome anyone interested in the history of this iconic spot.

Marie's Crisis Café User Reviews

Average rating:
Much Ado for nothing
Alex J. Aug 26, 2013
When your Professor recommends a place for its Broadway music you don't hesitate... until you cross the entrance and you see a group of people singing stuff that they only know. It feels like a karaoke with live music, not very nice staff and a very low roof that burdens even the dwarfs. If you are looking for real music go to the pub next door.
A great local dive, if you dig the vibe
Adrianna M. Jun 3, 2013
I've been a Marie's regular for some time now--really, it's like my own personal Cheers. I go for the showtunes (live and all night long), the people (fun to be around), and the atmosphere (relaxed and non-judgmental), as well as the strong drinks. Weekday happy hour drink specials ($3 well drinks) are strong and will loosen you up after a long day at work, and soon you'll be belting your heart out with the rest of the bar. I prefer weekdays because it's so much less crowded than on the weekends. It's given me a chance to become good friends with some of the pianists, staff, and other regular patrons. As much as I love this place, weekends are not my favorite. The staff and pianists are still amazing, but it gets a little crowded for my taste. It's definitely a powerful experience, though, being part of a SRO crowd where most everyone is singing along and bonding through the music. If you like being part of a crowd, or like anonymity of it, you'll prefer Friday or Saturday nights. Just know that there tends to be a line outside those days, although you probably won't wait more than ten minutes.
A West Village Must-see!
Christopher M. May 3, 2013
Quintessentially quaint and predictably entertaining, Marie’s Crisis will make you feel warm, charmed, and the greatest singer in the world. Not a fan of singing? No problem. But don’t be surprised when you notice yourself humming a tune or two over the course of the evening. From the moment you walk into this worn basement bar, you are greeted with a piano and a crowd of regulars standing around belting their favorite show tunes; for it’s in this bar where it won’t take long to become a regular and where any show tune is a favorite. If you’re a theatre lover, this is a must-visit bar. It’s here where you will see amateur singers with the pipes and charisma that will rival what you see on or off Broadway. Be sure to tip the pianist, s/he loves playing requests!
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