Americana, Bluegrass, Folk and Country Music in Brooklyn: Jalopy, Sunny’s, Skinny Dennis and more

(Updated – Sept 15, 2016)

New York City is experiencing a roots music revival the likes of which it hasn’t seen since the early 1960s. A number of nationally recognized acts have moved to the area, including MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Chris Thile, performer-producer Michael Daves, and virtuoso string player Sarah Jarosz. This influx of talent has been welcomed by a host of Brooklyn venues, some old, some new, but all great places to hear that old time music. Here are a few.

Calamity Janes at Jalopy

Jalopy (Red Hook)
The Jalopy Theatre and School of Music features a hand-built proscenium stage, rows of wooden pews, beer and wine served in Mason jars and some of the best musical talent in the country. Inspired by the action on stage and want to join in? Jalopy also sells vintage stringed instruments and offers a range of vocal and instrumental classes for all ages and experience levels. And each Sunday at 11 a.m., there is a program specifically for families with young children.

The Calamity Janes at Jalopy courtesy of Alan P. via Foursquare


sunnys-bar-brooklynSunny’s Bar via Facebook

Sunny’s Bar (Red Hook)
The oldest continually run bar on the Brooklyn waterfront, Sunny’s began life in the 1930s as a luncheonette and was named for current owner, Sunny Balzano. Together with his wife Tone Johansen, he has transformed the one-time speakeasy into a cultural hub featuring live music from notables like Smokey Hormel, plays, readings, an art gallery, and its renowned Saturday night bluegrass jam.


skinny-dennis-brooklyn-mother-falconMother FalconSkinny Dennis via Facebook

Skinny Dennis (Williamsburg)
Relative newcomer Skinny Dennis advertises itself as a honky tonk that serves cold beer, hot peanuts and live music. Named for Skinny Dennis Sanchez, bass player for Nashville legend Guy Clark, the bar offers music every night of the week, featuring acts that span the gamut from all-acoustic bluegrass to hardcore country and western, with an early four p.m. show on Sundays.


bar-chord-brooklynOld friends jamming | Bar Chord via Facebook

Bar Chord (Ditmas Park)
In addition to bluegrass and Americana, this Ditmas Park treasure offers comedy, jazz, blues and reggae, making any night a good night to drop in and see what’s happening. Local acts like John Pinamonti and the Strung Out String Band make this a great place to hear original folk and bluegrass tunes, while its huge selection of bourbon, rye and scotch ensure a lively audience vibe.


freddys-bar-make-music-ny-brooklynMake Music NY | Freddy’s Bar via Yelp

Freddy’s Bar (Park Slope)
The original Freddy’s was a Park Slope dive prized for its back room performance space and quirky atmosphere, and the new Freddy’s picked up exactly where they left off. Music fans can watch a live performance in a variety of styles and genres on any given night, from karaoke nights to funk to jazz and, of course, Americana. The Cashank Hootenanny (named for Johnny Cash and Hank Williams) is a raucous open mic that happens the first Thursday of each month.


superfine-brooklyn-nyc-redbirds-jazz-trioThe Redbirds Jazz Trio | Superfine via Facebook

Superfine (DUMBO)
Every Sunday, DUMBO cornerstone Superfine hosts one of the oldest continually running bluegrass brunches in the city, drawing such outstanding talent as the Demolition String Band, Morningside Drive and the Brooklyn Bluegrass Collective. The stage and excellent sound system also get put to use throughout the week for a variety of different acts.


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