With two Golden Globes and two Critics’ Choice Television Awards for ‘Best Comedy Series’ and ‘Best Actress in a Comedy Series,’ you’ve likely heard of ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’. If you haven’t, don’t worry – this article doesn’t contain any spoilers.
Amazon’s hit comedy series is about a typical devoted 1950s housewife who, after some marital strife, finds she has a knack for stand-up comedy. The cast and the storyline are strong, but what makes the show even better is its depiction of 1950-1960s Greenwich Village. From the start of the show, Greenwich Village is cast as an escape: a place where the Maisel’s, who reside in the upper west side, look forward to visiting for fun and to express themselves at night. There’s a strong underlying theme in the show where Greenwich Village serves as a plot device for the characters to truly be themselves and discover who they are, a stark contrast to their chaotic daily lives uptown.
The hip club that Miriam Maisel gets her break at is The Gaslight Café, an underground café that closed in 1971. While you can’t spend an evening enjoying a show at this café anymore, there are still a couple of other notable places to enjoy that were equally as popular during that era.
The Village Vanguard
178 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014
This iconic jazz club opened its doors in 1935, a good 20 or so years before the time period set in ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’. The Vanguard was meant to be a forum for artists of all kinds – poets, artists, writers, and musicians. In its early years, the club catered to poets and writers more frequently than the occasional performance from folk artists. However, by the late 1950s jazz was the main focus of the club and remains the focus to this day.
115 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012
Opening in 1959 Cafe Wha? was a relatively new club in comparison to The Gaslight Café or Village Vanguard. The venue welcomed musicians and comedians with big names we still talk about today, including Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, The Velvet Underground, and Joan Rivers. Today you’ll find the Café Wha? house band playing in addition to guest performers. The house band has gained quite the reputation amongst clubgoers in New York City and the world.
The Bitter End
147 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012
The Bitter End made its debut in 1961 and is considered the oldest rock club in New York City. Originally, the venue operated as a coffee shop, performance venue, and place to play pool (as Bob Dylan often did). The list of performers ranges from Dylan and Joan Baez to Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, and beyond. Today you’ll find live music every night in a variety of genres, as well as open mic nights and jam sessions for aspiring musicians.