Eine Kleine Nachtmusic

“Y’know, we can’t believe it – every time we come to New York we find another neighbourhood where you just wouldn’t have gone to a few years ago – and then, you get somewhere like THIS!”

The woman and her husband from Washington DC weren’t wrong. If you take the L Train to Bedford Avenuein Williamsburg, you’ll find a thriving bar and restaurant scene. On North 3rd, a German beer hall serving up a fantastic mix of continental drinks and home brews too. Because most off these beers are quite strong, they’re not the cheapest in town – but they’re served up in style by bar tenders who really know their stuff, and are happy to let you taste before you buy.

I’m waiting for the cliched oompah music to start at any moment – especially when a group of musicians with brass instruments turn up. But although this is New York, I could easily be back in New Orleans when Baby Soda start up a Dixie inspired jazz set.

The performance is as good as any I saw down south, and the place soon fills up with a crowd of all ages. Some of whom can’t wait to get up for a boogie.

Unlike the brightly lit streets of Manhattan, Williamsburg is more of a low key area. Side streets quickly disappear into darkness, and there isn’t the benefit of an easy grid system to follow if you take a wrong turn. But Bedford Avenue itself has more than enough to keep you entertained for an evening, whatever you taste. At Spike Hill the emphasis is on rock, with Chris Cubeta and the Liars Club. I’m only in time to catch the end of the set, but these guys are good.

There are plenty of bars still open, but Wednesdays in Williamsburg seem a little low key. And it’s almost time to go back home for me too. Though on the L Line, the entertainment continues with some gypsy jazz.

Along with the violin, this busker has bells on his shoes. And whilst I can understand people’s reluctance to give money to casual beggars on the subway, this one deserves a few dollars.

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