stand up 1Each year, my sisters visit NYC from Canada for a weekend of girl fun. Of course, it’s wonderful to spend time with them but I also love the fact that I get to see the city that I take for granted (and um, complain about a lot). When acting as a tour guide, it is important to get a sense of what your guests like before heading out for a night on the town. New York has so many options: spastours and the offbeat.  We opted for laughter and music.
Comedy on the Upper West Side

Robert Frost once said, “If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.” So for mental health reasons, we headed to the Upper West Side to Stand Up NY Comedy Club. As a reputable comedy club, it boasts performers that have appeared on Comedy Central, HBO, and other major network shows like The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  

The club is clean (not always an adjective used for comedy clubs) and looks recently renovated.  A word of warning: with comedy clubs you must know your companion’s preferences and be prepared because comedy is not always clean. My husband once took his conservative mother, who was visiting from out of town, to a comedy club and said it was the most embarrassing night of his life. The club allows patrons 16 and over accompanied by an adult and has non-alcoholic drink options and standard bar food on the menu.

That night we noticed a multigenerational family and the grandparents were laughing the hardest.
For my group, appropriateness was not a problem. We laughed and laughed and had a great time.

TIP: Laughter doesn’t come cheap so look around for discount admission offers (Google Stand Up NY discount) because, as with most comedy clubs, there is a two drink minimum in addition to the admission price. Check the website for rates, times and special deals.

Dinner in the West Village: Las Ramblas

After all that laughing we worked up an appetite and headed downtown to the West Village for some sustenance. The Village neighborhood has a sea of tourist restaurants and college hangouts; it can be hard to pick out the sea bass from the sardines.

TIP: To avoid restaurants that rely on their location, rather than their food, for customers, choose one that has less options on the menu. If a restaurant has too many choices, there is no way the chef can do them all well or from scratch. Also, in general, stay clear of restaurants that have petrified food on display in the window.

In the spirit of being a tourist, I did not rely on my previous knowledge of eateries in the area and instead turned to Google maps and Yelp apps on my phone to locate potential options. Since we had fries and girly cocktails at the club, we were not starving so we decided to try a tapas restaurant. Tapas are snacks, canapés or finger food that originated in Spain.

Las Ramblas is a cozy little Spanish gem (so not good for large groups or strollers) with large windows, exposed brick and warm lighting. We had mussels, shrimp in garlic sauce and an eggplant bruschetta that were all tasty garlic goodness. The red pear sangria is the best I have ever tasted. It was made with a dry smooth red wine that was not watered down with ice.

Music in Greenwich Village: The Duplex

duplex 1 copyAfter refortification, we were ready for some more entertainment and headed to The Duplex, an unpretentious cabaret theatre and piano bar. Downstairs, a regular piano player sings requests and each of the bar staff takes a turn at the mic. It always amazes me how many talented people are out there and it’s why I am glad that I never tried for a career in the performing arts. There is no cover and the drinks are reasonably priced and strong. The audience (especially if you go late) gets into the act and sings along to songs like Sweet Caroline or Cee Lo Green’s Forget You. 

The club also has a 70 seat cabaret theatre upstairs that includes a wide variety of talent and acts.

Do you want to be a star?—take a crack at the open mic, Saturday nights at 11:30pm. At the theatre there is no cover but there is a two drink minimum. Check the website for a calendar of performances.

A perfect end: popBar

pop barAfter spending most of our night indoors, we took a walk around West Greenwich Village to do some people watching, get some air and maybe some dessert. On a hot summer night, the pop-Bar was a great spot for a sweet and refreshing treat. The shop sells popGelatos, popSorbettos, and YogurtPops. They are the perfect treat.

They are all gluten-free, preservative free, and Kosher. The popSorbettos are vegan. All are made fresh daily but best of all they taste amazing. I had a mint chocolate popGelato and it was divine.

In the cold season, they serve hot chocolate on a stick, which is just what it sounds like, a big cube of chocolate that you stir into steamed milk.  

The shop is conveniently open until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

A perfect end to a perfect girl’s night out.