Best music venue off the beaten path (2008)


It's been open four years, but Nublu still feels like some hidden, secret club that you need a password to gain entry to. Located on the rapidly gentrifying Avenue C, it doesn't have an awning or sign, just a blue light. If that doesn't give it away, the expanding crowd spilling onto the sidewalk from the steps might alert you that you've reached the destination. Inside, it's more like someone's living room (if we had normal-sized living rooms) than a club. Funky couches are scattered about, and record sleeves hang on the walls above the DJ booth. Out back, there's an outdoor smoking patio; the whole essence of Nublu is homey, and it feels illicit. The club is the physical embodiment of the record label—which has released music by the collaboration Wax Poetic and Kudu. Over the years, owner Ilhan Ersahin has hosted many a DJ and band with a jazzy, eclectic streak: Moby has played a few surprise DJ sets; Brazilian Girls cut their teeth at Nublu; and Kudu, local favorites on the verge, built their dedicated following at the club. It's not always the best place to see a show; the haphazard layout means that it's awkward when there's a large crowd, but you always leave feeling like you've just witnessed something special.


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