Mercury Lounge Booker Jay Belin Picks His Best Place To Find Cobras and To Shotgun Beers


This week is the Voice‘s Best of NYC issue, our annual opportunity to bestow arbitrary awards like Best Rapper Twitter Feed and Best Radio DJ. In turn, we asked a few of our favorite New Yorkers to name their favorite local things.

Jay Belin is the booker of the Mercury Lounge, an LES venue which coincidentally won our Readers’ Poll award for Best Rock Club this year. Today, he kindly shares the Best Method for Picking Up Interns and the Worst Place In NYC To Pass Out.

Best Mercury Lounge after-party?

Lately, the best after-party has been around the corner on Essex Street, when the Nitrous Mafia shows up and sells balloons. For some reason, the cops don’t do anything about it. The streets are littered with spun-out urban wookies!

Best crowd to avoid?

Tough to be diplomatic with this question, but I’d have to say the Jonas Brothers. Way too much jailbait–and I wouldn’t do well in prison.

Best method for picking up interns?

To be an intern at the Mercury Lounge, you have to be good at one thing: shotgunning a cold beer. If you can’t shotgun a beer, don’t send us your resume, kids. You’d be wasting everyone’s time.

Best spot to watch the show at the Mercury?

A good manager would say every spot is the best spot, but really that might be it. In a room as intimate as the Mercury, any place on the floor is solid. But for my money, I stick to the back corner, opposite where you come in the music room. Concertgoers tend to avoid migrating that way, which is a blessing for a big guy like myself.

Best location that should be turned into a music venue?

Since my early days in New York, I’ve always wanted to see a band play on the arch in Washington Square Park. Either that or put bands back in the Continental. That five shots of anything for five dollars got me through freshman year.

Best seedy bar that’s still seedy?

Being a long time resident of the LES, I’d have to say Mars Bar. It is a beautiful dump that’s always there for a good laugh and a toothless hobo. It’s a great place to take a first date if you don’t want a second. Do they even have electricity in there?

Best totally gentrified bar?

Despite the Friday and Saturday soulless B&T crowd, 2A is still a perfect establishment. After 2 am, you can usually find a spot at the bar upstairs, and their bartenders are some of the best.

Best music venue in New York, other than your own?

No question: The Bowery Ballroom.

Worst place to pass out?

The backseat of a NYC taxi cab. Those dudes don’t take it lightly and getting a good shaking from a cabbie at five am really makes you rethink what you’re doing with your life.

Best place to find cobras and to shotgun beers?

Hands down, it has to be Piano’s. Our buddy Jay, who’s the drummer in A Place To Bury Strangers, bartends there and has concocted The Cobra which is one of their very potent frozen margaritas topped with a shot of your favorite tequila. They have a serious bite. (Boom!) Additionally, our boys down there are kind enough to open the Shotgun Atrium (a/k/a the Band Room) ever so often for us to shotgun a PBR. They are the best!