Your Field Guide To The CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival Rock Stars

by BILLY GRAY · October 21, 2009

    The annual CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival has taken over the city once again. Starting last night, hundreds of bands, some established and many destined to be the next big thing, swarmed the city's bars, clubs and concerts halls for the festival, which runs through October 24th. Music, of course, is the main focus. But an event like this also means partying. And if an upstart act doesn't happen to land a record deal, he or she might as well get some lovin'. So why not help them out? The following spots are all located near CMJ venues and should give you a chance of celebrating with the talent after a successful show and cheering them up after a bust: 

    See a show at Music Hall of Williamsburg, then embrace Hugs

    Dyspeptic Brooklyn Vegan commenters routinely slam this bar down the street from major venue the Music Hall of Williamsburg. But then, they slam everything. Sometimes convenience is all you really want in an afterparty, and Hugs delivers. A long, narrow railroad car of a watering hole, Hugs lures in the Billyburg crowd with solid music and a relatively spacious backroom where they can stretch their emaciated legs. Best of all, Hugs offers skeeball-a bonus for everyone, and the closest many exercise-averse rock stars will ever get to a workout.

    Music Hall of Williamsburg: 66 N. 6th Street Hugs: 106 N. 6th Street

    Catch a band at Bowery Poetry Club, then party at Bowery Electric

    Better known as a place to hear the spoken word, Bowery Poetry Club is hosting a ton of musical acts during CMJ. If you want to follow up a BPC show at place with strictly musical roots, hop across the street to Bowery Electric. Owners Mike Stutu, Jesse Malin and Johnny T have an impressive roster of East Village rock joints (HiFi, Cabin Down Below, Black and White, Niagra and the dearly departed Coney Island High) to their credit. It's not quite CBGBs (sigh), but on a stretch of the Bowery jam-packed with newish nightspots, Electric comes the closest to reviving that club's punk spirit.

    Bowery Poetry Club: 308 Bowery Bowery Electric: 327 Bowery

    Rock out at Mercury Lounge, then gulp down a beer at Max Fish

    Mercury Lounge's setup famously requires bands to wade through its crowded front bar to exit the venue. If you can't catch the eye of that cute, scruffy rocker then, well, you might be in for a night of teary-eyed crocheting. But, if undeterred, head around the corner to Max Fish, the oldie but goodie on Ludlow Street. Max Fish isn't exactly a secret these days, but the Fedora-wearing guitar crowd can still be found slinging back $2 PBRs under its painfully bright lights. If you fail at love again, mope on over to Katz's for a different kind of salami fix.

    Mercury Lounge: 217 East Houston Street Max Fish 178 Ludlow Street

    Check out Le Poisson Rouge, then get down at Sullivan Room

    Bleecker Street's Le Poisson Rouge offers some much-needed relief from the tourists and undergrads who clog the strip. Progressive musicians who play LPR will probably look for a similar NYUville refuge to take their nightcaps. Sullivan Room is one of the central Village's best options. Music in this subterranean lair veers toward the electronic, perfect for those looking to change it up from CMJ's predominantly indie rock programming.

    Le Poisson Rouge: 158 Bleecker Street Sullivan Street: 218 Sullivan Street

    Be cool at Bowery Ballroom, then get steamed up at Hppy Ending

    Happy Ending takes its name from the...unorthodox massages that went down at its address, which once belonged to an illicit spa. The masseurs might be gone, but the owners kept some old basement steam rooms intact. They're the perfect places to unwind from the manic dance parties that take over both floors of this lounge. So if a show at the Bowery Ballroom leaves you hot and bothered, head here for an imaginary schvitz. If you're lucky, a fledgling rock star might give you a happy ending of your own.

    Bowery Ballroom: 6 Delancey Street Happy Ending: 302 Broome Street

    Cut a rug at Santos Party House, then stay put.

    Sometimes, the best afterparties are the ones where you don't have to leave the before party. Chinatown's massive Santos Party House has room for some seriously eclectic programming that will keep you there all night and into the early morning. If you love hipsters, Santos is literally crawling with them. Not your thing? Take comfort in music spanning rock, rap, disco, house and techno across Santos two spacious floors.

    Santos Party House: 96 Lafayette Street