Whether you're out to find the next great band or if you're looking for a cool scene to investigate in Williamsburg, these music venues offer up good music and great opportunities for people watching. Big acts appear at the larger Music Hall of Williamsburg, but local bands hoping to make a splash strut their stuff at the smaller venues like Cameo and Bruar Falls.
66 N. 6th St., (718) 486-5400
Music Hall is the king of Brooklyn music venues. Located a few blocks from the subway, it's well worth the trip to Williamsburg to see your favorite band here. This venue boasts a super sound system and ample room to move about freely without feeling suffocated. Bigger shows attract bigger crowds of course, but if there's a band you've heard good things about playing at Music Hall, head over - it's sure to be an entertaining evening.
289 Kent Ave.
Brace yourself for Glasslands, a tiny DIY venue in South Williamsburg. In the summer things get pretty hot in here with no A/C, and the acts are consistently aggressive and unique. The bar has cheap beer and there's a small upstairs balcony if you need to sit down. Even if the music leaves something to be desired, Glasslands itself puts on a show with its wacky decor and raw atmosphere.
3. Trash Bar
256 Grand St.
The cliche of Williamsburg music venues, Trash Bar is delightfully silly with its ear-drum splitting loud bands and their punked out groupies that frequent this place. Though one trip might do the trick, the geniune feel of Trash Bar, with its booze and free tater-tots might compel you to stick around and remember your younger days. Very late night happy hour specials also do a great job of convincing you to call in sick tomorrow.
4. Bruar Falls
245 Grand St., (347) 529-6610
This bar has a stage in the back separated by a curtain. At first glance you might think, let me out of here, because it's so small. But great bands do come through here so grab a drink and stick it out. The music is loud, however, so this isn't a great place for conversation. But if you'd like to see some Brooklyn culture at work and feel comfortable squeezing in with a beer in hand, make it a Bruar Falls evening.
709 Lorimer St., (718) 302-3770
Pete's Candy Store is a bar that has music every single night of the week. The bar is quite popular and fairly crowded on the weekends, but it's easy to sneak out to the garden in the back. The bands here tend to be a bit younger and more naive, like sweet ex-frat boys with acoustic guitars. They are interspersed with weird cabaret acts and duos featuring electric violin and their ilk. But the crowd here is friendly, and the sandwiches, offered until 1 a.m., are delicious.
361 Metropolitan Ave., (347) 529-6696
The Knitting Factory moved recently from its old diggs in Manhattan to central Williamsburg, taking over the old Luna Lounge space. This venture has been successful, drawing in great bands and good crowds on the weekends. One of the perks of this space is when you're in the front bar you can still see and hear the band onstage, though the rooms are separated by glass. The bands that play here vary in shape and style - check out their website for more details.
93 N. 6th St., (718) 302-1180
Hidden inside The Lovin' Cup cafe, this teensy-weensy venue has become the new new arts-club venture in Williamsburg. Music acts and more are almost always locals with followings. If you're looking to get a real handle on Williamsburg's music scene, a few nights at Cameo can help. Be prepared for drunk kids and overcrowding in the bathrooms.
8. Union Pool
484 Union Ave., (718) 609-0484
Like Music Hall of Williamsburg, Union Pool is a bastion of the Williamsburg music scene, except it's smaller and it's been around longer. The front bar is jammed packed on the weekends and the small box of a room for bands is even more cramped. Spill outside into the backyard for a taco. The "hipster" of the aughts was born in the sweat of the crowds at Union Pool, but that hasn't stopped people from coming to this venue to hear local bands.