Neighborhood: West Village
Address: 178 7th Ave. S
Website: villagevanguard.com 

The Village Vanguard is more than a jazz club. It’s an institution. In 2015, it will have been around for 80 years. The number of musicians who have graced its stage is staggering. You walk down 15 steps and find yourself in a small room with cramped tables and a host, Lorraine Gordon, who does not give a shit who you are or what you’re doing in the club that her husband opened in 1935. She’s there to uphold some unspoken rule about making sure jazz musicians know that they still have a place to call home in New York City. Recording a live album at the Village Vanguard is a badge of honor that any self respecting Miles Davis-lover would appreciate. The only thing better than listening to a live version of Sonny Rollins recorded at the Vanguard, is to see him there on the stage. You don’t even have to be a jazz fan to love this place. You just need to appreciate its deep history in the New York arts scene. Once you’re there, you’ll realize that the history and legend is seeping through the walls. That sensation alone will get you through the first set of the night. — Lauretta Charlton