City: New York
Address: 17 Irving Pl.
Coolest Feature: A huge stage on the second floor made for twerking to the very best southern hip-hop classics of the '90s
New Yorkers and concert junkies alike know that Irving Plaza was famous long before Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Solange popped up at an April 2012 installment of the infamous Grits & Biscuits party. Christened Irving Hall in 1860, the three-level structure served as a ballroom, a burlesque house and a community center for Polish Arms veterans before coming into its own as a music venue during the late 1970s. Early performers included the Ramones and Talking Heads, establishing Irving Plaza as promoter of punk and new wave from its onset. A decade later, the Ramones would play what was supposed to be their very last show at Irving Plaza, as the building was slated to be destroyed and turned into condos.
Fortunately for patrons and artists, it was rescued, thriving through the '90s and into the aughts before being revitalized by Live Nation in 2007. The company attempted to change the name to "The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza" as a nod to the Fillmore East, but public outrage after the original marquee was taken down prevented that. A replica of the old marquee was created, because some things just aren't meant to be tampered with, even when millions of dollar are involved.