253 W 125th St, New York, NY | Directions 1002740.809765 -73.949940
Neighborhoods: Uptown, Harlem
great on amateur night – It's fairly inexpensive for live entertainment, it's a lot of fun, the seats are comfortable, and it seems like you have a good view no matter where you sit. If I lived in Harlem I would go more often, but if you have guests from out of town, a first date, or even just want an evening in Harlem, I recommend the place, paired with a soul food dinner at sylvias, you can't go wrong.
Where show time is always big time. – In Short
The Apollo, which opened in 1914 as a whites-only theater, is best known as a former showcase for legendary black artists including Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk and Aretha Franklin. Today, the historical spot hosts big-name comedy and music performances, as well as the ubiquitous amateur night. In true 20th century fashion, the Apollo became a brand in itself, spawning tours and TV shows.
Great date place – The Apollo is my local theater, and I love bringing friends to Amateur Night on Wednesdays. Amateur Night is a weekly song-and-dance variety show, but it's also part comedy show, thanks to the host and those bad contestants who get pushed off stage by "The Executioner." Tix are reasonably priced; buy a week or two in advance for best seats (get Orchestra Center) and don't arrive late, or you risk getting dragged up on stage. Gentlemen, this is a fabulous date place. Do dinner after the 2-hour show at Lenox Lounge or Native. You can buy drinks at the bar in back, but bring a throat lozenge if you plan to cheer/boo a lot. Don't come if you aren't ready to get out of your seat and dance. The neighborhood is safe if you avoid looking like a disoriented tourist on a dark sidestreet.
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