There’s something indescribable about listening to music live: the way the bass fills your chest and how you slowly find yourself beginning to dance or clap along. Though the band may not be familiar, the music can still have a resounding effect in the listeners that transcends preference, especially if dancing and drinks are involved. Festivals and concerts may be trendy, but nothing beats popping into a random bar, paying a small cover charge, and having a chill, no frills night. To help take the guesswork out of choosing a location, here are five great venues for experiencing live music.

1. Café Wha?

Located in Greenwich Village, this venue has been the hangout spot for rock stars such as Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and The Velvet Underground and credits itself as the best live music in NYC. With a loaded statement like that, it’s definitely worth checking out. Located at 115 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012.

2. Smalls Jazz Club

If you're into Jazz, the Smalls Jazz Club is a good place to end up. The original club was a basement and did not sell liquor, but what they did do was play Jazz...and they played it well. After passing between owners, Small Jazz Club has emerged as a top jazz club for nearly a decade. Smalls Jazz Club is located at 183 W 10th Street, New York, NY 10014.

3. Cake Shop

A music venue, a bar, AND a bakery, what more could you ask for? Since bands such as Peter Bjorn and John and Lucius have been playing here since 2005, you can bet on a solid set any time you go. Located at 152 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002.

4. Otto’s Shrunken Head

Not everyone can say they danced the night away at a Polynesian-themed bar, equipped with playful glassware, fun drinks, and, of course, Tiki statues, making Otto’s an alluring option on this list. Aside from the outrageous theme, they also boast a variety of music, ranging from Punk to Country to Surf, as well as literary readings, film screenings, and a live band Karaoke night. This unique venue can turn any night into a crazy night out. Located at 538 E 14th St, New York, NY 10009.

5. Fat Cat

The Fat Cat is the epitome of a dive bar: located in a dingy basement and equipped with pool, Ping-Pong, and board games. If this doesn’t make you have flashbacks to college parties, nothing will (but in the best way possible). The unsuspicious façade can trick anyone into thinking there isn’t something wild happening underneath the surface. Located at 75 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014.