New York City offers tons of show-stopping performance venues to serve as the backdrop for your next big corporate meeting, conference, fashion show, fundraiser, or product launch. The trouble certainly won’t be finding a space…of all the great choices presented before you, the question will be which space! Because the city is a leader in the event industry, NYC performance venues expect you to come in with high expectations. And all those expectations will be met.
When it comes to finding that special place to host your event, remember you are in a booming metropolis that’s seen and done it all. Take comfort that there is no request too big or ask too much. Think about your vision and put together a list of all your “must haves” for your event space. To help, The Vendry has compiled a list of 11 unique performance venues, just right for your next showstopper.
Beating deep in the heart of Chelsea is Racket NYC, a performance venue on two levels with a terrific stage and even better sound and lighting capabilities. Thanks to its multi-floor blueprint, Racket can be used for nearly anything you can dream up. It offers two Green Rooms, a mezzanine level, and is ADA compliant. Racket NYC has found that sweet spot of giving off grand vibes while feeling perfectly intimate at the same time.
Capacity: 650 standing, 300 seated
Classic. That is immediately what comes to mind when your customers and guests enter the Music Hall of Williamsburg. A 650-capacity cocktail and concert venue located in Brooklyn, the Music Hall offers three levels, with lounges and a bar on each floor. There’s bleacher seating in the Mezzanine and a rocking sound and lighting system that really defines the space.
Capacity: 1800 standing, 600 seated
One of the larger venues on this list, Brooklyn Steel is a converted factory in Williamsburg that can handle with ease any fashion show, performance, or corporate event you throw at it. There’s a main floor, a balcony, three bars, and even a Lounge Room for your VIPs. Your guests will love the venue’s industrial feel and will be blown away by the state-of-the-art sound system.
Neighborhood: Hell's Kitchen
Capacity: 3000 standing
Multi-levels and 40-foot ceilings provide Terminal 5 as the perfect venue for your event to take off. Raw event space abounds in this newly renovated venue, including a roof deck, lounge areas, and green rooms. Bring in your own caterer to create the perfect culinary experience for your event. Terminal 5 also makes life easier on the event planner: there’s easy street level load-in/load-out and nearby parking.
Neighborhood: East Village
Capacity: 1350 standing, 700 seated
Recent renovations made to Webster Hall, the iconic performance venue in the East Village, modernized the space, enhancing the total guest experience. Host your fashion show, awards gala, or presentation here, where the acoustics of the Grand Ballroom were also perfectly boosted to give and all-encompassing experience. The Ritz Lounge has been redone as a bar and meeting spot, complete with gold stenciling as an homage to Webster Hall’s original design. Layout options are flexible, and there’s even a big, impressive LED screen for all your presentation needs.
Neighborhood: Lower East Side
Capacity: 300 standing, 260 seated
Established in 1992 as an artistic and cultural resource open to writers, artists, and thinkers, the Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts was built in 1949 as a synagogue. This space abounds with neo-gothic appeal. All this history makes for a very impressive backdrop, as the main area for receptions features 7,000 square feet of workable space, as well as a balcony (often used for cocktail hour) measures in at 3,500 square feet. Serene and steeped in history, your chic, low-key event will fit perfectly in this unique space.
Neighborhood: East Village
Capacity: 298 seated
There are four unique event venues within the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in the East Village, and each space is just what you think a theater dedicated to artist should look and feel like. On the second floor is the Ellen Stewart Theatre – after the Club’s namesake – and is the largest venue, complete with a substantial lobby, kitchenette, dressing rooms, and dynamic sound system. The downstairs theater is more intimate and seats only 150, and shares a lobby with the Ellen Stewart Theatre. “The Club” is on the second floor, seats 80, and is perfect for intimate gatherings like small presentations or performances.
Neighborhood: Greenwich Village
State-of-the-art tech is king at the jazz venue Blue Note New York, as this swinging spot offers superior digital sound boards, stage lighting, and an excellent PA system. Rent this historic venue for your next event or meeting, with two floors of flexible space. The main floor is 2,500 square feet with a full bar and stage, and the second level is often used as an activation space, with a kitchen, bathrooms, and dressing rooms. Blue Note New York loves to work with their clients to come up with custom food and drink menus, all within the event’s budget.
Neighborhood: Theater District
Capacity: 1000 standing, 500 seated
The Theater District in Midtown is home to the historic Sony Hall, originally built in 1938 by showman Billy Rose. Refurbished and reopened in 2018, this landmark venue offers 12,000 square feet of workable space, including the main stage, upstairs bar, and two dressing rooms. The real stunner is the speakeasy on the street level, perfect for a pre- or post-event gathering for 60. Sony Hall will help you coordinate food and drink with on-site chefs, and has an entire team of planners to help you map out every detail, including an on-staff video specialist.
Capacity: 479 standing
Double your fun at the SVA Theatre, a duo-theater performance venue in Chelsea. Straightforward and known for its support of the arts, the SVA Theatre offers up the red-velvet seated Silas Theatre that holds 479, or the more intimate Beatrice Theatre, seating 266. There’s a spacious lobby for your pre-event festivities, as well as a green room, basement activation room, digital marquee, and lots of sidewalk allowing tons of space for you to roll out the red carpet.
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
Glamour meets state-of-the-art tech at Midnight Theatre, a performance venue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. This 150-seat theater harkens back to a time of old-fashioned opulence but provides all the modern-day amenities required for your event. The screens here are high-tech, and are accompanied by great lighting and sound systems, perfect for your gala, award ceremony, or product rollout. Host the afterparty at the Midnight Theatre’s culinary sibling, Hidden Leaf, just steps away, a deco-style, table-sharing restaurant where pan-Asian fare awaits.
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New York might very well be the perfect spot to hold your next big event. Whether an awards gala, product launch, fashion presentation, employee retreat, or major client event, there’s no shortage of venues in NYC to make your magic happen. It all comes down to a feeling, so make sure the venue you select sets the tone for what’s to come. Before you sign on the dotted line for your venue, be sure to contemplate the following:
Vibe. The right venue will set the tone. The space you choose will likely influence how your guests, customers, or employees will feel when they walk in. And what can you do creatively in the space you’ve decided? Should you add décor to create more buzz? Or is there enough of an aesthetic set already? That vibe – often felt and not seen – can make all the difference for the event’s tone.
Crowd. How big is your group? How savvy are they getting around New York? Does your crowd want a boil-over, or would they prefer an event that’s just above simmering? It goes without saying that your group size will determine your venue, but the “personality” of your crowd must also be considered before landing on a space.
Cost. Naturally this is toward the top of the list, but specifically think about all the extras that might come with a performance venue. You know the space will likely deliver killer sound and lighting (they are a performance venue, after all), but what about those additional costs? Most performance venues will likely have a list of preferred vendors (like a quality caterer) to recommend. Favors, additional tech, rentals, etc. will all factor in so choose wisely.
Accessibility. The venue you choose shouldn’t be a hassle to your guests or clients in any way. Selecting a location in NYC that’s easy to find and get to is key. With many of these older venues, make certain to address if any person in your group has special needs for access.
Tech. Performing and projecting is the name of the game for all the venues on this list, so audio/visual should not be a problem. Always test all presentations (and test again) and confirm Wi-Fi connectivity.
You’ve already nailed one part of your search: coming to New York to plan your event. The next step is to find a venue that checks nearly everything off your event checklist. The Vendry will show you were to find performance venues in NYC. Request proposals right from your selections on The Vendry. to get the ball rolling for your corporate outing, presentation, fundraising event, or networking event.