Party Like a Rock Star: 12 Musicians Dish About Bars, Jukebox Jams, and Hangover Cures


14 minute Read

Party Like a Rock Star: 12 Musicians Dish About Bars, Jukebox Jams, and Hangover Cures

Illustration By Danielle Grinberg

Rock ‘n’ roll is synonymous with a good time, so why not look to the pros for nightlife guidance? We polled 12 very talented musicians on their favorite places to drink, venues to play, jukebox jams, hangover cures, and bartenders in the business.

Cue up Spotify and fix yourself a drink — just because you’re not a rock star doesn’t mean you can’t party like one.

Calliope Musicals

Calliope Musicals tell VinePair how they drink.

Drink of Choice

Iced tea! A.k.a Evan Williams and water over ice. Tastes just like unsweetened tea.

Favorite Bars

Shanghai Nobby’s – St. Augustine, FL.: Every Wednesday is ladies’ night, which RULES, and if that happens to fall on 10/15, the magical Lulu comes out to play.

Moe’s Tavern – Chicago, IL: It’s like “The Simpsons” but better, and the owner Moe is a total sweetheart and patron of the arts.

Cheer Up Charlies – Austin, TX: Delicious cocktails in a rainbow-safe space with excellent live music. Calliope recommends the Golden Ticket — whiskey + kombucha + candied ginger.

Favorite Bartender

Damien Howard at Lustre Pearl East in Austin. He keeps your whistle wet and your ego in check. Also jams a mean playlist of the best Austin tunes and shreds in local band Coattails.

Favorite Venue to Play

So you can’t actually drink here, but Central Presbyterian Church is pretty magical and has killer acoustics. Always recommended after-party at Cheer Ups.

Hangover Cure

Pedialyte and a left-handed cigarette.

Jukebox Jam

“Telephone Line” by ELO

Mobley

Mobley tell VinePair how they drink.

Drink of Choice

My go-to drink is ginger ale or ginger beer. Fever Tree and Bundaberg are probably my favorites.

Favorite Bars

The Cave in Chapel Hill, NC. It’s an underground dive, and it’s the first place that ever booked me to play my own music.

Watertrade in Austin, TX.  Really nice, small, tucked-away spot. The vibe is just incredible.

Favorite Venue to Play

I really enjoy Empire Control Room & Garage in Austin. I love the staff there, and the production is always on point. It’s roomy enough that you can find the spot that works for you, but small enough that every show is pretty intimate. It’s just a well-thought-out venue.

Jukebox Jam

“I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5. Simply a flawless pop song. As soon as the bassline hits, it’s over. You’ve got to smile, you’ve got to dance. If I ever write a song that’s half as effective at whatever I’m doing as that song is at what it does, I’ll have had a good career.

Best Mobley Song to Drink To

Best song of mine to party to is probably “Solo” — people really let loose during that one at my shows.

Savoir Adore

Savoir Adore tell VinePair how they drink.

Photo credit: Facebook.com/SavoirAdore

Drink of Choice

Whiskey or, ingredients permitting, an Old Fashioned or a Negroni. Classic cocktails like these are great because you can get them pretty much anywhere now and you can even make them backstage. It’s also fun to order at bars as sort of a litmus test for how serious a bar is.

Favorite Bar

We’ve been fortunate enough to travel to some great places and it’s a bit of a hobby for us to find special places on our days off.

Fresh Kills in Brooklyn, NY: This place is about as perfect and consistent as it gets, and the bartenders are all magicians. Part of the lineage of bars like Dutch Kills and PDT… classic cocktails are made perfectly and you can trust the bartenders to make you amazing drinks you’ve never had before, too. Best part is that it doesn’t have the uptight vibe of some high-end cocktail bars; it’s very laid back and comfortable and chill.

Merchant Madison in Madison, WI: We like to think of Merchant Madison as our secret. Not only is it surprising to find a cocktail bar of this caliber outside of a major city, but it’s also by far the most affordable. On Sunday nights, bartender’s choice for $6 just can’t be beat (and the food is incredible, too).

Le Lion in Hamburg, Germany:  We had been recommended this place on our night off in Hamburg, and it was a pretty incredible pick. From the moment we walked in, the experience was interactive — a bartender greeted us, chatted about what we were all into, and then the night was basically curated for us. [Five or six] cocktails later, we were all stumbling home very, very happy. If you’re into cocktails and the culture surrounding it and you want to have a special night, there’s nothing quite like this.

Favorite Bartender

Lauren McLaughlin from Fresh Kills. Same reason Fresh Kills is my favorite bar. Lauren embodies everything that makes a great bartender. Passion for the craft, creativity and just an overall wonderful person. I’ve basically been ordering “bartender’s choices” from her for a couple years now, and I’ve yet to have a drink I didn’t love.

Favorite Venue to Play

Bowery Ballroom. We’ve played a lot of great places, but this hometown gem is still my #1. It’s just the perfect-sized room with the perfect staff and so much history.

Hangover Cure

Coconut water and lots of fresh air. And if you feel like really pushing through it, an early morning run!

Jukebox Jam

Anything by Prince or George Michael. Or, if it’s the right bar or vibe, you can’t go wrong with old country music or jazz.

Best Savoir Adore Song to Drink To

Well, I have a soft spot for “Dreamers” as it’s the first song of ours that I’ve ever heard out and about, at a bar. So I think it would have to be that one. After all it’s a song about letting go and staying in your dream zone™, which essentially, for me, is a bar.

WET LEATHER

Wet Leather tell VinePair how they drink.

Photo credit: Facebook.com/wetleather

Drink of Choice

We tend to drink tequila as a band, usually in moderate quantities unless we’re playing at Rockwood. I’m not sure how it got started but we have a long-standing tradition of turning up pretty hard whenever we play there.

Favorite Bars

The Cobra Club in Brooklyn, NY. Cobra Club in Bushwick is sort of our home away from home. Two of us work there, and we played our first show ever in the back room. As if we didn’t spend enough time there already, we often end up wandering over for karaoke on Saturdays.

Sweet Jane’s in Queens, NY. I’m not just saying that because I work there. I also occasionally bartend at Golden Years in Williamsburg, a great place to get cocktail and where they serve the meanest fried chicken sandwich in north Brooklyn.

Favorite Bartender

We love Uncle Larry at Cobra. You can find him every Wednesday happy hour. He plays a mix of music videos that veers from yacht rock to electroclash to glam and punk. He has also been known to play our videos from time to time.

Favorite Venue to Play

Our Wicked Lady has become our preferred venue in the neighborhood. We’ve been lucky enough to do a few rooftop shows there, which is always a great part of summertime. We also love and miss Shea Stadium (RIP).

Hangover Cure

The $6 beer-shot combo at Cobra Club.

Best Wet Leather Song to Drink To

We have a new song tentatively called “Party,” which is sort of a cautionary tale with an ambivalent attitude towards partying… so probably not that one.

BUHU

BUHU tell VinePair how they drink.

Drink of Choice

Vodka, water, add bitters and lime. Keeps you hydrated, cuts hangovers, and good on the tummy… not to mention, low [in] calories.

Favorite Bars

Justine’s in Austin, TX. Because it’s [a] truly safe space inhabited with high-level artistry and artists of every form.

Zu mir oder zu dir (My Place or Yours) in Berlin, Germany. There is always a sexy DJ and it’s just a great silly time.

Foundation Tiki Bar in Milwaukee, WI. Because it is 1800s tiki from floor to ceiling. The decor and cocktails make you feel like you are on a Caribbean island in the coldest of Wisconsin winters.

Favorite Bartender

Cole Evans at Cheer Up Charlies in Austin. He is a wonderful guy and just classy enough. His wit and knowledge are unmatched behind the bar. Jovial is his middle name.

Favorite Venue to Play

The Empty Bottle [in] Chicago because it is the best sound, stage, crew and clientele in CHI. Everyone loves seeing a great show at EB. Every artist loves playing there. The history of that stage is deep and rich. It’s always an honor to play there.

Hangover Cure

Water + activated charcoal + sex + breakfast = cured

Jukebox Jam

Q: ARE WE NOT MEN? A: WE ARE DEVO!

Best BUHU Song to Drink To

“Yew” because it is a true love song/slow jam. Whether you have a partner or dance solo, you are gonna love sipping on a cocktail and swaying to the vibe.

Jordan DePaul

Jordan DePaul tell VinePair how they drink.

Drink of choice

Jameson on the rocks, always. Being that I can’t drink beer before I sing (it dries my voice out), I turned to whiskey. Jameson just so happens to be the whiskey that I latched on to after all those years of being in a band with my older best friends. They showed me the way.

Favorite Bars

Dino’s in Nashville, TN. I lived in Nashville for five years before moving to Brooklyn, NY, and Dino’s was right at the bottom of my street. My friends and I would walk down to 308 (great bar next door), grab some drinks, then finish the night off at Dino’s with a beer and the best burger in town. Great people paired with a hometown dive-bar atmosphere. You never know who you’re gonna share fries with there (Bieber stopped in after his Nashville stop on his last tour).

The Wren in New York, NY. I’ve only been there twice since I’ve moved to New York, but The Wren houses the best bartenders I’ve ever come in contact with. Super attentive and polite even with the bar being elbows to elbows. Not to mention, the crowd was laid back and everyone seemed to be having the time of their lives both times I was there. Come to think of it, that’s where I’m going this weekend now.

The Three Diamond Door in Brooklyn, NY. I think of it somewhat like a mullet: “Laid back up front with a dance party in the back.” Whether you’re looking to have a beer with friends or let loose and test out your dance moves (I have none), this bar has it all. And it’s right around the corner from my girlfriend’s house, so it’s become a go-to for a good time.

Favorite Venue to Play

The Basement East in Nashville, TN. The Basement has been like a home to me and the staff and owners like family. It’s always a great experience with great sound and hospitality. Not to mention, that stage is massive!

Hangover Cure

I wish I could tell you my secrets… Electrolyte Water with Emergen-c the night of drinking, and Pedialyte [the] morning after.

Jukebox Jam

“Sweet Child of Mine.” It always gets everyone going and singing along.

Best Jordan DePaul Song to Drink To

If you’re looking to ponder about life choices or good or bad relationships, really any of my songs will be a fine pair. If you’re looking to party a bit more, I’d check out “Neon” or my cover of Marcy Playground’s “Sex And Candy.”

Dead Stars

Dead Stars tell VinePair how they drink.

Drink of Choice

Go-to drinks for the band are very similar to our musical style: classic, straightforward, and powerful. A.k.a, shot and a beer. Whereas southern boys Jeff and Jaye are partial to bourbons and IPAs, John is any Mexican beer with tequila. He’s from Albuquerque.

Favorite Bars

The Levee in Brooklyn, NY. HANDS DOWN the best bar in Brooklyn. From the cheap and extensive beer and shot combo selection to the complimentary cheese balls and the stoner-friendly food menu, from the pool table and hard rockin’ jukebox, to the amazing, close-knit family of owners and bartenders, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better one-stop-shop for all things party, hearty, rock and roll. Also, guitarist/frontman Jeff works there.

Botanica in New York, NY. The space was the original Knitting Factory and is one of the finest longstanding dive bars in the SoHo neighborhood. Along with a ridiculously cheap seven-day happy hour, their crown jewel is the super-positive Sunday night freak-friendly, queer-powerful, Bowie-heavy karaoke run by international superstar DJ Illexandra. Also, bassist John works there.

Burnside in Brooklyn, NY. The low-key, grown-up bar in East Williamsburg that is our de facto after-show hang. The owners are close personal friends and they serve one of the finest Juicy Lucy burgers and fried cheese curds until the wee hours.

Favorite Bartender

Ryan Dustin of Burnside. So insanely kind and thoughtful, he must be running out of crawl space to hide the bodies because he’s obviously a high-functioning sociopath. Always a smile on his face and a killer cocktologist to boot. He also has one of the most comprehensive collections of rock ‘n’ roll vinyl if you’re lucky enough to catch him spinning on one of his nights off. Just don’t get him started on who he loves more: Billy Joel or Sir Elton John.

Favorite Venue to Play

Sunnyvale. This relatively young spot in East Williamsburg is built, opened, and operated by musicians, for musicians. Co-owner John Weingarten of the band NAAM is a good friend who always takes such amazing care of us and the other bands on the bills. Plus, you just can’t beat the posi vibes, amazing sound, and beautiful beer, booze, and cocktail selection (if you’re into cocktails, of which we are most adamantly and politically NOT).

Jukebox Jam

“What’s New Pussycat,” by Tom Jones. Again. And again. And again.

Best Dead Stars Song to Drink To

The best song of ours to drink to is probably the one you’re listening to live. If you’re hearing that song and you’re not drinking, it’s time to hit the bar.

Cape Francis

Cape Francis tell VinePair how they drink.

Drink of Choice

An Old Fashioned, a Margarita, or some sort of pilsner.

Favorite Bars

King’s County Brewers Collective (KCBC) in Brooklyn, NY. It’s a brewery in Bushwick where they make amazing beer and they have a ton of games. That’s about all I need in a bar. Interesting fact: They had a deck of UNO there that’d been spilled on so many times the cards felt like cloth; they were sadly retired last year.

Birdy’s in Brooklyn, NY. Great happy hour, foosball, pinball, good vibes.

Maps in Portland, ME. It’s a tiny bar with good beer, grilled cheese, and cake. Need I say more?

The Bearded Lady’s Jewel Box in Portland, ME. It has great cocktails and I feel like I’m back in Bushwick every time I go.

Favorite Bartender

Casey from KCBC. He gave me some free stickers once. Also, he’s just a great person all around.

Favorite Venue to Play

Rough Trade. I just like playing on that stage. It’s a great-size room, I’ve seen so many great shows there, the sounds on point, and you can buy some records before the gig.

Hangover Cure

A cure doesn’t exist, they’re all liars. All you can really do is stay in bed, get stoned, and watch movies, right?

Jukebox Jam

“Fever Dog” by Stillwater.

Best Cape Francis Song to Drink To

Well, I’d say the sad ones, but they’re all pretty much the sad ones, so I dunno. “5 in the Morning” — every time I sing “5 in the Morning,” you gotta drink!

DD White

DD White tell VinePair how they drink.

Drink of Choice

Maker’s Mark. It has just the right amount of sweetness and vanilla. Or Founders All Day IPA, a delicious Michigan beer that, as the name suggests, is great for day drinking and not falling down by 7:00 p.m. And Woodbridge Sauvignon Blanc. Cool, refreshing, simple, cheap.

Favorite Bars

Greenpoint Beer and Ale in Greenpoint, NY. Amazing beer! We love the brisket fries. Right by where we rehearse.

Suzy’s Bar in Hamtramck, MI. This place is always unpredictable in a great way. On the same night, we bought a hot pizza off of a random dude, met Detroit’s finest Rod Stewart impersonator, and witnessed two full-grown women dressed as Disney Princesses have a fight at the bar.

Sweet Afton in Astoria, NY. Great vibe, incredible drinks, mix of healthy food options and comfort food favs. Live music every Monday.

Cafe d’Mongo’s Speakeasy in Detroit, MI. This “secret” bar represents everything that is great about Detroit.

The Patterson in Nashville, TN. Speakeasy vibes without being too pretentious (and actually reasonable prices)! Amazing cocktails, organized by the type of liquor and how adventurous you want to be.

Favorite Venue to Play

Rockwood Music Hall is a favorite in NYC. It’s a well-respected club and a great scene in general. They have a wide palate of musical acts daily, and that fact fits our musical sensibilities like a glove.  That venue draws a crowd of music appreciators more than any other at its price point!

Hangover Cure

Tiffany: green juice and a Chicken McNugget Happy Meal

Collin: biscuit and gravy

Zach: Advil and coffee

Chris: more sleep.

Jukebox Jam

Any Motown or Led Zeppelin. “Roxanne” by The Police. (Drinking game mandatory.) “Africa” by Toto. (Chris says, “I did this before it was a meme.”)

Best DD White Song to Drink To

“Even A Girl.” High-energy, fun, and exciting! BPM just fast enough to chug to the beat.

The Big Drops

The Big Drops tell VinePair how they drink.

Drink of Choice

The finest Japanese whisky that money can buy. Why? Because maybe you should buy some for us!

Favorite Bars

The Spotted Cat Music Club in New Orleans, LA. Some of the best live jazz/ Creole/ swing music we’ve ever seen. Typically free to enter. Great music at day or night.

Fat Cat in New York, NY. Groovy jazz of varying styles. Amazing music every night until 4:00 a.m., relatively comfy couches, plus Ping-Pong and board games if you’re overwhelmed by the monstrous power of live jazz, baby!

Favorite Bartender

Tara Thiessen of Two Boots in Williamsburg! She puts on snazzy art openings with free pizza and free beer, and sells silver spray-painted Space Pineapples. You gotta see it to believe it.

Favorite Venue to Play

We particularly love venues that feed us, ‘cause drinking on an empty stomach is no fun. So given that criteria, Salt in Stanhope, NJ is our #1. Best food ‘round town.

Hangover Cure

Sleeeeeeep! Sleep is our favorite cure for life things. Coconut water (electrolytes), lemon water, or oil pulling with coconut oil are also pretty nifty morning-after tips. And if you don’t want a hangover… while you’re busy partying like a drunken rockstar, drink one glass of water for every two alcoholic drinks. Works like a charm!

Jukebox Jam

“Octopus’s Garden” by Ringo Starr.

Best Big Drops Song to Drink To

“Boyfriend Talk.” It’s only proper to get a little sentimental while drinking. “Boyfriend Talk” is an ideal song to reminisce about past boyfriends, or imagine the ideal future boyfriend.

Chris Zurich

Chris Zurich tells VinePair his favorite things to drink.

Drink of Choice

Any kind of red wine. As a singer, I’m told that the tannin in red wine actually reduces any swelling you might have from singing too hard. So, it’s a healing drink.

Favorite Bars

Jonathan’s Angels in Rome, Italy. It’s super dope inside, but the outside is just covered in ivy and those white Christmas lights. It’s just the perfect atmosphere.

Favorite Bartender

Sean at Barleycorn, which is a total bro bar, but it’s right off of my train stop and he literally has my drink ready for me before I even sit down.

Favorite Venue to Play

I don’t know if I have a favorite venue. I like that basement at The Music Inn near West 4th Street [in NYC].

Hangover Cure

I don’t have the answers, honestly. I can’t sleep well when I drink. And because I don’t sleep well, I get hung over. It’s a vicious cycle. I think sleep is the only answer.  I feel like that new Drake song: “I only love my bed and my mommy when I’m hungover.”

Palladino

Palladino tells VinePair their favorite thing to drink.

Drink of Choice

Bourbon or Belle Isle Cold Brew Coffee Moonshine on the rocks. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a “no-frills” drink that lets the spirit speak for itself. Straight shootin’.

Favorite Bars

Heavy Woods in Brooklyn, NY. They serve wondrous, Cajun-style grub and play “Game of Thrones” on the projector.

The Boiler Room in Chicago, IL. Get the PBJ: pizza, beer, and a shot of Jameson.

Weegee’s Lounge  in Chicago, IL. It’s a time warp to a Prohibition-era speakeasy. The vibe is mysterious, the bartender wears a vest, the lights are dim, the drinks are crafted with care, and they have shuffleboard.

Favorite Bartender

The delightful barkeep at Heavy Woods who normally works in the back room and wears the sweet jean jacket with no sleeves. We had a looong conversation about pro wrestling and “GOT” one night, but I never got his name.

Favorite Venue to Play

My favorite venue will always be the Ottobar, in my hometown of Baltimore. I’ve played there too many times to count, with several different bands (even my high school emo band), and got to see my all-time favorite acts play there over the years.

Hangover Cure

Gatorade (preferably blue or purple), a Mimosa made with said Gatorade, a shot of the coffee moonshine discussed earlier, a very boozy Bloody Mary.

Jukebox Jam

“Your Love is King” – Sade.

Best Palladino Song to Drink To

Without You.” I love playing this one live because of the light bounce, which makes it an easy song to drunk-dance to.

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