Marie’s Crisis is a beloved sing-along piano bar for musical theater lovers in the West Village. The dim basement space is historically a gay bar, but all are welcome and there’s no room for judgment when locals and visitors are belting their faces off to songs such as “Maybe This Time” or “One Day More” with $6 cocktails in hand. The pianists are insanely talented and the servers taking your orders on the floor also moonlight as the soloists throughout the evening.
While the bar’s status as a sing-along mecca may be well-known, its history is not. The little basement allegedly served as a prostitution den in the 1850s and a “boys’ bar” (a gay bar) in the 1890s. However, it was decades earlier, in a small wooden building that’s since been demolished, that 59 Grove Street housed its most famous tenant. Those belting out “All That Jazz” might not realize that they’re standing on the site where Thomas Paine, the political writer and revolutionary most famous for penning Common Sense, died in 1809. In fact, the bar’s name is a reference to both Paine’s American Crisis (also known as simply The Crisis) pamphlets and its original owner, Marie DuMont. Visitors who want a bit of history while taking a break from singing can even check out a plaque on the outside of the building, added in the early 1900s, commemorating Paine.
Know Before You Go
Tips: Don't request a song that isn't musical theatre. You will be shunned (in a nice, fully West-Village-accepting way). You may even see a celebrity, particularly from the Broadway community.