Musician Michael Hearst’s Favorite Music Venues In Brooklyn

From his favorite concert venue/bar to the Brooklyn temple of Indie Rock, with a quick stop at a sweet spot for folk lovers, musician and artist Michael Hearst shares his favorite places to see music in Brooklyn.

Michael Hearst is a prolific musician and writer…and a bit obsessive. After composing an entire album dedicated to ice trucks (Songs for Ice Cream Trucks), which has been played in about fifty ice trucks all around the world, he’s now launched an ambitious new three-fold project. His goal? To write three children’s books on themes he cares about: unusual creatures, extraordinary people, and curious constructions. The first two works, Unusual Creatures and Extraordinary People have already been released. The first was even turned into an album of the same name and became a TV series on PBS. As he puts the finishing touches on his latest work Curious Constructions, he took a moment to talk to us about his favorite places to see music in Brooklyn.


My life would be so boring without Barbès. When I first met Olivier Conan in 2001, he told me he wanted to open a music venue/bar in our neighborhood (Park Slope, Brooklyn). I told him that if he opened a venue, I would do whatever I could to help. A few weeks later I was in the back room of Barbès with my hammer and saw, building a stage (which still stands today). Barbès quickly became the home for all of my projects, and over the years such greats as Slavic Soul Party, Chicha Libre, Mandingo Ambassadors, and Stephane Wremble have joined the family. Any night of the week you are guaranteed to walk in and find amazing music, programmed by Olivier himself, ranging from world music to experimental to Americana. You’ll also find witty conversation at the bar (in multiple languages), as well as a delicious vodka martini.

376 9th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215


Une photo publiée par Cyla Costa (@cylacosta) le

A “Jalopy” is an old worn down car or airplane. And although The Jalopy Theatre and School of Music opened in 2006, it certainly fits this vibe in the best sort of way. Where else are you going to find a music school, vintage instrument shop, and performance space all together beneath one roof? Jalopy! For all your bluegrass, country, folk, blues, and traditional world music needs.

315 Columbia St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Union Hall

Need some Brooklyn-style indie-rock? Check out Union Hall. While you’re waiting for the doors to open to the basement performance space, why not play a round of indoor bocce while sipping on bourbon. Keep an eye on their calendar for in-the-know comedy acts, DJ Parties, and bands that are probably playing a much bigger venue in Manhattan the next day.

702 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Michael Hearst’s official website:

Photo: Chris Smith

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