Simultaneously high art and rollicking good fun, the Brooklyn Academy of Music is a Broadway-beating theater space that draws boldfaced names—recently, Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, and John Turturro—to high-caliber productions. BAM comprises two stages: the 2,109-seat Howard Gilman Opera House (plus the four-screen BAM Rose Cinemas)—and, two blocks away, the 874-seat Harvey Theater, with its raw concrete walls and artfully rough-and-ready appearance. (Note that some padded, bench-style seats in the Harvey can be uncomfortable during lengthy performances.) BAM's programming is at its most avant-garde during the Next Wave Festival each fall. You'll never miss the curtain rise when you hit the high-ceilinged BAMcafé, an ideal choice for pre-theater drinks and dinners of crab cakes, strip steak, and Junior's cheesecake for dessert. (BAMcafé opens two hours before every performance at the Howard Gilman Opera House.)
Tip: Every Friday and Saturday night, the space hosts BAMcafé Live, which presents free music from local and international jazz, R&B, pop, and experimental performers.
Additional Location: Howard Gilman Opera House and BAM Rose Cinemas; 30 Lafayette Avenue at St. Felix Place, Brooklyn