The Duplex: NYC’s Longest Running Cabaret Bar
The Duplex is the superstar of Seventh Avenue South and Christopher Street, with its name shining bright for all to see. A broad variety of shows takes place here, from campy drag acts to piano balladeers to intimate performances by some of Broadway’s brightest stars. Many famous artists have found a home at the Duplex’s Upstairs cabaret space, which has hosted a plethora of performers as well.
Established in 1951, this year marks the 69th anniversary of the legendary establishment and West Village gem.The multivenue set up of the Duplex makes it unique. The bar is composed of different sections that each offer their own form of entertainment. The downstairs boasts a piano bar with open mic and live music every night of the week, the upstairs bar features drag performances, DJs, and music videos, and there is even an intimate off-Broadway cabaret theater where one can see anything ranging from a comedy set to a dramatic one-act play. There is something for everyone at the Duplex, allowing it to be a nurturing incubator for emerging artists.
Originally under the direction of Tony Award-winning actor Hal Holbrook, the club has built its reputation as a dynamic platform for new and emerging talent, performers seeking to launch their career and hone their craft. The legendary Duplex kick-started the careers of legends like Woody Allen, Joan Rivers, and Barbara Streisand. Rivers and Allen actually first met here as they were finding their comedic voices as rising legends in the smoke-filled nightspots of Greenwich Village. Even after Rivers reached stardom, she would still come back to the Duplex’s cabaret room to reminisce and share a laugh with the people who gave her that first shot. Photos of the superstars like Rivers whose careers the club has helped launch line the walls, inspiring new artists to utilize the stage to make their mark.
You can scan the Duplex’s calendar of events here or just stop in Monday-Friday from 4 to 8 pm for happy hour. You can also watch nightly shows at 9 pm in the piano bar — one of the few places in New York where you can watch your bartender serve your drink and belt out a show tune at the same time! One of our main goals here at Village Preservation is to support small businesses like the Duplex so that they can stay around for future generations. Learn more about our small business initiatives here.
We recently hosted an event at the Duplex to showcase our oral history collection. Penny Arcade is a contributor to Village Preservation’s wonderful book “Greenwich Village Stories” (which makes a great gift you can purchase here!) and was the host of Village Preservation’s 2018 Village Awards. She kindly celebrated her oral history she conducted with us with a special event at the famous cabaret room of the Duplex. You can see photos of the event here. You can also check out our upcoming events here.