Where to Find the Hottest Burlesque Shows in NYC

Published On 05/29/2016 Published On 05/29/2016
Maxine nienow
Circus Revue | Maxine nienow
Kat Market

Circus Revue

House of Yes

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It's wall-to-wall sexy-meets-strange at this very affordable Brooklyn performance space, where burlesque dance shows regularly take center stage in the main room (yes, you can drink there), complete with jazz, aerialists, and more props than a Hollywood set. Then there's the overall anarchy of its signature Circus Revue -- picture an extremely NSFW Cirque du Soleil, with a free dance party in the front room after the show.

BIZARRE Bushwick

Bushwick Burlesque


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This themed show on the third Tuesday of every month pushes the boundaries of just how weird a burlesque performance can be: picture abstract surrealist cabaret, with some cross-dressing and glitter thrown in for good measure. The venue itself is French-themed, doubles as an absinthe bar, and the entire room is coated in a Red Light District filter. What's not to love?

Mark Shelby Perry


Duane Park

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The crazy part about this place is, it looks like a run-of-the-mill (yet classy) banquet hall -- until you look up and see a corset-clad dancer dangling from a silk scarf on the ceiling. Between the fancy ambiance, delicious Southern plates (get the Georgia cheese grits), and the slew of saucy minxes taking the stage throughout the week, there's no shortage of reasons to hit this place up during the week.

Any show

The Box

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Located on the LES near Freeman Alley, this place feels downright illicit as soon as you walk in -- add in the fact Simon Hammerstein (he of the Broadway royalty Hammersteins) is the brainchild behind this New Orleans-style speakeasy, and you know you're in for something spectacular. The nightly shows start at 1am, and can best be described as equal parts freaky and sexy, with additional acts continuing on through the rest of the night. The “dinner theater” sources its extremely talented (and limber) performers from all over the world, and you'll wanna show up by midnight to ensure you get to see every last one of them.

Dumbo Burlesque

Take a Turn for the Nurse

Nurse Bettie

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The Wednesday show here stays true to the bar's name by embracing a sexy pin-up motif, but on the off chance you're not able to make it, have no fear: there's an equally sexy Thursday show called "Spanking the Lower East Side," hosted by Calamity Chang (the self-proclaimed "Asian Sexsation"). Plus, the place is tiny, so you'll be about as up close and personal as you can be without actually being in the show.

Best of all, both shows are 100% free, and while the idea of a free burlesque show might sound kinda gross, rest assured: it's just as tantalizing as the paid performances on this list.

Steve Prue

RAWR! Burlesque

Lovecraft Bar

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East Village

Each of the performers at this idiosyncratic-meets-sexy show has their own playful character -- think Power Rangers, but with far less clothes (and much hotter). In addition to their regular performance every third Thursday, the RAWR! crew holds an experimental “Burlesque Lab” on the first Thursday of every month, allowing audience members to watch established performers (and newcomers) workshop their latest routines. It's like watching a college seminar, except the instructors get naked!  


The Slipper Room Show

The Slipper Room

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If you've only ever been here for the excellent comedy show, you're seriously missing out: this place is one of the most notorious burlesque venues in the city. In addition to the eponymous Slipper Room Show, the venue host multiple guest events like Glitter Gutter, The Girly Girl Revue, and Mr Choade's Upstairs Downstairs -- all are wickedly entertaining, and performed in intimate stage setting that's equal parts swank and spank.

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1. House of Yes 2 Wyckoff Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237

What began as a gritty underground theater and party venue in East Williamsburg expanded to the big leagues when it moved into a shiny warehouse location in 2015. Part-bar, part-nightclub, and part-brunch spot, House of Yes is versatile -- as is the rainbow clientele it draws. Strobe lights! Aerialists! Three bars and an atrium! Events vary from immersive film screenings (The Prestige with live magic acts) to ragers commemorating David Bowie. Arguably, the best part is nursing that “dance hangover” with a cappuccino and avocado toast the next morning. Did we mention the mirror-tiled, six-armed statue overlooking the urinals?

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2. Bizarre 12 Jefferson St., Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY 11206

Bizarre Bushwick is a hip bar and venue with regular live entertainment. This spot with a clubby venue serves craft cocktails, snacks, and attracts big crowds on the third Tuesday of every month where a themed burlesque show goes down. This spot pushes boundaries with abstract surrealist cabaret with some cross-dressing and glitter thrown in for good measure. The venue itself is French-themed, doubles as an absinthe bar, and the entire room is coated in a Red Light District filter.

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3. Duane Park 157 Duane St, New York, NY 10013

A chandeliered, southern-colonial manse of a joint, DP comes from an unlikely three-pronged partnership led by a one-time 80s Brit Pop band manager -- who, weary of babysitting immature drug addicts, decided to enter New York's service industry.

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4. The Box 189 Chrystie, New York, NY 10002

By now you've probably heard of this place: a New Orleans bordello-looking burlesque theater/nightclub designed by Simon Hammerstein, grandson of (Rogers and) Hammerstein, whose music you either hate... or perhaps secretly adore.

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5. Nurse Bettie 106 Norfolk, New York, NY 10002

This beloved LES cocktail haunt serves classic libations with a twist. Inspired by glamorous 1950s pin-up girls and the rockabilly music scene, this diner-esque dive doles out speciality drinks named after famous vixens of the day and regularly hosts burlesque performances. While the retro ambiance may or may not be your thing, solid happy hour deals and a lively clientele make this spot worth stopping by.

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6. Lovecraft 50 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

This spooky Alphabet City cocktail den is home to a sultry/freaky vibe, strong drinks, and an eclectic crowd.