Albany ’s best entertainment sources are the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Times-Union (518/454-5694) and Metroland (518/463-2500), a free alternative weekly.
One of Albany’s foremost art galleries, the Albany Center Galleries (161 Washington Ave., in the Albany Public Library, 518/ 462-4775, www.albanycentergalleries.org , noon–5 p.m. Tues.–Sat.) has been the site of more than 100 major exhibitions since its opening in 1977. Numerous special events are also presented here.
The Egg (Empire State Plaza , Madison Ave. and Swan St., 518/473-1845), named for its shape, is the capital’s premier arts venue. It houses an 880-seat main theater and a 500-seat recital hall; both present a wide range of music, theater, and dance.
The Capital Repertory Theatre (111 N. Pearl St., 518/445-7469) presents classical, contemporary, and world-premier works October–June. The company performs in the 258-seat Market Theater, formerly a grocery store.
Recently restored and updated, the 1931 Palace Theatre (19 Clinton Ave., 518/465-4663), which seats 2,800, was once an opulent movie palace. Today, it’s home to the Albany Symphony Orchestra, and host to touring concert acts, Broadway shows, and movies.
The tiny Albany Civic Theater (235 2nd Ave., 518/462-1297), occupying a converted turn-of-the-century firehouse, presents four theater productions every year. Each runs but three weeks and tickets sell out fast.
The Pepsi Arena (51 South Pearl St., 518/487-2000) is a multi-purpose facility with adaptable seating arrangements that can accommodate crowds ranging in size from 6,000 to 17,500. Concerts, family shows, sporting events, and trade shows are presented.
Comedy Works (141 State St., 518/689-0490) features nationally recognized comedy acts Thursday–Saturday; dinner is available before the show.
Spectrum Eight Theaters (290 Delaware Ave., 518/449-8995) presents art, foreign, commercial, and independent films.
Popular Jillian’s (59 N. Pearl St., 518/432-1997) is a three-story dance club inside an entertainment complex. On Lark Street , long Albany ’s center for nightlife, you’ll find a good blues club, the Lionheart Blues Cafe (258 Lark St., 518/436-9530), and Justin’s (301 Lark St., 518/436-7008), a popular restaurant and singles bar with weekend jazz.
The intimate Valentine’s (17 New Scotland Ave., 518/432-6572) is a top club for local rock. The Lark Tavern (453 Madison Ave., 518/463-9779) hosts local rock, reggae, and “psycho-country” bands.
Another good blues spot is Pauly’s Hotel (337 Central Ave., 518/426-0828), which bills itself as Albany’s oldest tavern. For a drink in a friendly neighborhood bar, step into McCaffrey’s (332 S. Allen St., at New Scotland Ave., 518/435-9537), a long, creaky, hole-in-the-wall that dates back to 1901.
A wander along Lark Street will provide an ever-revolving choice of hotspots, taverns and bars whose popularity flows with the wind.