Well, it turns out Houston Street still has a few tricks up its leather sleeve, in the form of singer/songwriter/owner Gavin DeGraw's National Underground, an old-school rock-n-blues tavern which just quietly opened its doors in the old Martignetti Liquor space.
Channeling the kind of spots you only see on your southern jaunts (and in Road House), this Underground is getting rid of ticket lines and stages. It's just an unassuming bar with a mic stand in the corner, some Crazy Horse-inspired table art with silhouettes of the female form, and a metallic crest welded on the bar...well, maybe "unassuming" is too strong a word. But with a lounge curtained-off in the back providing more than a couple intimate corners, you'll have no trouble settling in.
When the place gets fully up-and-running, the owners will use their "industry clout" to put on a steady stream of acts worth seeing up close—think backstage at a Fever Dog show with a little Johnny Cash and Jack Daniels thrown in. And the larger space downstairs offers up even more old school rock ambience, courtesy of the checkerboard tiles and booths from the set of the Godfather (snagged from an old Bowery set-furniture store).
Check it out Maunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday...