One of my favorite places in New York has to be Fat Cat. It's a gigantic basement of games (pool, ping pong, scrabble, chess, shuffleboard) plus live jazz music all night long. A large percentage of the clientele is NYU students who don't give a shit about the music but even so, the atmosphere is usually pretty crazy. The musicians might be jazz students or veterans hanging out late and playing with the kids. If you don't like the games, have some beer or wine and just dig.
I had a great time at Minton's Playhouse the other night. It felt like Augie's (now SMOKE) back in the day. On April 29th, they'll be celebrating Duke Ellington's 110th birthday. Performing is Darby Dizard and the Blue Millenium Orchestra, featuring several alumni of Duke Ellington's Orchestra. Git it in yer soul.