Grand Ballroom is located on 311 West 34th Street, Manhattan, between Eighth and Ninth Avenue. It forms, along with downstairs Hammerstein Ballroom, Manhattan Center Studios. When Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Free Masonry purchased Oscar Hammerstein’s Manhattan Opera House in 1922, they added the Grand Ballroom on the seventh floor. The building changed hands and uses many times since then, before falling into disrepair in the seventies, only to be reopened in 1986.
Located on the north end of Chelsea, Grand Ballroom is somewhere between the true ‘theater’ of Hammerstein and the more regular venues to the south of it, closer to Union Square, such as Gramercy Theatre, Highline Ballroom, Irving Plaza, and Webster Hall. One goes up an elevator from the lobby of Hammerstein, down a hallway, coming out at Grand Ballroom’s back house-left. The stage floor is a large, carpeted area without chairs. There is a balcony above, with the bar located past a doorway at the center of the back of the place, with bathrooms past that.
Grand Ballroom only hosts one or two ‘rock shows’ a year, usually held through Bowery Presents (which also hosts events at Hammerstein and Webster, as well as running venues Terminal 5, Bowery Ballroom, Music Hall of Williamsburg, and Mercury Lounge), and those are still of the more ‘artsy’ bent. The somewhat lack of amenities and certainly less-often used nature keeps ticket prices from rising like Hammerstein, but not drink prices, which are really too high for the place. Still, it’s quite roomy for a concert venue, and there’s no real reason not to see a band you want to there.
311 West 34th Street (Between Eighth and Ninth Avenue)