Joe's NYC Bar

Immersive Joe’s NYC Bar returns to Edinburgh Festival Fringe with two shows a day at Assembly Underground. The audience arrives at the venue and begin to queue outside for the experience of being transported to Brooklyn dive bar Joe’s. Coming out to his queuing punters, Gabriel the owner welcomes the mob with a charismatic talk on bar etiquette - the “don’t be a dick” talk - and we are then plunged into the anarchic dim-lit, grungy, converted-warehouse feeling Joe’s. Decorated with old brick, huge collages of vintage posters, and political graffiti reminders such as “Power to the People”.

Joe’s NYC Bar has the opportunity to open up political and philosophical debates that hold potential to create a genuine impact on its participants.

Blended in with the audience, dotted about at the bar and on tables are actors; we have the angsty barmaid, Gabe’s sleazy brother, and some eccentric regulars mooching around. The format of the show is essentially drinking, watch some live music, and talk. These talks are lead by Gabe strolling around and easing us into casual collective conversation, asking general, yet personal questions to the audience. Between pockets of conversation, or to give us a bit of a break from the action, guitarist and singer songwriter Michelle Shocked riffs us off some sweet blues, some of the most passionate and energetic solo music performances many of us will have seen.

This show is heavily dependent on the attendance of an audience ready and prepared to talk, for without it, it just becomes open-ended conversations that lose meaning, and we are subjected to the melodramatic scripted drama between the actors. When an audience is not as responsive to conversation, the actors have to work hard to keep things moving. Going back once again to try and spark off an exciting topic we may have touched on, we find ourselves going about in circles. With a willing and vulnerable audience, Joe’s NYC Bar has the opportunity to open up political and philosophical debates that hold potential to create a genuine impact on its participants. 

Reviews by Isabella Javor

Theatre Royal Haymarket

The Rat Pack - Live from Las Vegas

Bush Theatre

Parliament Square

The Royal Court Theatre


Trafalgar Studio 2

The Red Lion

Paradise in The Vault


Assembly Roxy



Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

An interactive, improvisational immersive theatre experience, in which the audience is transported to a bar in New York City. Fresh from a sell-out Off-Broadway run, Joe's returns to Edinburgh. Follow @JoesNYCBar for musical guest announcements. '3-D theatre that will pull you in' (Orlando Sentinel). 'Incredibly well conceived and executed' ***** ( 'Exceptionally acted immersive theatre, funny and flawlessly executed' ***** ( 'Utterly engrossing, imagine Bukowski had written an episode of Cheers' **** ( 'Immersive and interactive theatre at its best. A triumph of improvisation and interaction. Hugely entertaining and thought-provoking' **** (

Most Popular See More

Mamma Mia!

From £15.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £35.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets