New York City

New Yorkers are fond of the "work hard, play hard" maxim, but the truth is, Gothamites don't need much of an excuse to hit the town. Any day of the week could easily be mistaken for a Friday or Saturday; the bottom line is that when the the mood strikes, there are always plenty of choices in this 24-hour city. Whether it's raising a glass in a historic saloon, a dimly lit cocktail den, or a swanky rooftop lounge; checking out the latest band; or laughing it up at a comedy show, it isn't hard for visitors to get a piece of the action.

The nightlife scene still resides largely downtown—in the dives and speakeasies of the East Village and Lower East Side, the classic jazz joints and piano bars of the West Village, and the Meatpacking District's and Chelsea's "see-and-be-seen" clubs. Midtown, especially around Hell's Kitchen, has developed a vibrant scene, too, and plenty of upscale hangouts dot the Upper East and Upper West Sides. Brooklyn and Harlem are go-to destinations for in-the-know locals.

Keep in mind that when you go is just as important as where you go. A club that is packed at 11 pm might empty out by midnight, and a bar that raged last night may be completely empty tonight. Time Out New York magazine has a good list of roving parties (, as does Urban Daddy ( Scour industry-centric websites, too, like Eater and Grub Street, which catalog the comings and goings of many a nightlife impresario. New York magazine and the New York Times have listings of cabaret and jazz shows, the latter mainly in its Friday and Sunday Arts sections. Bear in mind that a venue's life span is often measured in months, not years. Phone ahead or check online to make sure your target hasn't closed or turned into a polka hall (although, you never know—that could be fun, too).

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  • 1. Back Room

    Lower East Side | Bars/Pubs

    The atmospheric Prohibition-era touches here include tin ceilings, chandeliers, velvet wallpaper, mirrored bars, an ample fireplace, and a ...Read More

  • 2. Bar Chord


    A rotating selection of craft beers and numerous small-batch spirits, nightly live music (never a cover charge), a stellar jukebox, and an expansive...Read More

  • 3. Barbès

    Park Slope | Live Music

    Outstanding regulars like the Django Reinhardt mantle-bearer Stephane Wrembel, western-swingers Brain Cloud, and Slavic Soul Party spin threads...Read More

  • 4. Blue Note

    Greenwich Village | Live Music

    Considered by many (not least its current owners) to be "the jazz capital of the world," the Blue Note was once the stomping ground for such...Read More

  • 5. Blueprint

    Park Slope | Bars/Pubs

    Homemade bitters, syrups, and ginger beer make every carefully made cocktail here all the more tasty. Try the house favorite Smoky Mary's, with...Read More

  • 6. Bowery Ballroom

    Lower East Side | Live Music

    This legendary theater with Art Deco accents is probably the city's top midsize concert venue. Packing in the crowds here is a rite of passage...Read More

  • 7. Brandy's Piano Bar

    Upper East Side | Piano Bars

    The singing waitstaff warm up the mixed crowd at this delightful and intimate uptown saloon and piano bar, getting everyone in the mood to belt...Read More

  • 8. Brooklyn Inn

    Boerum Hill | Bars/Pubs

    One of Brooklyn's oldest and most unassuming bars, the Brooklyn Inn doesn't rely on gimmicks: it just serves reasonably priced beer and mainstay...Read More

  • 9. Casablanca Cocktail Lounge


    It's easy to see why seemingly the whole neighborhood has embraced this latest incarnation of Casablanca—there's been a bar with that name on...Read More

  • 10. Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola

    Midtown West | Live Music

    For a night of jazz with big names and talent but without the pretension, turn to Dizzy's, an intimate club with Manhattan-skyline and Central...Read More

  • 11. Donna


    This cocktail bar bills itself as "an elegant space for dirty kids"—that is, just because you like nice things doesn't necessarily mean you...Read More

  • 12. Employees Only

    West Village | Bars/Pubs

    The dapper white-coated bartenders at this cocktail bar mix delicious, well-thought-out tipples with debonair aplomb and freshly squeezed mixers...Read More

  • 13. Existing Conditions

    Greenwich Village | Bars/Pubs

    Science and booze merge beautifully at this experimental cocktail bar with exposed brick walls and wooden tables. The cocktail-shaking wizards...Read More

  • 14. Featherweight

    East Williamsburg | Bars/Pubs

    The cocktail list at this small spot is full of the hits you'd expect at a bar run by the experts behind the two Weather Up spaces in Manhattan...Read More

  • 15. Floyd

    Brooklyn Heights | Bars/Pubs

    Comfy sofas, a relaxed scene, and large boccie courts have made this bar a neighborhood staple. And while the beer cheese dip is memorable,...Read More

  • 16. Freddy's Bar and Backroom


    We could tell you this place has history—Freddy's has been in South Slope since 2011, but it occupied its previous home in Prospect Heights...Read More

  • 17. Hot Bird


    A barbecue-chicken joint was the previous tenant of this laid-back bar with a large patio on an industrial stretch of Atlantic Avenue—hence...Read More

  • 18. Hotel Delmano


    It's easy to miss the unmarked entrance to this cocktail bar on Berry Street, but head to the entrance on North 9th Street and you'll feel whisked...Read More

  • 19. Ides Bar2

    Williamsburg | Bars/Pubs

    One of the buzziest bars in Williamsburg, the Ides benefits from its privileged position on the Wythe Hotel's rooftop. Well-heeled patrons from...Read More

  • 20. Irving Plaza

    Gramercy | Live Music

    A relatively intimate venue that holds about 1,000 people on two levels, Irving Plaza is known for its packed lineup of both indie and more...Read More

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