New York City Bars & Nightlife
Bars & Nightlife neighborhood
180 West St., Greenpoint
Local restaurateur Andrew Tarlow (who brought you other old-school-Brooklyn-inspired destinations Diner, Marlow & Sons, and the Wythe Hotel) opened this low-key neighborhood gastropub in an early-1900s bar facing the East River that was once frequented by the workers from nearby shipyard docks. The kitchen here is minor, but chef Lee Desrosiers designed a menu of light, gently cooked fare—think poached fish, beef tartare, or heirloom veggies in broth—sourcing ingredients, naturally, from its sister business, Williamsburg butcher shop and artisan grocer Marlow & Daughters.
Air’s Champagne Parlor
127 Macdougal St., Greenwich Village
It's hard to imagine a better place to do drinks with girlfriends than this feminine champagne parlor, which features a marble bar, deep green velvet banquettes, and gold stools. In addition to an extensive list of champagnes and sparkling wines by the glass, they have a great little snack menu featuring oysters, caviar, charcuterie, and a seriously good grilled cheese. Come during their "bubbly hour," when you can get three glasses of champagne by the glass plus a snack for $30 a person.
8 Stuyvesant St., East Village
Tucked away on the second floor through a hidden door in a Japanese restaurant, this speakeasy-style hideaway serves really great cocktails. The best part though is that they only allow a handful of parties in at once (and limited party sizes at that), meaning that it's never crowded. (Never crowded does not mean that you sometimes don't have to wait.)
Ballroom at the Jane Hotel
113 Jane St., West Village
Don't be fooled by the Persian carpets, the roaring fireplace, or the woody interiors—this spot functions more like a night club than a sleepy hotel bar. There's a DJ and you can expect dancing (on the couches), a bit of a line at the bar, and a wait at the entrance (with bouncers). It's worth it for the drinks, the music, and the scene.
Bar 44 at The Royalton
44 W. 44th St., Times Square
Roman & Williams executed a beautiful refresh of Philippe Starck's iconic first hotel back in 2007, and it continues to exude their signature moody style, with dark woods, brass fixtures, and plenty of leather. It's great for after-work drinks when you actually need to hear the conversation.
125 E. 17th St., Gramercy
This is a Batali-Bastianich collaboration, so expect nothing less than delicious tapas—excellent meats, manchego cheese, boquerones—all served up as authentically as if you were in Madrid. If you come just for drinks, you won't be disappointed by the list, and you can pretty much make a meal out of a few of their authentic offerings. (If you're still hungry, head next door to Casa Mono.)
The Carlysle Hotel, 35 E. 76th St., Upper East Side
This is a seriously charming, truly legendary New Yorker's bar: For starters, the clubby space is covered in Madeline author Ludwig Bemelmans's whimsical murals—a tribute to the city's quirky inhabitants—and to top it off, you might just run into Woody Allen playing the clarinet (his band plays Monday nights).
Black Mountain Wine House
415 Union St., Carroll Gardens
This warmly-lit, cozy, wooden house offers an excellent selection of wines and a small menu of casual small plates. Brimming with charm, this is a great spot for a laid-back date or for meeting up for a drink (and then just never leaving).
Boom Boom Room
848 Washington St., Meatpacking District
Located on the 18th floor of The Standard Hotel—with spectacular views of the Hudson and the High Line—the Boom Boom Room is even better when you're looking in. With its intimate, velvety banquettes, and great people watching, it's always fun. While there, migrate over to André Saraiva's pet project, Le Bain, next door, which has a swimming pool among other attractions.
Bowery Hotel Bar
335 Bowery, East Village
Ideally located where NoHo, the East Village, and Nolita meet, this hotel's bright bedrooms and contrastingly cavernous bar attracts the rockstar set—for scene, but also for comfort. Downstairs, Gemma is a good spot for a drink (it’s also a good dinner option for bigger groups). There's a great bar on the second floor that's often rented out for events—and sometimes only available for hotel guests. But it's always worth asking.
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