It’s literally the city that never sleeps, so if anywhere is gonna have some decent nightlife, it’s New York. Grab your dancing shoes (or trainers, coz a proper club night is for DANCING, baby), and let’s explore some of the best bars and clubs in NYC.
Please Don’t Tell
Found at 113 St Marks Place, PDT (as it’s known locally) is one of New York’s most famous speakeasy-style bars (and it has fair few of ’em), hidden behind a phone booth inside the Crif Dogs hot dog joint. With a cozy and intimate feel on the more rustic side of things (as a proper speakeasy should be) as soon as you step through that phone booth, they’re known for their inventive – and excellently crafted – cocktails. Reservations are recommended, and don’t be late!
A multi-level Irish establishment with a ground-floor taproom and a second-floor parlor, Dead Rabbit is known for its extensive cocktail menu, featuring both historic and contemporary drinks – there’s the Glendalough Whiskey and Sweet Vermouth vanilla-ry concoction the Sugar Plum, as well as their Gaelic Coffee – Powers Three Swallow Pot Still Irish Whiskey, demerara, whipped cream, and nutmeg. For snacking they’ve got home-made chips, potato and leek soup, and good ol’ popcorn laced with Kerrygold Butter. The atmosphere is lively here, and the decor reflects the history of its Financial District location.
Find it at 30 Water Street.
McSorley’s Old Ale House
One of the city’s oldest and most iconic bars, McSorley’s Old Ale House was built waaay back in 1854 (practically ancient for this young country). A popular spot for Irish immigrants in the 19th century, it’s seen a diverse clientele in the many years since. It’s got a no-frills, old-world atmosphere – think sawdust-covered floors (to help soak up all that tobacco spitting back in the day, no longer allowed), antique memorabilia like wishbones left by soldiers headed to war, and historic photographs all over the place. Divided into two rooms, you can expect a rustic and authentic pub experience – for NYC, anyway!
Find it in the East Village, at 15 E 7th St.
The Long Island Bar
Over in Brooklyn is the Long Island Bar, as New York as they come. Open since the 50s, it still retains (after a few face lifts) its classic, mid-century aesthetic. We’re talking classic barstools, booths, and all those vintage neon signs outside.
This place might look like and be a classic, but its menu is right up there with the newest bars in town. You can try the White Negroni Sbagliato, their improved Pendennis Club (gin, apricot, lime juice, and Peychaud’s Bitters), and – obvs – their Long Island Gimlet. A fixture in its neighbourhood, it also has live music and other special events on the calendar.
Find it at 110 Atlantic Avenue.
Sunken Harbor Club
This place just looks plain fun. Originally a pop-up but now firmly anchored on the second floor above Gage & Tollner in Downtown Brooklyn, Sunken Harbor Club is a neat little immersive nautical-themed bar “inspired by tales of adventure and the mysteries of the deep”. Basically, it looks incredibly cool.
And the fun doesn’t stop there – the drinks menu is divided up into how legless the cocktails will make you, with categories like ‘In the Shallows’, ‘The Twilight Zone’, and ‘The Abyss’. They’ve got options for those going sober too, find them under ‘On Dry Land.’ It’s strictly first-come, first-served on Fridays and Saturdays (be prepared for a wait and don’t be afraid to use those peg legs – just kidding!), but they have a limited numbers of reservations Sunday – Thursday. Find them at 372 Fulton Street.
You don’t need to go prowling the streets of the Big Apple looking for a mega club, because this is it. Voted no.8 in the top clubs in the world by DJ Mag, this trailblazer of a venue in the heart of Brooklyn offers a totally otherworldly experience for the party animals amongst you who crave some music vibes on the new and exciting side.
Avant Gardner has a star-studded line-up of DJs and live performances across its multiple stages and event spaces, from Camelphat and Afrojack to Franky Wah. And when you chuck in some mind-blowing visuals, immersive art installations, and cutting-edge sound systems to boot, there’s pretty much something for all of you.
From techno to hip hop, indie to house, this is for the seasoned veterans and those just out for a good time.
Described as a slice of Neverland in the heart of New York, Nowadays doesn’t just come with a top-notch sound system – it comes with a top-notch menu too. Zumbador offers craft beer, cocktails (try the St Germain Spritz), and some good old tinnies too.
Set in a huge outdoor space, this place doesn’t look like your usual club, and by day its home to Mister Sunday and the Ridgewood Market, but with the introduction of a 5,000-square-foot indoor venue, DJs can now spin late into the night (and the next morning).
Find it in Flushing, Queens – happy hour runs all evening Monday to Thursday.
Next on the list is Marquee, a staple of the Manhattan club scene for two decades now. This multi-level space is massive – like, 5,000-square-foot massive – with swanky VIP areas and a stunning light show with lasers (oh, we do love a good laser) to boot. They’ve hosted some of the biggest names in the music industry, including DJ Tiesto and Deadmau5, Zedd, and Steve Aoki. They favour mostly EDM and Hip Hop, and this upscale shingdig is said to have more than the odd celeb in attendance too, so keep an eye out.
Marquee is open Friday and Saturday from 11pm to 4am for you serious night owls, and it’s also open slightly later on a Wednesday for a mid-week pick me up, from 11.30pm to 4am.
This one’s for those who like it a bit…weird. Accessed via a newstand close to Colombus Circle in Midtown Manhattan, The Stranger is one of New York’s newest and, er, strangest clubs. At the weekend, this unassuming newstand transforms into a gateway into something crazy. We’re talking leather bodysuits and masks – and that’s before you’ve even got through the front door!
Once in, you can expect some seriously psychedelic sculptures, karaoke booths and burlesque dancers galore! They call it a ‘panoply of pleasures’ – oo-er. The main room has a stage with a 15ft robot shooting lasers out of its hands, whilst upstairs you can wander, dazed and confused, through various spaces – an elegant bar, a room of mirrors, a blackjack game in full flow, you name it.
Sign us up already! You’ll find it on West 57th Street, but Google just lists it as a ‘coffee stand’ – buy tickets in advance for around $56 here.
We know you’re wondering it, so where do famous people go clubbing in New York?
1 OAK (which stands for One of a Kind) comes up a lot as a potential celeb-catching spot in NYC, with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio said to hang out on a regular basis. The Stranger (see above) is also known to be one of Joe Jonas’ fave clubs. But bars are really your best bet to spot celebs, unless you want to cough up a whole lot of dollar just to get in the door of a seriously upscale club. Try The Monkey Bar, going since Prohibition, or the Backroom Bar speakeasy, more well known now, it used to be a well kept secret and favourite haunt of celebs.
If you strike out, just keep an eye out on the streets and coffee shops as you go about the city – this is actually where you’re most likely to spot a familiar face!
And what’s the club that’s like Berghain in NYC?
That’ll be Basement. A no-frills techno venue based within a network of brick tunnels that used to heat the glass factory above it on Flushing Avenue in Queens, it comes with a whole list of house rules , which include: no photos or videos, no talking on the dancefloor, no heels or formal clothing, and that your entry into the club will be based on whether or not they reckon you’ll contribute to a ‘highly engaged dance floor’ – a ticket does not guarantee entry, so dress to impress!