How to party from dusk ‘til dawn in the city that never sleeps.
Between classy cocktail bars, historic dives, local pubs, and raging clubs, there’s a reason New York is called the “city that never sleeps.” Whether you want a great martini or are looking for a place to listen to live music, there’s a bar for you. We did the hard work of bar hopping across the city to guide you to the best places to go out after dark. You can thank us later.
Look for the neon psychic sign to find this award-winning speakeasy, where the cocktails are treated like an art form. The beautiful space channels Art Deco New York, with green glass shelves, vintage artifacts, and paintings in gold frames. Sidle up to the bar, where white-jacketed bartenders shake and stir concoctions with theatrical flair. Just be warned—this place gets packed, so if you want to find a seat, come early.
Lemon's at the Wythe Hotel
It may not be the new kid on the block anymore, but Brooklyn’s original boutique hotel still has one of the best bars in the borough. Walk through the lobby and take the elevator up to the sixth floor, where Lemon’s awaits. Floor-to-ceiling windows place the emphasis squarely on the views. In warmer weather, find a seat outside on the terrace, where you can see the Manhattan skyline stretching from the World Trade Center up to the Empire State Building. There’s a great selection of cocktails, beer, wine, and small plates.
Westlight at the William Vale
Yes, it’s overpriced and you’ll probably have to wait in line, but Westlight at the William Vale lays claim to the best views of Manhattan. At 23 stories, it towers over the other buildings in Williamsburg like an alien spaceship. Cocktails start at $16 and small plates by acclaimed chef Andrew Carmellini range from $8 to $21. Creative dishes like shrimp cocktail dumplings with Thai chili sauce and local fish ceviche are tasty but might leave you craving pizza afterward.
Going to this kitschy Greenpoint bar is a bit like walking into a 1970s Vegas drug den, but in a good way. Gold glitter tables, red leather booths, and oil paintings of jungle animals and dead celebrities set the tone for a fun spot that doesn’t take itself too seriously. There’s a good selection of craft beer, a frozen cocktail served out of a slushie machine, and a pool table in the back. True to its name, free goldfish crackers are available upon request.
The home of popular immersive play Sleep No More has a lot more to offer. The team behind the McKittrick Hotel would have you believe that the once-great hotel was shuttered for decades, and when they purchased the property, they simply turned a key and dusted the furniture off. Different floors contain various venues that all evoke a more glamorous era, including a supper club (the Club Car), an intimate lounge where singers croon (the Manderley Bar), and a rooftop bar and restaurant that evokes a French Provençal garden in summer and a Scottish cabin in winter (Gallow Green).
Raines Law Room
Hidden behind a nondescript door in Chelsea, a gorgeous Victorian-style lounge awaits. Pass through the heavy velvet curtain and you’ll find plush sofas arranged around low tables in intimate little nooks, damask wallpaper, a fireplace, antique mirrors, and vintage pictures in gold frames. The cocktails were developed by acclaimed bartender-slash-partner Meaghan Dorman, who trained in the Milk & Honey school but puts her own spin on things.
This elegant unmarked lounge on Irving Place features a design that goes farther back in time the deeper you go. Start in the 1960s in a room that evokes Mad Men-era New York, continue into the 1920s, then back in time to the 1880s, and finally into the back room, which looks like something out of Marie Antoinette’s palace. This bar is run by the same team behind the Raines Law Room, so you know the cocktails are going to be top-notch.
Death & Company
This East Village stalwart is known for serving some of the most complex cocktails around. The menu is practically a book and the descriptions are bound to list ingredients you’ve never heard of. Need some guidance? The expert staff can help guide you to the drink that’ll tickle your fancy. Like the casinos of Vegas, this bar has no windows and no clocks, so it’s easy to lose track of time and drink ‘til the sun rises. Yeah, they did that on purpose.
Amor y Amargo
This pint-sized spot bills itself as a “bitters tasting room,” and Sother Teague, who presides over it, is an expert in the stuff. He proudly doesn’t stock any fresh juices, only booze and water (still and sparkling), but he can do incredible things with the items he keeps on hand. (For example, he makes a rum and Coke variation without any Coke.) The reason to come is to taste rare amari like Ramazotti and Sfumato Rabarbaro neat, as well as his original creations incorporating them.
The Back Room
New York is famous for its 1920s-inspired speakeasies, but this is one of the only remaining spots that actually was a speakeasy during Prohibition. Back then, it was a hangout for notorious gangster Lucky Luciano and his crew, who had a back door they could escape through if the cops showed up. To find the bar, look for the toy shop sign, descend a staircase, walk through a sketchy-looking alley, up another set of steps, and through a door that opens onto an ornate lounge. Damask wallpaper, paintings in gold frames, vintage sofas, and a fireplace set the stage for a night out. Try to find the back room of the Back Room if you can.
Grand Republic Cocktail Club
This neighborhood watering hole feels like an old sailor’s bar tucked away in a quiet corner of Greenpoint near the waterfront. Inside, maritime motifs and Sailor Jerry–style artwork adorn the dimly lit bar, where bartenders stir and shake cocktails like the Salty Dog (made with gin, grapefruit, and salt) and a truffle martini. If it’s warm enough, grab a spot in the casual backyard hung with string lights and mingle with the locals.
Inspired by the weathered old drinking dens of New Orleans, this unmarked bar on a corner in Williamsburg is beloved by locals for its romantic atmosphere and great cocktails. The owners designed and built the space themselves and created the cocktail menu, which sticks to the classics with a few twists. There’s also a raw bar with oysters and other small plates, like local cheeses.
Located in an old pool-supply store under a rather unappealing section of the BQE, this Williamsburg lounge from the team behind Hotel Delmano is a hot spot for live music and DJ sets. You can sometimes catch a show on during the week, but this place really comes alive on weekends, when the party lasts late into the night. Inside, there are several rooms providing different atmospheres, including an open-air courtyard with a taco truck.
St. Mazie Bar & Supper Club
Long and narrow, with a bar up front and tables in the back, this 1920s-inspired lounge is the place to go to see live jazz, flamenco, and swing in an intimate venue while sipping an old-fashioned. Downstairs, in a space that served as a speakeasy during Prohibition, a full menu is served in a romantic cavelike atmosphere with stone walls, rustic wooden tables, and gold-framed paintings. This place is definitely date-night material.
At this Greenwich Village drinking den, the decor may seem simple but the cocktails are anything but. A dream-team collaboration between Dave Arnold (of the now-shuttered Booker & Dax), Don Lee (of PDT), and Greg Boehm (of Cocktail Kingdom), Existing Conditions serves cocktails made using some of the high-tech, science-geek techniques Arnold is known for. It also has the city’s only cocktail vending machine, which dispenses pre-bottled martinis, manhattans, and buttered-popcorn-infused rum and Cokes.
Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle
For a classic New York night on the town, this swanky Upper East Side haunt inside the Carlyle Hotel can’t be beat. Murals by Ludwig Bemelmans—author of the Madeline children’s books—adorn the walls. (Fun fact: he painted them in 1947 in exchange for room and board at the hotel for a year.) White-jacket-clad waiters whisk classic cocktails to the sophisticated patrons sitting at round tables positioned around the room. Though you can’t go wrong with your drink order, this place makes one of the best martinis in the city.
The Broken Shaker at the Freehand
The New York outpost of Miami’s groundbreaking cocktail bar occupies the top floor of the Freehand Hotel in the Flatiron District. Talented bartenders Gabe Orta and Elad Zvi are behind the menu, which features wacky creations like the poppy-seed-bagel fizz. (It sounds weirder than it tastes.) When the weather is nice, the rooftop space gets especially packed. If it’s too crowded, you can head downstairs to the George Washington Bar, which also makes great drinks.
One of the newest speakeasy-style bars to hit the New York nightlife scene, the 18th Room was named in homage to the 18th Amendment, which ushered in Prohibition. The plush lounge hidden behind Stone Street Coffee in Chelsea draws design cues from the 1920s Art Deco style but features a forward-thinking cocktail concierge service. If you don’t want to order off the menu, a server will fill out your preferences via iPad and have the bartenders create something to your liking.
Hidden behind a coffee shop in NoMad, this dark, moody bar is housed in Nikola Tesla’s former home and laboratory, and the design pays homage to him, with Edison bulbs and blueprint-style drawings on the menus. Cocktails by alums of the Dead Rabbit and BlackTail are sure to electrify your evening.