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 (www.timeout.com/newyork), as does Urban Daddy (www.urbandaddy.com/new-york). 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. Bar Chord

    Bars/Pubs

    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

  • 2. Barbès

    Park Slope | Music Clubs

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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Casablanca Cocktail Lounge

    Bars/Pubs

    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

  • 6. Donna

    Bars/Pubs

    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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. Freddy's Bar and Backroom

    Bars/Pubs

    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

  • 10. Hot Bird

    Bars/Pubs

    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

  • 11. Hotel Delmano

    Bars/Pubs

    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

  • 12. 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

  • 13. Maison Premiere

    Williamsburg | Bars/Pubs

    Step inside this buzzy bar and restaurant, marked only by a small "Bar, Oysters" sign, and you'll instantly feel whisked away to New Orleans...Read More

  • 14. Ruby's

    Coney Island | Bars/Pubs

    Patrons from around the world have been drinking at this boardwalk mainstay since much-beloved local boy Ruby Jacobs opened it in 1972. The...Read More

  • 15. St. Mazie Bar & Supper Club

    Music Clubs

    On Grand Street nearly abutting the highway is the 1920s-style St. Mazie, which presents excellent gypsy jazz and flamenco music to a crowd...Read More

  • 16. Sunny's Bar

    Red Hook | Bars/Pubs

    This intimate dive bar is a Red Hook landmark, known for its laid-back atmosphere and live bluegrass and jazz. The music is in the back room...Read More

  • 17. Sycamore Bar & Flowershop

    Bars/Pubs

    It's a bar, it's a flower shop—and it's the perfect neighborhood hangout. Be lured by the small-batch bourbons, American craft beer, and locally...Read More

  • 18. The Bell House

    Music Clubs

    One of the top music venues in the borough, the Bell House hosts big-name rock musicians, cult comedy acts and live podcast recordings, and...Read More

  • 19. The Owl's Head

    Wine Bars–Nightlife

    Located on a quiet block off busy 5th Avenue, this intimate wine bar—named for the nearby waterfront park—was inspired by a love for wine, food...Read More

  • 20. Tooker Alley

    Prospect Heights | Bars/Pubs

    Knowledgeable bartenders mix drinks from a multipage, Roaring ’20s–style cocktail menu at this bar that takes pride in reinventing old staples...Read More

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