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. 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

  • 2. Black Mountain Wine House


    Tucked away on a residential section of Hoyt Street, Black Mountain nearly hides in plain sight; the outside looks more like a cabin than a...Read More

  • 3. Canal Bar


    Yep, it’s a dive bar—and one with a strong connection to Chicago (drink specials during a Cubs or Bears game). Happy hour goes until 8 pm, drinks...Read More

  • 4. Lavender Lake


    Built by a group of set designers who occupy an adjacent studio, Lavender Lake's main draw is its fabulous back patio. When the weather is nice...Read More

  • 5. Littlefield

    Nightlife Overview

    Part gallery, part event space, part late-night club, Littlefield is a place where you can expect the unexpected. The new location on Sackett...Read More

  • 6. Royal Palms Shuffleboard

    Gathering Places

    Could there be anything more Brooklyn than a shuffleboard club with employees cast straight from a Wes Anderson movie (the jumpsuit uniforms...Read More

  • 7. The Rock Shop


    As the name suggests, this craft beer bar is also a music venue hosting Brooklyn’s up-and-coming bands. There is weekly trivia and the occasional...Read More

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