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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. Pouring Ribbons

    East Village | Bars/Pubs

    This polished, spacious second-floor cocktail bar is named after the way a drink forms iridescent liquid ribbons when it's expertly poured....Read More

  • 4. Raines Law Room

    Flatiron District | Bars/Pubs

    There's no phone number or big sign for this speakeasy; just ring the bell to enter. Wood-burning fireplaces, deep banquettes, and curtains...Read More

  • 5. Salon de Ning

    Midtown West | Bars/Pubs

    Take a break from 5th Avenue shopping at this glass-lined penthouse bar on the 23rd floor of the ritzy Peninsula Hotel, where the sumptuous...Read More

  • 6. The Campbell

    Midtown East | Bars/Pubs

    Classy tipplers and well-dressed commuters pack into this Grand Central Terminal bar (especially during the evening rush), but you can still...Read More

  • 7. Alameda

    Greenpoint | Bars/Pubs

    Sophisticates perch on stools at the striking U-shaped bar for creative yet approachable cocktails like the Little Red Book, which blends vodka...Read More

  • 8. Bar Next Door

    Greenwich Village | Music Clubs

    It doesn't get more intimate than this dark, inviting music den downstairs from the Italian café La Lanterna. An ever-changing roster of musicians...Read More

  • 9. Bar Pleiades

    Upper East Side | Bars/Pubs

    The cocktail bar companion to Café Boulud, also in the Surrey hotel, Bar Pleiades is a livelier alternative to the more staid atmosphere at...Read More

  • 10. Clover Club

    Cobble Hill | Bars/Pubs

    Long recognized for excellent drinks—both classic and inspired by the classics—and a cozy vibe, this is one of the best cocktail bars in Brooklyn...Read More

  • 11. Dear Irving

    Gramercy | Bars/Pubs

    This cocktail parlor invites guests inside with its name, the beginning of an imaginary love letter to Irving Place, on which the bar resides...Read More

  • 12. La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels

    SoHo | Wine Bars–Nightlife

    Cheese, charcuterie, and wine are all temptations at this cozy bar, lined with exposed-brick walls and shelves stocked with wine (the complete...Read More

  • 13. Lantern's Keep

    Midtown West | Bars/Pubs

    The elegance of cocktail culture from another era is alive and well at Lantern's Keep, an intimate lounge tucked behind the lobby of the Iroquois...Read More

  • 14. Pegu Club

    SoHo | Bars/Pubs

    One of the forerunners of New York City's mixologist scene in the early 2000s, the Pegu Club has maintained its charm and dedication to serving...Read More

  • 15. Russian Vodka Room

    Midtown West | Bars/Pubs

    Forget Russian Samovar across the block—here's where the serious vodka drinking goes down. The Vodka Room features a glowing, sophisticated...Read More

  • 16. The Empire Hotel Rooftop Bar

    Upper West Side | Bars/Pubs

    The only thing better than hanging out in Lincoln Center on a lovely night is hanging out a dozen stories above Lincoln Center and taking in...Read More

  • 17. The Mayflower

    Bars/Pubs

    Tiny, candlelit, and discreet, this attitude-free cocktail den is equally suited to a romantic tryst, casual nightcap, or predinner drink while...Read More

  • 18. The Otheroom

    West Village | Bars/Pubs

    Head to the far west Otheroom for a flight of fancy drinking in good company. The menu is reliable and creative, with dozens of microbrews and...Read More

  • 19. The Richardson

    Bars/Pubs

    This corner bar serves classic cocktails, beer, and wine. The decor takes its cues from a century-old saloon, with dark wood, damask wallpaper...Read More

  • 20. Tiny's and the Bar Upstairs

    TriBeCa | Bars/Pubs

    In the heart of TriBeCa, this diminutive three-story town house dates all the way back to 1810. The ground floor is home to a restaurant with...Read More

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