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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. Jimmy

    SoHo | Bars/Pubs

    On the 18th floor of the trendy James New York – SoHo, Jimmy is an all-season rooftop bar with stellar views and a cozy fireplace. Sit in a...Read More

  • 4. Plunge

    Meatpacking District | Bars/Pubs

    The slick rooftop bar of the Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC hotel would be worth visiting even without its sweeping Hudson River and Manhattan views...Read More

  • 5. 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

  • 6. The Standard Hotel Biergarten

    Meatpacking District | Bars/Pubs

    Practically the official bar of the High Line park, the Standard Biergarten is a sprawling, bustling space complete with table tennis, bench...Read More

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