What is the best New York City nightlife?

Answers from Our Experts (9)

The nightlife in New York — it's some of the best anywhere. Dive bars? Check. Classic Cocktails? Check. The Next Big Thing or a world-class mezzo-soprano live on stage? New York's got that, too.

For a step back in time, go to Midtown's sophisticated, old-school King Cole Bar Lounge, which claims to be the birthplace of the Bloody Mary (though here it’s called a Red Snapper, and you’d better ask for it that way). And yes, that's Maxfield Parrish's famous mural of the nursery rhyme icon behind the bar. Share a pint with academic-types from NYU and a boho West Village crowd at Kettle of Fish, where the vintage Ms. Pac-Man Machine is always busy. If you want panorama and a flute of bubbly, try Rare View in the Affinia Shelburne hotel for a look at the Empire State and Chrysler buildings that will leave you at a loss for words.

Arlene's Grocery had a former life as a bodega, but these days it's better known as one of the city's best live music venues. You can catch up-and-comers who sing everything from rock to reggae for less than the price of one cocktail elsewhere in town. Or buy tickets in advance and bring along your best jewels to get decked out for a night at The Metropolitan Opera, where renowned singers Beverly Sills and Leontyne Price have graced the stage.

1Oak dominates the late-night party scene and secures its place as the hottest club in NYC.

Double 7 opened during fashion week and picked up momentum over the past few weeks. It has an amazing space, a very nice scene, is more lounge-like and has an older crowd but extremely tough door policy.

The Darby’s Sunday night Brazilian party starts at 8 p.m. and continues until 1 a.m. The dancing does not stop and it is celebrity-spotting heaven!

One of the best ways to experience New York is to explore the city’s bustling nightlife. For young, hip and trendy clubs, venture downtown to the Meatpacking District. You can find the city’s best jazz clubs in Greenwich Village and Harlem. For entertainment, take in a Broadway or off-Broadway show, or visit one of the many comedy clubs where today’s famous comedians got their start. When traveling during the warmer months, make sure to visit one of the city’s hip and vibrant rooftop lounges. 

NYC nightlife has changed at a fast pace, but the result is similar and most of it is concentrated in Chelsea or the Meatpacking District.

1. 1 Oak. 1 Oak continues to dominate the late-night party and therefore secures its place as the hottest club in NYC. All the cool people leave whichever club they are in at 2 a.m. and go to 1 Oak.

2. Double Seven. This club opened during Fashion Week in fall 2011 and continues to pick up momentum. It really is an amazing space. It’s a very nice scene, more lounge-like with an older crowd, but it has an extremely tough door policy.

3. Electric Room. Nur Khans’ new space Electric Room at the Dream Hotel is one to check out. The crowd is quite hipster. The Dream Hotel has that Vegas feel to it.

4. The Darby. The Darby’s Sunday night Brazilian party is awesome. The dancing doesn’t stop and it’s celebrity heaven.

5. Catch. The spot opened at 13th Street and Ninth Avenue in September 2011. It’s like a lounge, closing around 2 a.m.

The Pegu Club has what I think are the best cocktails in New York, if you want actual fancy cocktails. The best saloon in New York is P.J. Clarke's on 55th Street and Third Avenue. I've been going there since I was 18 and it's still the same even though it was changed a little bit. The inside is, remarkably, almost as it was, and there was a great amount of investment to keep it that way. Clarke's has a reputation as a classic New York saloon. There is also McSorley's, which has nothing but beer but it has such great surroundings that I will go there until the day I die. It's just extraordinary. It's the definition of what a neighborhood bar was, is and can be.

I can't say I'm a big lounge person, but I do like the Boom Boom Room at The Standard. It's a cool little spot.

I like The Distinguished Wakamba Lounge on Eighth Avenue. It's at about 39th Street around there on Eighth Avenue. That's one of the last and great dive bars.

The bar at Daniel. The bartender Xavier — he's unbelievable that guy. I had a drink with Hendrick's gin, rose water and cranberry bitters. It was so beautiful looking and it was good. It was really good.

Carol Cain

For me, the best night out in NYC would include a few things, such as a visit to a local jazz or roof top bar, a nice dinner at one of NYC's best restaruants, and karaoke.

My favorite places to karaoke are Pulse Karaoke on 41st street, with their club-like appeal and super-sized screens, and Jelsomino, which offers back up singers as an option to really help bring your performance to life!

I also really enjoy river tours on clear NYC nights. Taking in the city from the water provides you with a completely different perspective of how beautiful the city is at night. Some of my favorite river dining cruises are with Bateux New York and Classic Harbor Line.

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