Bars & Clubs

  • Best overpriced cheesy tourist bar

    The View Lounge at the Marriott Marquis

    The View Lounge at the Marriott Marquis, the city's only revolving restaurant, is like a cellophane-wrapped single red rose: It's a cheesy attempt at elegance, but there is still something beautiful about it. Admittedly, the lounge is packed with annoying tourists and most cocktails are $15, but, well, they've got a monopoly on the whole revolving thing. A full rotation… More >>
  • Best bar to avoid awkward silences with your blind date


    So, you meet on the Internet. You ask him to dinner and have a great chat about careers, family, and recent vacations. And you think to yourself, "He's pretty cool. I'd like to hang out some more." Wisely, you choose to hit up Abilene, a spacious bar where they have plenty of tables for two and plush couches to get… More >>
  • Best place to find dudes with yellow fever

    Six Six Sick

    Man, so like, there were these chicks . . . and they were hot . . . and they were totally Asian . . . and they were . . . C'mon, people! Who the heck do you think we are? You're reading the bastion of p.c.-ology after all, The Village friggin' Voice! We're not really gonna say something as… More >>
  • Best homemade infused vodka

    Mama's Bar

    It's hard to find a proper neighborhood bar in the East Village these days, as the area is being run over by yuppie joints and frat boys. But Mama's Bar, owned by the same people who run Mama's Food Shop next door, is like the bohemian Cheers, with an authentic solid-wood bar offsetting edgy art collected by the owner (whom… More >>
  • Best nightclub design

    The Box's

    Though the club's crowd can sometimes be as boring as those found in a typical bottle-service venue, The Box's decor out-beautifies the beautiful people. Designed by Hecho Inc. (John Kole and Phil Morgan), with input from two of the club's owners, Richard Kimmel and Simon Hammerstein, the club is part 19th-century western saloon, part French cabaret, part opera house. A… More >>
  • Best sparkly bar interior


    The inside of GoldBar is so shiny, it's nearly blinding. Most nightlife venues take the word "nightlife" literally: They hide under cover of the night, drowning their spaces in darkness, with barely a bulb to illuminate the customers' faces. At GoldBar, designed by Robert McKinley, it's just the opposite. From the onset, when big heavy wooden doors open to reveal… More >>
  • Best makeup job on a club kid

    Miranda Moondust

    Heavy eyeliner and a pale face just doesn't cut it in New York nightlife. The competition to be fierce is, well, fierce, and it only makes sense that the person with the most creative look in the city's underworld is well equipped to turn his mug into anything he wants. Miranda Moondust is a makeup artist who does a lot… More >>
  • Best late-night $3 West Coast–style taco to eat after you've had too much to drink

    Snack Dragon

    First it was next-door to Mama's, a little shack attached to the front of a deli; then the Snack Dragon moved to its current location around the corner. The new location is a tad larger, has seating, and means that more people can eat more of the unbelievably delish tacos, made up of the freshest ingredients, including pulled pork,… More >>
  • Best Brooklyn sports bar

    Cody's Ale House Grill

    Even as the old taverns disappear in the area that realtors and new business owners (but no one else) have dubbed Bococa—Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens—as quickly as the blue-collar Italians and Irish who once lived there, Cody's Ale House Grill has endured and prospered. Proprietor Kevin Cody recently added extra flat-screen TVs (there's now a total of… More >>
  • Best neighborhood bar slated for destruction by Frank Gehry


    Once upon a time, architect Frank Gehry had some cred among progressives. The postmodernist's image probably began fading as his designs started repeating themselves, his style descending into cliché—all those buildings that look like they've already fallen down. But Gehry's pact with developer Bruce Ratner to design the megalithic Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn torpedoed whatever remained of his alterna-rep.… More >>
  • Best stand-up/dance/ burlesque club inside a movie theater

    Rififi/Cinema Classics - CLOSED

    Sometimes, the infinite number of choices for where to go out in the city can be overwhelming. Do you feel like seeing stand-up? Maybe an old horror flick? What about a punk-rock dance party? Head over to Rififi/Cinema Classics seven nights a week, and you'll get all of those things—and for dirt cheap (if not free), too. Formerly the movie… More >>
  • Best place to watch the Buffalo Sabres

    Blue Moon Mexican Café

    Plopped on the corner of 75th and First, it doesn't look like much: a bland Mexican restaurant with a vaguely sports-themed bar. But for the past few hockey seasons, this unremarkable boîte has been anything but for Buffalo Sabres fans, who have turned the Blue Moon Mexican Café into a downstate, Queen City home-away-from-home on game nights. A local Sabres… More >>
  • Best taxidermy

    Red Hook Bait & Tackle

    Technically, hunting is illegal in New York City. (Apartment hunting and husband hunting are notable exceptions.) But those who delight in the sporting life—its trophies and its paraphernalia—can disport themselves within the city limits at the Red Hook Bait & Tackle bar. Formerly an actual bait and tackle shop, the bar now stocks bourbon and ale instead of mealworms and… More >>
  • Best least obnoxious sports bar

    Lighthouse Tavern - CLOSED

    Park Slope's Lighthouse Tavern is decorated in a nautical theme—life rings, boat lanterns, little model lighthouses—perhaps to make all those yachters up from the Gowanus Canal feel at home. Well, we hope the boaty set enjoys this bar as much as the locals, who appreciate it not as the city's biggest or best sports bar, but as very likely the… More >>
  • Best gay bar for slipping ones into a dancer's G-string, old-school style

    Stonewall Inn

    Over the years, the historic Stonewall Inn—site of the 1969 Stonewall riots—has been many things: a bagel shop, a Chinese restaurant, a shoe store. In the '90s, it returned to its status as a gay bar, but as of last year that bar had been shut down. Now, the Stonewall is back in action: It's got new management,… More >>
  • Best cocktail that's also a hangover cure

    Yakitori Totto

    Along with the perpetually achy neck and the increasingly dark outlook on life, part of aging is gaining the amazing ability to get hung over without even having that much fun. A glass of water and a couple of aspirin aren't going to cut it if you hit the brown stuff all night. So, for a bender padded with charred… More >>
  • Best happy hour for silent fatties

    Burp Castle

    If you're like me—have trouble with authority but love beer—the happy-hour deal at Burp Castle could help you get over your bitterness toward teachers and cops. When you start having too much fun, you get shushed by bartenders wearing monastic robes. I know that sounds bad, but meanwhile you're eating complimentary frittes fresh from the deep fryer around the corner… More >>
  • Best art bar on the Lower East Side


    You don't have to be a poet, accursed or otherwise, to enjoy a fine night of drinking and carrying on at Verlaine. And thank the gods (i.e., the Brothers Goncourt, le Comte de Lautremont and other dandies) for that, since funny haircuts, poor hygiene, and epic pretentiousness seem de rigueur at so many other neighborhood establishments. This austere, elegant, high-ceilinged… More >>
  • Best dog-friendly bar

    Moonshine - CLOSED

    Whether you tramp in with a bull mastiff, low-ride with a dachshund, or prance with a Shih Tzu, the good folks at Moonshine seem pretty open to the hound population—though this is just an assumption based on the two big, cute, and wrinkly bulldogs that this wonderful honky-tonk whiskey joint's owners have chilling throughout their drinkery. And, not wanting to… More >>
  • Most resoundingly splendid in-House concert food


    Every opening act in Warsaw history might as well be named Why Don't You Go Eat Some Pierogis Instead? This is a valid point. In vivid contrast to the disquietude suggested by most concert-venue food (say, wan hot dogs that seem to have been transported to the venue inside a tour bus's exhaust pipe), the fabulous Williamsburg spot, as befitting… More >>
  • Manliest beverage to imbibe while enjoying live jazz

    Brother Thelonious Belgian-Style Abbey Ale

    Sip gingerly from a namby-pamby wine glass in the front row at the Blue Note and Ahmad Jamal is liable to slap you upside the head as he launches into "I'm Old Fashioned." Instead, reach for a comically oversized bottle of Brother Thelonious Belgian-Style Abbey Ale, a dauntingly dark-colored swill that a reviewer praises for its "enticing spiciness of… More >>
  • Best mass hipster infiltration and subsequent exodus from Harlem

    United Palace Theatre

    Most of those intimately familiar with Billy Strayhorn's "Take the A' Train" are still unaware that the jazz classic's full title is "Take the A' Train After Seeing Modest Mouse." Harlem's United Palace Theatre is an excellent, slightly oddball, profoundly large venue, an old movie theater recast as a cavernous shed for indie-arena big shots like Modest Mouse or the… More >>
  • Best place to see great up-and-coming bands before they embrace their own hype

    Goodbye Blue Monday

    Hidden in plain sight among the dusty bodegas, dollar stores, halal poultry shops, and other such establishments peculiar to the crumbling Hispanic neighborhood/kosher enclave/ yuppie kennel centered along Broadway, way east in Brooklyn, is Goodbye Blue Monday. Named in homage to novelist Kurt Vonnegut, GBM opened in late summer 2005 as a shabby-chic mixed-use space—GBM propaganda declares that "EVERYTHING (almost,… More >>
  • Best place for gay men of a certain bent to smoke, cruise, and maybe even get their Wescos polished

    The Eagle

    Despite AIDS, changing fashions in sex and sexuality, and the West Side real-estate boom that continues to devastate area nightlife, crowds of he-men still flock to New York's sole serious butch bar, The Eagle, to drink, drug, pose, shoot pool, tease the bootblack, buy a cock ring or other sundry, and perhaps even find love—or its approximation.… More >>
  • Best place to fall out of love with a band


    Fickle is the heart of a lover of pop music— "pop" being by nature an ephemeral thing, anyhow. But clubs like Galapagos don't make it any easier for devotees to carry the torch, even over the course of a typical 40-minute live club set. At a recent release party for local music rag The Deli, some half-dozen bands—including shimmering… More >>
  • Best Brooklyn venue rebuilt to look exactly like a Manhattan venue

    Music Hall of Williamsburg

    When Bowery Presents shut down semi-beloved B-burg haunt Northsix earlier this year and announced plans to revamp and reopen it as the grandly retitled Music Hall of Williamsburg, we expected a stylish-ass upgrade—the Times announced that the result would have "balconies and a big-city gloss." What we didn't expect maybe is that it would look exactly like the Bowery Ballroom.… More >>
  • Best Irish bartender

    Peter O'Connell

    One could argue that the greatest thing about Molly's Shebeen in Gramercy Park is its fireplace: a real wood-burning hearth, not the lame gas kind—one of the few legal wood fireplaces left in a bar in the city. And it is indeed a pleasure to step into this cozy Irish sanctuary on a winter's night and be warmed on… More >>
  • Best bar for up-and-coming writers

    Half King Bar

    Hoards of starving freelancers regularly flock to Half King Bar in Chelsea for its Monday reading series. The bar's own literati proprietor— Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm)—has been known to captivate a standing-room-only crowd by reading his own work. However, the pub usually hosts young writers promoting their debut books, as well as journalists from Newsweek, Vanity Fair,… More >>
  • Best place to mourn the closing of Tonic, Fez, Sin-é, and other small but important live-music venues


    Recently, I attended the 33.3 birthday party of my filmmaker pal Sonny, which he held at a generic downtown bar called Hi-Fi. In addition to his fame as filmmaker and host, Sonny is also something of a fixture on the local indie-pop scene (check out his fab documentaries about the punk-rock karaoke scene and the Danielson Famile at So… More >>