Bars & Clubs

  • Best Reason to Hold Your Breath by the Gowanus

    The Yard

    While the Gowanus Canal is still far from being a little Venice—and who knows when that Whole Foods will ever show up?—one bright spot on the fetid waterway has been the outdoor arts venue the Yard. Formerly the site of Issue Project Room, the Yard, which opened in 2007, is exactly what the name implies: a small, tree-lined waterfront park… More >>
  • Best Dive for Holding a Conversation

    Sly Fox

    OK, at the risk of sounding really old by saying this: What's with the noise level at New York dives? Sometimes the cheapest bars are just too damned loud. So when we tire of staring at our friends or our dates over a $2 beer and maybe attempting to communicate with our eyes, what's left to do? If you want… More >>
  • Best Reason Not to Wear Sneakers and Jeans to Work

    Mandarin Oriental Lobby Lounge

    The Campbell Apartment is where Serena and Nate first did it on Gossip Girl, and if you're lucky enough to have the bar for a private session like they did, you can probably wear whatever you want--or nothing at all. For the rest of us trying to inject a little glamour into our daily grind, however, an after-work cocktail in… More >>
  • Most Reliable Gay Bar

    Barracuda

    Men can't be counted on--the pigs--but the long-running hangout Barracuda can be: for cute bartenders, a spunky drag show, and some late-night company before heading home for Forensic Files. Prance in on virtually any night--after showing your valid ID to Joe the genial door guy--and you'll be guaranteed an assortment of mixed nuts to talk Madonna with in the front… More >>
  • Most Relaxing Hangout

    St. Dymphna's

    Welcome to St. Dymphna's, a pressure-free pub aptly named after the saint of mental health. The people who run this place clearly have money in the bank and aren't too worried about making any more of it: After getting your drinks, you'll sometimes wait about an hour to even order food, and by time it arrives, you're ready for AARP.… More >>
  • Best New Dance Floor

    Santos' Party House

    After three years in the making, Santos' Party House finally opened the doors to its 8,000-square-foot, multilevel space last June (or May, depending on whom you talk to and whether or not they got in)—and the party has rarely stopped since then. Legendary Studio 54 stalwart Nicky Siano spins on Sunday nights; A Tribe Called Quest's Q-Tip joins DJ Rich… More >>
  • Best Addition to the Bowery

    Bowery Electric

    The Bowery, formerly a haven for the down-and-out and d-class-, saw a lot of squeaky-clean new faces in 2008: bad press magnet Bowery Wine Co.; Antik, the bar notable for not having a visible bar; and upscale pub King's Cross for starters. But the street's former rock-n-roll vibe wasn't totally shot after John Varvatos took over CBGB's space: Mike Stuto,… More >>
  • Best Party Revival

    Le Royale - CLOSED

    Toward the end of its life, gritty dance club Luke and Leroy had no trouble packing "em in" the venue begat the Misshapes, after all--but we preferred its sophisticated makeover into Le Royale. The stage upstairs looks out onto a dance floor, where disco balls twinkle overhead and a sleek, black bar backs up to swirly wallpaper; downstairs is all… More >>
  • Best Place to Grope a Bear

    The Eagle

    On the second floor of the longtime leather hangout the Eagle, look around like a hawk for the area by the pool table where it's darkish and a few hairy body parts seem to be carefully entwined. This is the place where manly loving sometimes erupts, though it's generally in the form of just, you know, bear hugs. The air… More >>
  • Most Wildly Successful Gay Promoter

    Erich Conrad

    Erich Conrad is the man behind the city’s two longest-running and most popular gay parties, Beige and the Cuckoo Club. Both well-oiled bashes seem trend-proof and impervious to the competition. They’re invariably packed and humming, Beige with 29-ish retail twinks with angular hair and endless posing skills, and Cuckoo with a multiculti mix of frisky queens dancing under hanging glitter… More >>
  • Best Nightlife Blog

    goodnightmrlewis.com

    Steve Lewis knows everyone. For more than 20 years, the nightlife giant has brought his after-hours expertise to promoting, designing, and running clubs, and in February, he expanded his kingdom to include a blogging partnership with JoonBug. The results at Good Night, Mr. Lewis are kind of hysterical. He loves to share his stories, and we like reading them almost… More >>
  • Best Drag-Queen Makeover

    The Victoria Party

    Taking its name from the Julie Andrews gender-bender Victor Victoria, the Victoria party is where a girl can forget she’s a girl—and become a glamorous drag queen instead. Nothing to wear? No problem: Partygoers first stop at the Victoria style station, where Lady Coco Lareau and her team of stylists get you dolled up in fake eyelashes, heavy makeup, and… More >>
  • Best Spot for Un-Snobby Beer Snobs

    Bar Great Harry

    Mike and Ben Wiley are as laid-back as the pet policy at Bar Great Harry, the cozy Carroll Gardens tavern they opened in 2007. Unfinished wood floors, a sidewalk-facing wall of French doors open to the street, and comfy bar stools draw patrons into the low-key beer bar, but the 12 specialty draft lines—and the brothers’ friendly expertise regarding all… More >>
  • Best Party Posing as an Internet Radio Show

    D List Radio

    The “Willie Wonka of gay New York,” Daniel Nardicio has an affable yet sly demeanor in his self-appointed role as the ringmaster of this circus of freaky talent, TV Land–style drop-ins, and outlandish advice-givers (like saucy helper-to-the-lovelorn Robbyne Kaamil). Pumped out live from a tiny storefront in the East Village—which usually overflows its bounds, creating the world’s kookiest street party… More >>
  • Best New Wine Bar That Lives Up to the Hype

    Terroir

    The rash of wine bars that opened in the last year felt like it should've happened a decade ago, but there's one new place we count as our favorite addition to the vino scene: Terroir, a 24-seater that's small on space but big on style. Helmed by the proprietors of Hearth down the block, Terroir has a charming menu (chef… More >>
  • Best Display of Marketing Genius

    Matt Levine for the Eldridge - CLOSED

    When Steelo Clothing designer Matt Levine enthusiastically shared with Guest of a Guest the exclusive philosophy behind his then-not-yet-opened Lower East Side bar, the Eldridge, he revealed plans for a hand-stamped golden floor with customized golden flakes, laser-engraved cards for entrance, bartenders called “butlers,” and a SmartWater-sponsored Escalade that would escort patrons home. He immediately racked up scads of scorn… More >>
  • Most Fabulous Place to Be Unfabulous

    Pieces

    A West Village staple on Christopher Street, Pieces is so aggressively unpretentious that it still has a pay phone on the premises! A comfortably ramshackle neighborhood hangout with homemade decor and admittedly not-ready-for-prime-time drag queens, the place teems with possibilities, even when--or maybe especially when--there are only 15 people there, generally ranging from NYU students to graduates of the school… More >>
  • Best Bait-and-Switch

    Rusty Knot

    Everyone loves to mention that charming detail about the recently opened Rusty Knot serving 99-cent beer and $3 cans. Owners Taavo Somer (Freemans) and Ken Friedman (Spotted Pig) like to think of their nautically themed bar as a beer place, and we actually showed up the first time with the intention of ordering one of those affordable ales--until we saw… More >>
  • Best of the Hot Crop of Cocktail Lounges

    Hotel Delmano

    We're thrilled that bottle service is finally headed for the recycling bins, and we have few complaints regarding the new cocktail-lounge trend, in which originals like Milk and Honey, Death & Co., and PDT are now sharing mutual fans of mixology with Brooklyn's Clover Club, the Hideout, Huckleberry, and Weather Up. (It must be said, though: Goddamn, these drinks are… More >>
  • Best Midtown After-Theater Bar

    Jimmy's Corner

    It drifts over the streets of midtown, glowing a bit orange and faintly emitting an old Rangers broadcast--the ghost of McHale's. Times Square has been a sorrier spot since the development-driven demise of that agreeable watering hole, with its mediocre food but downmarket Deco charms. Happily, though, there's still one decent place left to get a post-Broadway pint--the venerable but… More >>
  • Best Bar If You're Stuck on the Upper East Side

    Auction House

    Going above 14th Street is an unpopular nightlife move in New York—worse, hanging out on the Upper East Side is essentially social suicide. That said, there's a great bar on East 89th Street that houses nearly none of the frat boys that are drawn to places like Brother Jimmy's, Tin Lizzie, and Dorrian's. Auction House looks expensive—fireplaces, red-velvet drapes, long… More >>
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