Bars & Clubs

  • Barcade

    Best $10 Recession-Friendly Bar Zone-Out

    Barcade

    This is very simple. First, somehow acquire a $10 bill. (Maybe sell some furniture? Some plasma? Some dignity?) Then go to Barcade. Buy a pint of one of their 20-plus fine beers on tap. (Scout their constantly rotating selection at barcadebrooklyn.com.) Tip generously. And then slip whatever bills you've got left into a change machine, extract as many quarters as… More >>
  • Best L.E.S. Spot for Balancing Seediness and Intimacy

    Living Room

    The Lower East Side, generally, and Ludlow Street, specifically, is larded with tiny, nonchalant, painstakingly rough-hewn clubs usually so jam-packed that the mere act of turning 360 degrees is a 10-minute operation. Such is the price of culture. This is occasionally true at the folkie-centric Living Room as well, of course, but it's just slightly more comfortable and inviting—you're able… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Loaded With Hooligans and Cops

    Farrell's

    If you walk by Farrell's pregnant, all the firemen and policemen drinking inside will whistle. Loudly. If you are a yuppie or a hipster, work from home, are on your way to see MGMT at Prospect Park, or don't have a badge, hose, or paper bag at your disposal, you might not like Farrell's (est. 1933). If you don't appreciate… More >>
  • A Party to Start All Parties

    The Greenhouse effect: Perfect climate at Sunday night's Vandam, By Michael Musto

    Welcome to Vandam, the Sunday-night party at Greenhouse, where old-school meets new-school meets still-going-to-school—a perfect reflection of the current melting-pot mélange that is making up nightlife in transition. All sexualities, genders, and professions mix in this two-floor, ecologically friendly (except for the hairspray) club, where the mood reflects back on hosts Susanne Bartsch and Kenny Kenny's past successes while clearing… More >>
  • Radegast Hall and Biergarten

    Best Beer Garden

    Radegast Hall and Biergarten

    Now that Americans have rediscovered what beer is supposed to taste like, is it any wonder that the traditional setting is coming back, too? Beer gardens are popping up across the land, but owners know there's something they have to avoid when they open a new facility: the feeling of newness itself. The more your beer garden feels like it's… More >>
  • Best Place to Have Gay Sex That'll Irritate the Shit Out of the Red States

    Black Party

    The Black Party—the legendary Saturday-night debauch annually held in March at the Roseland Ballroom—attracts something like 5,000 revelers for a gigantic whoop-de-do that starts edgy, gets raunchy, and ends up in need of paper towels. The bash attracts gays from all over the world, who not only thrill to the leather and fetish performances studded through the night, but inevitably… More >>
  • Hudson Bar & Books

    Most Literate-Looking Hangout

    Hudson Bar & Books

    No one touches or even goes near them, but still, just the sight of the rows of books in the back of Hudson Bar & Books makes for a more elevated experience than you'll find at the usual beer hall. This is far from some low-rent drinking dive where the fanciest thing on display is some businessman's after-hours whore. It's… More >>
  • QxBxRx

    Best Gay Hipster Rock Party

    QxBxRx

    The bears have Chelsea, the twinks have Hell's Kitchen, the dykes have Park Slope, and the hipster queers have Williamsburg . . . and the Lower East Side? Amid scantily clad, possibly roofied blondes and their former-frat-boy boyfriends, a gaggle of tight-pantsed (or no-pantsed) indie- and punk-loving queers make their mark once a month on the increasingly vapid nightlife scene… More >>
  • Easiest Place to Score Free Gay Drinks

    The Townhouse

    The Townhouse is the long-running "wrinkle bar," where the crowd predominantly consists of one-foot-in-the-gravers in business suits, with an occasional entrepreneurial twink thrown into the mix. And if you're a young hottie—or even someone in his late fifties—you may as well work it, kid. It's remarkably easy to get these gentlemen to buy you a beverage by simply engaging them… More >>
  • Least Embarrassing Place to Belt Out a Show Tune

    Marie's Crisis

    Piano bars are dying faster than car dealerships, but Marie's Crisis carries on as a communal space for those who live for Cole Porter, kneel before Sondheim, and don't feel the slightest bit self-conscious about adopting a little girl's voice and chirping, "It's a Hard-Knock Life" from Annie in public (after a few cocktails, of course). The staff—pianists like Dexter,… More >>
  • Liveliest African-American Gay Bar

    Chi Chiz - CLOSED

    Way down toward the river, past the run-of-the-mill boîtes that pop up in all of the gay guidebooks, Chi Chiz provides an upbeat hangout filled with people of color and their admirers, all lifting their slushie-type drinks (with alcohol, naturally) to the back of the room for pool, card games, and interpersonal relations. The crowd is friendly (and talented on… More >>
  • Britney Houston

    Most Underrated Drag Queen

    Britney Houston

    Britney Houston—also known as Lil' Britney—is an amalgam of various pop divas, all rolled into one ball of finger-snapping, head-swiveling sass. Having toured with Rent, Britney came upon the Gotham club scene and started popping up in virtually every gay bar with a liquor license, where she synchs and sings in equal moxie-ish measure. (Check out her "Umbrella" spoof on… More >>
  • Most Welcome (and Welcoming) Party Presence

    Malik So Chic

    Having bolted straight out of Canada, Ladyfag is a biologically female promoter (Greenhouse, Garden of Ono) who whips up extravagant looks to match her lack of shyness and comes off very Frida Kahlo–meets–Big Bird. She ties in this category with another promoter, Ohio-born Malik So Chic, an actual man who sports round, bejeweled glasses, creped capes, and long black gloves… More >>
  • Best Advance in the World of Fag Hagdom

    Melanie Adelman and Ellie Dvorkin

    Performance duo Mel & El—a/k/a Melanie Adelman and Ellie Dvorkin—don't care for the term "fag hag." They feel it has acquired a sort of negative sound, as if there were something wrong with a woman wanting to cling to a gay man day and night until she passes out. They prefer "fruit fly"—or, even better, "Fagnet," which happens to be… More >>
  • Brooklyn Masonic Temple

    Best Venue for Massive Hearing Loss

    Brooklyn Masonic Temple

    Fort Greene's Brooklyn Masonic Temple, with its humble wooden floors and high-school-talent-show vibe, does not much look like the death-dealing, ear-destroying terrordome it has proven to be. The venue—populated by snack-and-beverage-laden folding tables and a cushy, seat-filled upper balcony—seems more like the site of an incipient prom or bake sale than a place of dark Masonic rituals, let alone rock… More >>
  • Best Brooklyn Whiskey Bar

    Char No. 4

    Ready to take that all-too-crucial step into adulthood? No, we're not talking about marriage or real estate—we're talking about whiskey. The day you move from Jack and Coke into the land of Oban, Glenrothes, and Classic Cask, pat yourself on the back and consider yourself a man (that goes for you, too, ladies). Char No. 4, a recent upscale addition… More >>
  • Best Bar for Large Get-Togethers

    Union Hall

    So, you'd like to have a big party at your place, except: 1) It's the size of a closet; 2) Your landlord wouldn't approve; 3) You've had a recurring nightmare that your guests will have nothing to discuss and end up staring at each other in silence; and 4) All of the above. Fear not, dear host. Whether it's your… More >>
  • Best Karaoke Bar

    Winnie's

    Dingy, dimly lit, and not too crowded, Winnie's in Chinatown is the antithesis of the slick, sanitized karaoke bars you're likely to encounter uptown. As you enter, you'll notice it's a bit segregated: On the left, old Chinese dudes play dice games at the bar; on the right, spacious red booths are packed with skinny-jeans-wearing hipsters and local office workers… More >>
  • Best Bar to Spirit Yourself Away to the Adirondacks

    Black Mountain Wine House

    With its wooden façade and pile of firewood out front, the Black Mountain Wine House looks like a charming mountain lodge plunked down in the middle of brownstone Brooklyn. Just pretend that the nearby Gowanus Canal is actually a pristine babbling brook, kick back in one of the Adirondack chairs on the outdoor patio, and you'll instantly get that relaxed… More >>
  • Best Speakeasy

    Dutch Kills

    No offense to Long Island City, but we rarely head out there unless we're having a picnic at Gantry Plaza, going to a P.S.1 gathering, or taking over our friend's rooftop at one of the condo buildings that line the East River. However, if you look closely, on Jackson Avenue, there's a joint marked only with a sign that reads,… More >>
  • Best Niche Bar

    Mayahuel

    The website of Mayahuel takes great pains to acknowledge the stigma of a certain amber nectar: "Perhaps your experience with tequila was decidedly collegiate," thunders the gray script. "Perhaps it involved praying to a certain ironic goddess. Perhaps, consequently, you have since maintained that you don't do tequila." Who has been reading our diaries? But it's hard to feel like… More >>
  • Best Trivia Night

    Telephone Bar - CLOSED

    Where is the former nerd now the king? Well, anywhere in New York—this is the promised land of reinvention and intellectual competition—but nowhere more so than the twice-weekly trivia night at Telephone Bar in the East Village. While other low-key bars offer their own minutia-fests on various nights, only Telephone Bar employs a curiously complicated strata of game variations, picture… More >>
  • Best Grad Student Bar

    1020 Bar

    A pretentious dive bar? No, although the Ph.D. candidates at 1020 Bar will be more than happy to engage you about the ongoing debates in the humanities. Or they might just want to match you Jack for Jack. This is where the elite of Columbia University's brainiacs come to unwind—the few, the poor, the all-but-dissertation—and they play a mean game… More >>
  • City Winery

    Best Wine Bar

    City Winery

    To mutilate an old adage, wine doesn't sophisticate people. People sophisticate people. So why does every wine bar in New York seem to pipe in that glassy, thin, innocuous piano pop, that nü-elevator nonsense? Is it supposed to add to the soi-adult atmosphere? City Winery, the intimate new wine space in Tribeca, seems to have solved the music crisis: They… More >>
  • Best Warm-Up

    Harlem Tap - CLOSED

    Tap-dance studio by day, speakeasy by night, Harlem Tap has been described by owner Omar Edwards as an "interval hang." By that lovely turn of phrase, he means that the pint-size West Harlem spot is not a full-on destination club, but a place where you chill and have a drink for maybe 20 minutes or a half-hour before moving on… More >>
  • Best Place to Park Your Ass at the Hottest Gay Party

    Cuckoo Club - CLOSED

    Cuckoo Club, the long-running event on Sunday nights at Maritime Hotel's Hiro Ballroom, is still the packed-to-the-gay-rafters destination for multiculti guys who want to dance (to DJ Honey Dijon), sweat, and hook up to sweat some more. But if you're more of an ogler than a dancer, the best spot to hang there isn't in one of the VIP banquettes,… More >>
  • Most Unflappable Doorman

    Derek Neen

    Manning the door at Beige—the long-running Tuesday-night gay lounge at B Bar—Canadian-born Derek Neen emits charm and humor, never caving in to the pressures of the gig, yet knowing just when to put his designer-clad foot down. A club presence since the '80s, Neen is quick with his mouth, which he uses as a sort of aural red velvet rope… More >>
  • Least Offensive Karaoke Night

    Pieces

    If you absolutely have to do karaoke—and, Lord knows, everyone does, at some point—your new home should be Tuesday night at the casual West Village gay bar Pieces. People of both genders actually get on a waiting list to take the stage, and when they do, it's with a real sense of enthusiasm that obscures the sometimes-not-Juilliard-level vocal skills. Half… More >>
  • Gay Dive That Has Best Survived 'Progress'

    Boots & Saddle

    When the relatively skanky Boots & Saddle underwent a name change and a renovation in 2007, hearts sank all through the gay community, and even some LGBT-friendly straights were upset about it. The main appeal of the small, long-running bar was its continual absence from the radar, its ramshackle lack of glitz, pretension, and (sometimes, it seemed) air. But jump… More >>
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