Best Post-Opera Bar - 2010
Empire Hotel Rooftop Bar & Lounge
The fictional rich brat Chuck Bass isn't exactly the kind of guy we ever want to see nursing a glass of Maker's at a bar. Luckily, he doesn't actually own this place. Gossip Girl ties notwithstanding, The Empire Hotel Rooftop Bar & Lounge is a good enough follow-up to the Met's high notes in the late-night watering-hole wasteland that is Lincoln Center. How is it that almost nothing around here is still open by the time Brunhilde is finally put to sleep in a ring of fire? With lovely views (from 12 stories aloft) of the newly revamped Lincoln Center plaza and the rest of the Upper West Side, and enough nooks to accommodate clusters of tourists, CW fans, bachelorettes, and oldster Wagnerians, the sprawling upper decks of the Empire lure this area's most varied collection of people still drinking after 11. Unfortunately, a glass of bubbly runs for Gossip Girl prices, but if that's the biggest influence the show has had on this century-old hotel, it's a worthy price to pay.