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Bars & Clubs

  • Best Bar for Modelizers

    Coffee Shop

    Coffee Shop is beloved for its somewhat lethargic, surly service—and we truly mean beloved, because the clientele gladly takes every frown from the dispassionate waitresses and comes back crawling for more. The Union Square staple may not blare it on its neon marquee, but it's the worst-kept secret in town that the restaurant almost exclusively hires models for its waitstaff.… More >>
  • Elsa

    Best 'Mixology' Place That You Can Actually Get Into

    Elsa

    We'd been turned away at Death & Co. far too many times to ever consider showing our face there again (really, there's no room for us?) when we stumbled upon Elsa, a jewel box of a bar situated slightly farther south and east. Elsa is one of those bars we'd rather not tell you about, actually, because we don't want… More >>
  • Best High-End Drinks for Low-End Prices

    The Red Hook waterfront doesn't much resemble New Orleans, although Erie Basin can exude a rather Bayou-esque scent and Fairway will supply you with everything you need to create a splendid oyster po'boy. But since last year, one local bar, Fort Defiance, has been making the Big Apple feel that much Big Easier. After stints as a food writer, bartender,… More >>
  • Best Local Jazz Club

    Smoke

    Yes, Smoke, a little south of Harlem at 106th Street and Broadway, can be kinda pricey ($30 per person for dinner and show). But the food, which has gotten rave reviews in some quarters, is a lot jazzier than cheeseburgers and pretty good. It's the music, though, that definitely merits the raves. Say you're looking to soak up some tunes… More >>
  • Best Bar to Get 'Weiss' to German Beer

    Plattduetsche Park Restaurant

    If you find Astoria's Bohemian Beer Garden insufficiently bohemian, consider a night at Williamsburg's Radegast not at all a gas, and can discern no siren call from the Lower East Side's Loreley, maybe it's time to venture farther out in your quest to leave no stein untipped. Plattduetsche Park Restaurant, located just over the Queens border, has slaked thirsts since… More >>
  • Best Place to Flip Out

    Satellite Lounge

    There was a time when you couldn't enter an East Village bar without encountering Medieval Madness or Cactus Canyon. Coney Island arcades had walls devoted to Attack From Mars and Funhouse. But where are the extra balls of yesteryear? Sorry, but Big Buck Hunter II is not an adequate substitute. Happily, at least one Williamsburg boîte is offering the pinball-deprived… More >>
  • Best Brooklyn Tavern

    Henry Public

    Turn off all cell phones and electronic devices, please. You are about to enter Henry Public, a place that takes you back to 1840s Brooklyn, a time when Walt Whitman worked at the Brooklyn Eagle and the ferry was the best way to get to Manhattan. Opened last fall in Cobble Hill by the owners of the popular Carroll Gardens… More >>
  • Jeff Eason, Gerry Visco, Andrew Werner

    Bravest Nightlife Photographers

    Jeff Eason, Gerry Visco, Andrew Werner

    Layers of metaphorical armor are required before you enter the aggressively zany world of nightlife, especially if you're there to document the comings and goings of the fast and the furious. When throngs of panting drag queens and club kids in headdresses and war paint start running into your lens for approval, things can get a little life-threatening. But Jeff… More >>
  • Most Eye-Popping Fashion Plates

    Vanity Scoiety, Gazelle

    Nothing is more welcome in the clubs than someone who's willing to throw convention to the wind and go over the top with blinding ensembles night after night. Even if they're just doing it to nab attention—and they're not—that kind of dress-up mania provides gratification for all the clubbies who left the house hoping for a free fashion show. The… More >>
  • Most Famously Overexposed Nightlife Figures

    Real Housewife

    It's impossible to leave the house anymore without seeing a Real Housewife—of New York, of Atlanta, of New Jersey, of Uranus. There are more of them than there are rats by Madison Square Park, and they all happen to be heat-seeking missiles who love the spotlight so fervently that they inevitably find themselves roaming the clubs for acceptance as you… More >>
  • Most Unusual Use of an Old Nightlife Space

    Limelight Marketplace - CLOSED

    The Limelight was the site of '80s and '90s club-kid-related antics that led to manslaughter, tax evasion, deportation, and, worst of all, bad attempts to revive the club again and again. It has always seemed like a doomed locale, but at least the newest incarnation, Limelight Marketplace, is a completely different venture: a mall of shops hawking clothes, gelato, and… More >>
  • Closest Thing to a Big Gay Dance Club

    Club 57 - CLOSED

    Large dance spaces rolled over and died once Giuliani and the Internet rose to power, but for over a year Tony Fornabaio and Brandon Voss's Club 57 (Saturday nights at Providence) has been providing life support to the genre with three levels of body-shaking mayhem. Swarms of customers from Chelsea, New Jersey, Long Island, and other areas spend every Saturday… More >>
  • Best Place to Have a Quiet Chat With Everyone You'll See Later at Club 57

    ViG27 - CLOSED

    ViG27 is brave enough not to be in Chelsea or HK; it's actually on the East Side, providing a lounge-y crashing ground for Gramercy and Murray Hill types who want a cozy neighborhood watering hole to call home. A video screen showing the latest glitzy work of Kelis and Katy Perry is invaluable for the gays. But one of its… More >>
  • Best Club for Remaining Anonymous

    The Box

    Absolutely no one will notice you at the downtown pseudo-decadence-center The Box. First of all, you could cut the attitude with a hatchet, starting with the look given by the sadistic doorman as he deigns to let you come in and pay. Once inside, you'll find that the multilevel jewel box of a place is all shadows and fog, with… More >>
  • Best Bowling Alley as a Nightclub

    Lucky Strike Lanes

    Bowlmor and Chelsea Piers Bowl are still shiny and fun, and Leisure Time at the Port Authority is still there, but these alleys pale next to the sprawling Lucky Strike Lanes, where the glitz is persuasive enough to convince you that bowling is as cutting-edge as Lady Gaga's new snood. The lanes twinkle, the pins sparkle, and the balls shine,… More >>
  • Best Drag Act

    Sherry Vine, Peppermint, DAllas DuBois, Shequida, Epiphany, Sahara Davenport, Sultana

    Check it out! It's an act that doesn't rely on just tired, old lip-synching, but real vocalizing, too—you know, music actually coming from the drag queen's own vocal cords. And it's high-quality singing, not the scratchy, straining-for-notes kind of horror you get in a lot of out-of-city bars. Also, the act stays away from the cheap bitchiness and obvious raciness… More >>
  • Best Erratic Dive With an Erotic Name

    The Cock

    You never know what you're getting when you enter the dingy but sporadically festive gay club known as The Cock, the home of weekly parties like "Sperm," "Joystick," and "Twin Cheeks." Past the pleasingly informal door help, the atmosphere is dark and woozy, and sometimes that will lead you to some interesting encounters with East Villagey characters, the kind who… More >>
  • Best Restaurant that's More Like a Nightclub

    Indochine

    After 25 years, the French-Vietnamese restaurant Indochine still feels like a zingy private party, even on a regular night when it's not closed off for one. The crowd is as lively and star-studded as ever (there's Moby! Look, it's David Bowie!), and you see people actually table-hopping to greet their notable friends, which is far from acceptable behavior at stuffier… More >>
  • Best Nabe for Gay-Bar Hopping

    West Village

    When the buzz moved from the West Village to Chelsea in the '90s, the scene became a little geographically harder to categorize, but not as much as when tons of gays later migrated from Chelsea to Hell's Kitchen. But as with any cycle, this one has spun back again like a broken rubber band, and a lot of the heat… More >>
  • Neighborhood MOst Desperately in Need of Some Gay Nightlife

    Upper West Side

    Did the gays stop their northern migration once they hit Hell's Kitchen? Did they simply run out of cab fare once they reached the wonderland of bars like Vlada and Therapy? The Upper West Side seems sadly free of them, except for the ones who turn up at the long-running Candle Bar (309 Amsterdam Avenue, 212-874-9155), a lone rest stop… More >>
  • Oldest Feud

    Amanda Lepore and Sophia Lamar

    Amanda Lepore and Sophia Lamar, the scene's two most enduring transsexual icons, used to be tighter than the Hilton sisters (the original ones, who were conjoined and in a circus—not Paris and Nicky). They were trannie twins who carried on in tandem, Amanda with her giddy old-style glamour and Sophia with her riveting faux-misanthropy. They made sense together. They amped… More >>
  • Best Taste of Vegas in the Meatpacking District

    The Top of the Standard

    The real Sin City comes to Gotham with The Top of the Standard (formerly called the Boom Boom Room), the Vegas-y club on the 18th floor of the Standard Hotel, where, for a year, names, name-droppers, and Euros with euros have gasped at the views of the New York skyline if they weren't already blinded by the centrally placed chandelier… More >>
  • Empire Hotel Rooftop Bar & Lounge

    Best Post-Opera Bar

    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… More >>
  • Best Cocktail Trend

    Momofuku Ssam Bar, Via Della Pace, GustOrganics

    Here's where the food pyramid gets interesting. The USDA says we need to consume three to five servings of vegetables a day. So when the evening rolls around and your veggie intake consists of potato chips and tomato sauce on a slice, an increasing number of the city's restaurant bars have got you covered. Vegetable cocktails were long the domain… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Bar

    Knickerbocker Bar & Grill

    We're always trying to find a Village bar that new transplants to the neighborhood don't go to, so that slightly older transplants like us can have an authentic experience among the people who are actually from here. Follow? At Knickerbocker Bar & Grill, Midwesterners, people under 24, and hooker boots are scarce, except on NYU graduation day. The rest of… More >>
  • Sycamore

    Best Bar for Allergy Attacks

    Sycamore

    Who came up with this place, the makers of Benadryl? The front room of Sycamore doubles as a florist's shop, and we love the Ditmas Park whiskey bar and performance space's complete lack of regard for the number of New Yorkers with serious hay fever. Oh, well, take a pill (make sure it's non-drowsy) and get a few stems of… More >>
  • Best '80s/Top 40 Dance Party

    MMP! vs BBG!

    Like the future of Lady Gaga's fame, our favorite pop dance party came and went faster than we could spell out what the acronym stood for. MMP! vs BBG! was an offshoot of DJ Deejay's formerly monthly Madonna-Michael-Prince party at (le) poisson rouge. The BBG portion (Beyoncé-Britney-Gaga) brought those '80s relics face-to-face with spawns of the Z100 era. The result?… More >>
  • Best Fast-Food Restaurant That Is Also a Nightclub for Some Reason

    Pop Burger

    We're surprised that few, if any, joints have taken the Meatpacking District name with such literalism, so Pop Burger remains a truly strange find in the increasingly annoying melee of West 14th Street. A delectably greasy burger-and-fries joint by day, the tony, brushed-steel aisles inexplicably convert into a raucous nightclub after sundown, and uptown hip-hop lovers cram into the canola-oil-scented… More >>
  • Best Local Music Website

    East Village Radio

    While we are unabashed fans of any blog that informs underground audiences while threatening the existence of print media (yada, yada, yada), no site matches the insanity and inanity of East Village Radio. Their already-excellent, irreverent special-format shows are equaled only by their DJs' unhinged rants online: From dance/hip-hop spinner Hannah Rad hyping the latest Jelly Pool Party tracks, to… More >>
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