The First Annual SOTC Nightlife Awards: Best Hotel Spot, Most Idiotic Venue-Imposed Music Ban, and More


Before we sink into holiday hibernation, we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on our exploits, and present to you our very own 2010 SOTC Nightlife Awards. Below, our second installment examines which venue is more effort than it’s worth, which hotel bar is the best, the top three NYC spots that Kanye performed at this year, and more.

More Effort Than It’s Worth: Le Bain
Where to start? The Standard’s Le Bain has always been hit or miss for us. While we’ve had our share of fun there, we can’t help but wonder if that’s mostly thanks to the view. (PS: Hotel Rivington’s is better!) So, for those of you who have spent more than one night fruitlessly waiting in line to get a peek at the rooftop lounge, do yourself a favor and give it a break – we’re not really sure it’s worth your time. Drinks are overpriced (even water costs $5 and comes in a bottle unless you explicitly specify otherwise), their door staff is fickle, and the clientele are often a bit too pretentious for our tastes. It’s disheartening, as they do host a worthy cast of DJs (ones far more relaxed than their surroundings), but there’s only so much attitude we can take.

Best Hotel To Check Into: Hudson Hotel

This is the kind of hotel nightlife we like! The Hudson has not one, but four DJ-friendly bars under its umbrella, making it the hippest hotel in the city as far as we’re concerned. Though we love Good Units for dancing, the hotel’s Park is where we prefer to lounge, on the cozy outdoor patio that’s filled with couches and tables, surrounded by potted trees and ivy-covered walls, and which hosted DFA’s Wednesday night soirees this fall. Across the way, Hudson Bar serves as a more laid back dancing alternative to the club below, while Library is left to cater to Paul Sevigny and the like. The Hudson is trying its hardest to lure the scenesters uptown and with the hotel’s various, consistently solid dance line ups, we’re more than happy to go.

Top Three Places That Kanye Performed At That You Didn’t Get Into
3) Brooklyn Bowl: Remember that one time when Kanye crashed Fool’s Gold’s Anniversary party at Pitchfork’s #Offline Festival? Where he bounded on to stage for a “surprise” performance of “Monster” and “Devil In A New Dress” and even took on Pusha’s verse on “Runaway”? No? Well, it was awesome.
2) Boom Boom Room: Tell me there’s not something triumphant about Kanye rapping while standing atop a bar in one of the snootiest lounges in the city.
1) Bowery Ballroom: The entire album! A million guests! Diddy’s shrieks of glee!

Most Idiotic Venue-Imposed Music Ban: Rap At Savalas
Never forget.

Best Gay Dive: Cubby Hole
The first thing you’ll notice when walking into this West Village bar is that it looks like a kindergarten teacher’s craft closet exploded. Rainbow colored decorations (tissue paper toucans, foil streamers, piñatas, and just about anything else you could imagine) hang from the ceiling over a crowd that’s just as colorful. Queer-friendly as it is, the bar is welcoming to everyone regardless of sexual preference and has a great neighborhood vibe to it. Any given night of the week boasts a $3 drink special (margaritas, cosmos, tequila sunrises) and inevitably results in jukebox karaoke and late-night dance parties. If you see a bin of microwaveable popcorn bags in the back give one to the bartender and she’ll pop it for you.

Best Bar To Pick Up Grad Students: KGB Bar
Don’t pretend like you’ve never wondered about this. We’re here to tell you that the East Village’s KGB Bar is the place to meet these young scholars (especially if you have a thing for writers like we do). First things first, don’t get scared away by the whole Communism thing. The name and decor are mostly a nod to the space’s original use as a Ukranian socialist group hangout in the 40’s and things have changed quite a bit since then. Now MFA students from NYU, New School, Columbia, and Pratt flock to the literary venue, and not just to participate in one of the many readings that KGB hosts, though they are certainly a highlight. Drinks are strong and fairly cheap and the people pleasant and likely to strike up a conversation with you just for sitting down next to them. Don’t worry, there are plenty of cute, angsty babes cloaked in black too. (Just how we like them!) Prepare to drink vodka.

Best Bar To Trick Your Friends Into Drinking Too Much: Zombie Hut

There’s nothing too intimidating about a colorful drink with a monkey straw and an umbrella, right? That’s just what they want you to think! In actuality the Zombie Hut’s signiature drink – an $8 Frozen Zombie – holds about three shots of rum hidden in ice-y pineapple and orange goodness. What they don’t tell you is that only two of the shots are in the drink, the third is injected into the straw with an eyedropper as some mischievous bartender’s prank (you’ll learn to mix it after the first one). The key here is to remember that the drinks aren’t as innocent as they taste. Two will do you just fine for a casual evening out, but if you’re feeling especially self-destructive round, up three friends and order the huge, flaming Scorpion Bowl to share. Drinks aside, a backyard tiki-themed patio, plenty of board games, and $2 PBRs for the beer drinkers in your group make this Carroll Gardens hangout one of our favorites and the most bang for your buck.

Previously: Presenting Sound of the City’s First Annual Nightlife Awards: Best New Club, Best Place to Dance, and More