If you live in or are planning to visit the Big Apple anytime soon, here are 10 places you need to check out. They all have a different vibe and attract a different crowd, so there’s definitely something in here for everyone.
1. The Gordon Bar
If you’re not into the typical nightclub scene, this would be the perfect spot for you. The Gordon Bar has been designed to make you feel like you’re kicking back in an upscale downtown condo instead of a traditional bar, with cozy décor, lighting, and seating. In addition to its signature house cocktails, the lounge also offers a small menu of Italian-inspired snacks, like bite-size gnocchi.
Details: 60 Thompson St. (Inside the SIXTY SoHo Hotel)
With a 14-page drink menu, Nitecap in the Lower East Side is for guys who like to enjoy their drinks. The menu includes a selection of aperitifs and cocktails, and they don’t just use the cheap stuff—you’ll find drinks made with aged and specialty spirits that are still pretty reasonably priced. If you take your drinks neat, you’ll appreciate Nitecap’s “Honor Bar,” where you can order a bottle, but you only pay for what you actually drink out of it—it’s like bottle service on a budget.
Details: 120 Rivington St. (Under Schapiro’s Eatery & Cocktail Bar)
3. Temple Bar
If you really want to impress your date, bring her to this joint. With its oak and red velvet décor, thick curtains, dim lighting, and well-dressed staff, Temple Bar feels like it came right out of a classy 1920s movie. According to a bunch of reviews, it’s the perfect date spot because it’s got a romantic ambiance and it’s not too loud, so you can actually carry on a conversation. Pricing is a little on the steep side here, but if you’re bringing a girl, it’ll hopefully pay off at the end of the night.
Details: 332 Lafayette St. (There’s no big sign on the front, so just look for the dark painted exterior with a picture of what looks like a lizard skeleton.)
4. Frying Pan/Pier 66 Maritime Bar & Grill
For something a little more laidback, wind down with a bucket of beers and a hot burger at Pier 66 Maritime, a full-service bar and grill set up on a railroad barge that floats right on the Hudson River. The pier is also home to the docked historic vessel, Frying Pan, which has more seating space on the main deck and on the top level. Needless to say the atmosphere and view are incredible, especially if you go around sunset.
Details: 530 West 26th St. (Open May to October)
5. Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar
It might not sound like much, but Loopy Doopy is a great place to unwind on a Friday night. Sitting 16 stories high, this seasonal venue has comfortable cushion seating around the perimeter with a perfect view of the city skyline and the Statue of Liberty. Make sure to try their famous Prosecco and Icepop—it’s basically an alcoholic Popsicle served in a wine glass filled with Prosecco poured from their tap.
Details: 120 North End Ave. (On top of the Conrad Hotel, open April to October)
If you’re up for trying something a little different, this is the bar you want to hit up. Mayahuel’s collection of tequilas and mescals includes only the best of the best. The authentic Mexican décor and dishes will make you feel like you’ve actually made your way down south.
Details: 304 East 6th St.
7. NoMad Bar
I personally love bars that show off their goods—NoMad Bar’s massive illuminated bottle display is something you need to see. The reviews for this place, particularly their cocktails, are amazing. The atmosphere doesn’t feel stuffy or overly fancy, but it’s classy; it almost looks like a tavern with plush leather booths and bar stools.
Details: 10 West 28th St. (Inside the NoMad Hotel)
8. Pacha New York
This one is for the party animals. Pacha is one of the most popular nightclubs in New York and it’s exactly what you’d expect—loud music, LED lights, lots of drinks, and big crowds. Like its other locations around the world (Ibiza, Madrid, England, Portugal, Russia, etc.), the 30,000-square foot NYC location is all about throwing the biggest party, with four different levels, each with their own unique décor. Pacha New York is the only location in North America and it books a lot of high-profile DJs, from local spinners to internationally-renowned ones, so check the schedule (and the line) beforehand.
Details: 618 West 46th St.
If you’re looking for a good place to watch the game, check out Standings in the East Village. It’s a small place, which I personally prefer for sports bars (like your own Cheers bar where everyone knows your name), but it’s got eight flat screens that you can see from anywhere in the room. They’ve also got a long list of craft beers and handcrafted ales.
Details: 43 East 7th St.
This bar is every guy’s dream, because it combines two very important things—good American craft beer and video games. Originally started by four buddies, Barcade is a hybrid of a bar and an arcade, with classic, old-school video games, like Donkey Kong and Atari Asteroids Deluxe. Most of the games are 25 cents to play and there are two change machines onsite so you don’t have to worry about collecting quarters all week. They also serve food (typical pub fare) and don’t charge cover.
Details: 148 West 24th St.
Feature photo: dibrova / Shutterstock.com