Bars and nightlife in New York City

The Ultimate Guide to New York City's Best Bars and Clubs

New York City is known for its nightlife scene, with countless options for bars and clubs throughout the city. Whether you're a local or a visitor, this guide will take you on a journey to the best spots for cocktails, dancing, and socializing in the city that never sleeps.

Laura Ratliff
June 12, 2023

New York City is home to some of the world's best restaurants, museums, and theaters, but the nightlife truly sets it apart. From rooftop bars to underground clubs, there's always something happening in the city that never sleeps. Whether you're looking for a cozy speakeasy, a trendy rooftop bar, or a high-energy club, we've scoured the city to find the best spots for every type of night out. Here’s the best of New York City's nightlife scene.

The Dead Rabbit

Located in the Financial District, the award-winning Dead Rabbit is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. The bar is known for its extensive list of craft cocktails and its impressive collection of Irish whiskey. The bar is split into two levels: a cozy taproom on the first floor and a more formal parlor on the second floor. The Dead Rabbit also serves food, including oysters and traditional pub fare.

Address: 30 Water St, New York, NY 10004

Le Bain

Le Bain is a rooftop club at the top of the Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District. With stunning views of the city skyline and the Hudson River, it’s a popular spot for special occasions and romantic dates. The dress code is upscale, so dress to impress. The bar is known for its inventive cocktails and bottle service, and the music is a mix of electronic and pop.

Address: 848 Washington St, New York, NY 10014

The Box

Some Things to Expect

Many popular nightlife spots in NYC have long lines or require reservations, so plan ahead. Also, avoid sticker shock—be prepared for the crowds and the high prices that come with the city's vibrant nightlife scene.

The Box is a high-energy club located in the Lower East Side. The club is known for its burlesque shows and performing art, performed by some of the world’s best dancers and performers. The Box also features live music, DJs, and other performances tailored to its high-energy crowd of burlesque fans. Reservations are required.

Address: 189 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002

Employees Only

Employees Only is a speakeasy-style bar in the West Village that’s been regularly lauded as one of the world’s best bars. Known for its inventive cocktails and intimate atmosphere, EO’s decor is reminiscent of an old-school New York City bar, with vintage touches and dim lighting. The bar also serves excellent food, including hand-cut steak tartare and bone marrow poppers.

Address: 510 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014


If you’re looking for great views, it’s hard to beat Westlight, a 22nd-floor rooftop bar in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. Overlooking the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn waterfront, Westlight is best known for its inventive cocktails, like the Snap Happy, made with vodka, Batavia arrack, snap peas, and shiso.

Address: 111 N 12th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Bar Goto

Bar Goto is a cozy Japanese-inspired cocktail bar on the Lower East Side. True to its name, Bar Goto’s refined and elegant drinks incorporate Japanese ingredients, like sake and shochu, in a stylish, minimalist setting. There are also Japanese-style small plates, including okonomiyaki and chicken karaage.

Address: 245 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

The Django

The Django is a Parisian-style jazz club located in Tribeca. Set in the basement of the Roxy Hotel, the club is known for its live jazz performances, which are held every night. The decor is inspired by the 1930s, with vintage touches and dim lighting. In addition to its cocktails and small plates, The Django serves a full food menu with classics like burgers, oysters, and beef tenderloin.

Address: 2 6th Ave, New York, NY 10013

The Campbell

Formerly known as the Campbell Apartment, this historic bar is tucked away within Grand Central Terminal and has a uniquely glamorous decor and upscale atmosphere. The hidden historical room that was once used as an office by John W. Campbell, a business magnate. The Campbell serves a selection of classic cocktails and small plates.

Address: 15 Vanderbilt Ave, New York, NY 10017

The Woods

Take advantage of happy hour specials, which can be found at many bars and restaurants throughout the city. They’re a great way to try new places and enjoy discounted drinks and appetizers before the crowds arrive.

A spacious, fun bar in Williamsburg, The Woods has a laid-back atmosphere, inexpensive drinks, and an outdoor patio perfect for relishing a warm summer day. The bar serves craft cocktails, predominantly leaning toward tiki-style favorites like Mai Tais, Zombies, and Beach Bums, while the food menu consists of casual fare like burritos and tacos.

Address: 48 S 4th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249

The Up & Up

The Up & Up is a speakeasy-style bar in Greenwich Village, in the former home of the Gaslight Cafe, where the Beat generation was born. The decor is inspired by the 1920s, with vintage touches and dim lighting, but the drinks are thoroughly modern, using ingredients like clarified milk, fennel, and cold-brew coffee. The Up & Up also serves snacks, including a cheese plate from local fave Murray’s.

Address: 116 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012

About the author

Laura RatliffLaura Ratliff is a New York-based writer and editor. She lives in downtown Brooklyn with her husband and their beloved dogs. Originally from Texas, she now considers New York City her home. She typically spends more than 200,000 miles on a plane each year and stays in plenty of hotels.