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New York Nightlife

Angel's Share
8 Stuyvesant Street, Second Floor
East Village
New York City , New York
10003
Tel: 212 777 5415

One of the first "secret bars" to overtake New York (we're looking at you, PDT), Angel's Share is located upstairs from a grocery store and behind a Japanese restaurant on a quiet street just east of the hustle and bustle of Astor Place. Once you find your way in, try not to let it bother you that everyone else around you is on a date (due in part to the fact that the bar doesn't allow parties over four), and focus on the fanciful Japanese-inspired cocktails created by some of the city's most talented mixologists. Large windows onto East 9th Street framed by heavy drapes make it a cozy spot for people-watching. And the no-standing-room rule means that you'll never be fighting your way to the bar or screaming over your neighbor. An insider tip: The fresh-ginger-infused vodka is one of the bar's best drinks—but it's not on the menu. Make a special request, and they're likely to oblige.

Open daily 7 pm to 2 am.

Hotel Photo
Angels and Kings
500 E. 11th Street
East Village
New York City , New York
10009
Tel: 212 254 4090
www.angelsandkings.com

Pete Wentz is a far cry from Joey Ramone, but if you're looking for a rocker bar in the East Village, Wentz's Angels and Kings is about as close as you'll get these days. The Fall Out Boy bassist co-owns the loungy spot, nicknamed "AK-47," with Travis McCoy of the Gym Class Heroes and clothing designer Jamison Ernest. The boys go heavy on the red velvet and have cheekily lined the bar with famous celebrity mug shots. As rock bars go, there's a solid drink selection, but the real attraction tends to be the celebrity sightings, including Pete and wifey Ashlee Simpson. Their crew is known to drop in for the bar's regular Monday-night karaoke parties, but most nights are great for kicking back to good music while sampling the bar's famous drink specials (their happy hour features $2 vodka drinks from 8 to 10 pm).

Open Mondays through Thursdays 7 pm to 4 am, Fridays and Saturdays 6 pm to 4 am, Sundays 8 pm to 4 am.

Apothéke
9 Doyers Street
Chinatown
New York City , New York
10013
Tel: 212 406 0400
www.apothekenyc.com

Located on a twisty Chinatown cul-de-sac in a former opium den, this apothecary-themed hideaway from cocktail master Alan Trummer boasts 250 specialty cocktails divided into categories like Stress Relievers, Pharmaceuticals, and Stimulants. The old-timey pharmacy vibe dominates the space—bartenders wear lab coats and use beakers to pour drinks—while the red leather banquettes pay tribute to the space's den-of-sin roots. Drinks like the Strawberry Fennel (featuring crushed fresh strawberries, vodka, and fennel oil) and the Pepper Infusion (made with green peppers, peppercorns, dill, and vodka) hover around $20 a piece, but, hey, they are medicinal, right?—Alexis Swerdloff

Open Mondays through Saturdays 6:30 pm to 2 am, Sundays 8 pm to 2 am.

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Bembe
81 S. Sixth Street
Williamsburg
Brooklyn , New York
11211
Tel: 718 387 5389
Subway: J train to Marcy Avenue
www.bembe.us

A happy, multiculti crowd bucks the standard rocker-dive trend at this lounge in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge. The interior, created almost entirely from aged hardwood salvaged throughout the city, strives to be "familiar to many people and their respective cultures," with global accents such as Cuban portraits and Colombian burlap coffee bags. Inclusiveness pays off in a borough as diverse as this: Each night, many single women looking for a dance partner pack the house for beats ranging from Afro-Cuban salsa to roots and reggae. A cask of watermelon rum punch and other fruit-based cocktails keep the party going, and conga drums are often at patrons' disposal (be warned, it's a bit of a democracy). And that high-pitched maraca? That's the bartender nailing a screw into a coconut so she can dump its milk (and perhaps some rum) over ice.

Open daily from 7:30 pm to 4 am.

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Bemelmans Bar
The Carlyle
35 E. 76th Street
Upper East Side
New York City , New York
10021
Tel: 212 744 1600
www.thecarlyle.com

This swank uptown boite, named for the murals painted by former Carlyle hotel resident Ludwig Bemelmans, is unabashedly romantic in a 40s kind of way. And it serves great drinks: Mixologist Audrey Saunders has decamped to her own bar downtown, the Pegu Club, but Brian Van Flandern, formerly of Per Se, has taken the helm. The place is a classic in the true sense—but it doesn't feel dated in any way. There's a cover after 9:30 when the music starts but it's worth paying it to listen to the jazz group headed by Loston Harris, a singer-pianist who's as smooth as the room in which he performs.

Blue Note
131 W. Third Street
New York City , New York
10012
Tel: 212 475 8592
www.bluenote.net

Don't come here expecting some smoky Village jazz club of romantic legend. This is a far glitzier affair, with offshoots all over the world. You can't argue with the talent, though. The crème de la crème of the jazz world performs here, and on a typical night, you might find Milton Nascimento or the Clark Terry Quintet or David Sanborn or a glittering group of all stars saluting Dizzy Gillespie.

Bowery Ballroom
6 Delancey Street
Lower East Side
New York City , New York
10002
Tel: 212 533 2111
www.boweryballroom.com

Bowery enthusiasts go on and on about this concert hall's intimate stage, stellar acoustics, and Beaux Arts charm, but what they're really after are the bragging rights that come with catching the most buzzed-about bands of the moment. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wilco, and Interpol all played the Bowery before moving on to mega-venues. Catch current hot young things like Fleet Foxes, Laura Marling, and No Age before they burst into the national spotlight. Tickets are available online at www.boweryballroom.com. Big-buzz acts sell out quickly, but you can often score a ticket on Craigslist or in front of the bar the day of the show for relatively little markup.

Call or visit Web site for showtimes.

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The Bowery Electric
327 Bowery
Lower East Side
New York City , New York
10003
Tel: 212 228 0228
www.theboweryelectric.com

It seems like with each sunrise there comes a new condo, hotel, or trendy boutique on the once slummy stretch of the Bowery. Gritty CBGB has been transformed into a John Varvatos store hawking $100 tees, and the flophouses of yesteryear now sport $500-a-night price tags. But some new spots have managed to walk the line between the street's raucous past and its more swank future. Bowery Electric is one of the best. Yes, the space is dark and sparse and there's a suit-clad bouncer, but the door policy is democratic, the DJ is known to play Iggy Pop, and buying a drink won't require you to take out a second mortgage.

Open daily 4 pm to 4 am.

Hotel Photo
The Box
189 Chrystie Street
Lower East Side
New York City , New York
10002
Tel: 212 982 9301
www.theboxnyc.com

Leave it to Simon Hammerstein—grandson of musical titan Oscar—to dream up a theatrical nighttime playground that lures even the most jaded of celebs out of rehab. Antique divans, oversize cushions, and secluded VIP alcoves suggest a Victorian-era bordello, but not without a detour through vaudeville. The stage is the main event here, a spectacle of fire-breathing, striptease, and rotating acts that might include, say, a brass troupe covering Nirvana. Bohemian cabaret this is not; an elitist door policy all but assures you'll be making a pricey bottle service reservation unless you're very well connected (another Box partner also runs hot spot La Esquina). After all, they're entertaining the likes of Madonna and Justin Timberlake here. And while it calls itself a dinner theater, the Box can easily slip into Club Row mode when models and banker types leave their cliquey booths to dance between shows (the first of which starts at 7 pm on weekends).

Open Tuedays through Thursdays 11 pm to 4 am, Fridays and Saturdays 7 pm to 4 am.

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Brandy Library
25 N. Moore Street
Tribeca
New York City , New York
10013
Tel: 212 226 5545
www.brandylibrary.com

Despite the impressive collection of single malts and cognacs, this clubby Tribeca den is neither overly rarefied nor hypermasculine. You're just as likely to find a group of Japanese women decompressing from a Soho shopping excursion as a pack of celebratory bond traders swirling Riedel snifters to a soundtrack of big band music. The 1,000-bottle selection can be intimidating, but a "spirit sommelier" is on hand to guide you, and the kitchen prepares tasty snacks, such as Gruyère cheese napoleons and buttery croque monsieurs, late into the evening.

Open Sundays through Wednesdays 5 pm to 1 am, Thursdays 4 pm to 2 am, Fridays and Saturdays 4 pm to 4 am.

Brooklyn Social
335 Smith Street
Carroll Gardens
Brooklyn , New York
11231
Tel: 718 858 7758
Subway: F train to Carroll Street
www.brooklynsocialbar.com

No password is required to enter Brooklyn Social, once a members-only Sicilian men's club. But once inside, you get the feeling that the young professionals who have invaded the old Italian neighborhood of Carroll Gardens consider the bar their private meeting ground. Regulars huddle up against the long counter, chatting with the bartender over a Peroni, or sit out back in the stone-tiled patio enclosed by a vine-covered green fence. In keeping with the joint's roots, the jukebox has a '50s and '60s selection of Motown and Frank Sinatra tunes, the muddled-fruit cocktails are branded with names like Amalfi and Palermo, and the wine list is exclusively Sicilian. Be sure to raise a glass of grappa to the original members of the Società Riposto, whose framed photos and painted portraits grace the walls.—Douglas Wright

Open Sundays through Thursdays 4 pm to 2 am, Fridays and Saturdays 4 pm to 4 am.

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Bungalow 8
515 W. 27th Street
Chelsea
New York City , New York
10001
Tel: 212 629 3333

Editor's note: Bungalow 8 is currently closed for renovations.

Meant to evoke a prime bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel, this perennial hotspot bedecked in palmy decor is genuinely glamorous—a surprisingly rare feat in New York nightlife. And the crowd is often equally alluring—movie stars seem to love owner Amy Sacco, a six-foot-something Glamazon well on her way to achieving her goal of becoming a New York character. First though, you'll have to get past the notoriously tough door policy. Dress fabulously—and try to ensure that your party is predominantly young, female, and attractive.

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Cielo
18 Little W. 12th Street
West Village
New York City , New York
10014
Tel: 212 645 5700
www.cieloclub.com

Hip locals no longer congregate in the Meatpacking District—they moved on when word got out. But that doesn't mean this liquor-fueled playground should be avoided altogether; it still swarms with energy after dark. Cielo holds its own, largely because of its singular focus on booking top-notch DJs. François K spins at the Deep Space party on Monday nights, and Junior Vasquez makes an appearance at least once a month. The club's sunken dance floor is great for voyeurs and exhibitionists alike, and—bucking the district's standard MO—there is no cordoned-off VIP section. Early in the evening, you might find wide-eyed tourists and an older crowd trying to stay hip, but as the night wears on, the dub and deep-house grooves eventually coax even the most jaded scenesters through the doors and onto the dance floor.

Closed Tuesdays and some Sundays.

Clover Club
210 Smith Street
Cobble Hill
Brooklyn , New York
11201
Tel: 718 855 7939
Subway: F train to Bergen Street
www.cloverclubny.com

Mixologist Julie Reiner, co-owner of Pegu Club in Soho, brings her tested formula for a classic cocktail spot to Cobble Hill. The Clover Club is a wood-paneled lounge named after the Philadelphia journalists' organization so renowned for its drinking habits that it inspired a namesake libation. The centerpiece is an 18th-century miners' bar transplanted from Virginia; there's ample space for dining on oysters on the half shell and steak tartare at the wooden tables out front, and a sunken living room in back is perfect for lounging on couches. The leather-clad menu has long-winded descriptions and lengthy lists of sours, swizzles, Collinses, and fizzes—if you can't decide, the skilled bartenders will simply whip you up something tailored to your likes, cracking the ice, mixing those liquors and mystery nectars, adding perhaps a wisp of egg white for a foamy finish, and shaking out some of the tastiest cocktails this side of the East River.—Douglas Wright

Open Mondays through Thursdays 11 am to 2 am, Fridays and Saturdays 11 am to 4 am, and Sundays 11 am to 12:30 am.

D.O.C Wine Bar
83 N. Seventh Street
Williamsburg
Brooklyn , New York
11211
Tel: 718 963 1925
Subway: L train to Bedford Avenue
www.docwinebar.com

D.O.C. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) is a quality assurance label of sorts for Italian wines, and this namesake neo-rustic enoteca in Williamsburg takes similar care in choosing varietal blends that make the grade. Sardinia is a well-represented region on the list—the blackberry-nosed Perdera Monica di Sardegna and the Sella e Mosca are both pleasant quaffs. Better still, many wines are sold by the marzianetto (tasting shot), so you can attend to gaps in your knowledge of Sardinian vintages quickly. Rough-hewn woodblock tables and plank floors strike a casual tone, and the bar area becomes home to a lively, air-kissing scene as the evening progresses. There's a small plate selection to absorb the sulfites—crostini with pâté and goat cheese, for example, or a tagliere spread of Italian meats and cheeses—all delivered with a charming "Salute!"

Open Monday through Thursday 6 pm to midnight; Friday and Saturday 6 pm to 1 am.

Dive Bars in the Hamptons

Locals rarely mingle with the summer set, so if you want to shoot a game of pool with your lifeguard or plumber, seek out a dive bar. In Sag Harbor, Murf's Backstreet Tavern is the place to go for beer, sliders, and pizza. Just don't drink too many pints—the Sag police station is next door. In East Hampton's Springs neighborhood (largely inhabited by locals), Wolfie's Tavern pours an all-American selection of beers and entertains with satellite TV, a jukebox, and a horseshoe pit. Dress down or you will stand out, and how.

Ear Inn
326 Spring Street
Tribeca
New York City , New York
10013
Tel: 212 226 9060
www.earinn.com

A vestige of old New York, this bar, which opened in the early 19th century, has been known by various names. The current moniker—said to be taken from a music magazine named Ear, published in one of the rooms above—may have been chosen for its convenience alone: the owners simply painted out part of the "B" in the sign that said "BAR." Whatever the name, it's the antidote to all the stylish spots popping up around town, a real, old fashioned tavern, complete with live bluesy music several nights a week, regular customers who've been coming for decades, and waitresses who've seen it all.

Open daily noon to 4 am.

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Feinstein's
Loews Regency Hotel
540 Park Avenue
Upper East Side
New York City , New York
10065
Tel: 212 339 4095
www.feinsteinsattheregency.com

Grammy winner, singer, and pianist Michael Feinstein's cabaret lounge, located at the Loews Regency Hotel (aka "540 Park"), is as much a New York institution as cabaret itself. Lots of wood and lots of velvet surround the main stage, as diners (the space fits 140) can practically reach out and touch big-name class acts along the lines of Betty Buckley, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Patti Lupone, and, of course, Feinstein. There's a $40 minimum per diner, which doesn't include ticket price (which ranges from $50 to $110 depending on the act); jackets are suggested, but not required.

Shows at 8:30 pm Sundays through Thursdays; shows on Fridays and Saturdays are at 8 pm and 10 pm.

Gay Nightlife

New York City gay nightlife is as much about the stereotyped scene as it is driven by novelty. For guys, at least, choices abound: East Village dive, or Hell's Kitchen young professional haunt? Chelsea jock, or Williamsburg hipster? Promoted night at a straight club, or a seven-day dose of gay?

The latest bars to draw and sustain a crowd are in Hell's Kitchen, a.k.a. Hellsea. At Industry, leather couches, faux-fur rugs, and mismatched settees set against resin screens and steel create a steampunky ode to the gay lounge. Think pop music, drag shows, and a busy any hour (355 W. 52nd St.). Bar-Tini Ultra Lounge heats up after 11 pm, particularly on weekends, with two chic whitewashed rooms and a tightly packed dance floor (642 Tenth Ave.). In Chelsea, Boxers draws otters, twinks, muscle bears, professionals, and men who like men who like sports, particularly at happy hour. Loud and capacious with cheap beer and mini pizzas, it's like any other sports bar you'd find in the 'burbs (37 W. 20th St.). Coming out of the closet in the post-frat wasteland of the East Side from the 40s to 14th Street, Vig 27 remains a popular beacon for the whole cocktail-lit family—gay, straight, girl, guy, bi, drag queen. The atmosphere is low-key, with cush seating, beaded curtain walls, and hot bartenders that know how to mix a drink (119 E. 27th St.).

Shamefully, NYC hasn't had a proper gay club since the Roxy shut down in 2007. The 11,000-square-foot XL Dance Bar (part of the Out NYC hotel, restaurant, and shopping gaygaplex) on far West 42nd Street is set to fill that void in summer 2011. But with delay rumors swirling, the best bets for thumping club nights are the slicked-up straight haunts.

Rockit Fridays lures Gay List lookers with an open vodka bar before 11 pm (Web site gives current location), while Sundays at Griffin in the Meatpacking District skew younger and fashion-forward (50 Gansevoort St.). The latter tapers off round midnight, at which point Vandam at Greenhouse is blowing up; it's a sweaty, tricked-out vestige of Manhattan's club kid heyday, with electro beats and hallucinogenic decor (50 Varick St.). To a lesser degree, with more deep Vs and chest hair, Spank melds Williamsburg hip with an infectious art-fag sensibility and super randy boys. What started as a queer art zine's series of release parties has morphed into more or less monthly dance fests.

For the ladies, choice is limited: two bars, or else the 40-plus gay-guy bars. In the West Village, petite Cubbyhole offers a chill choice for cocktails and chat amid a riot of overhead decorations (281 W. 12th St.), while Henrietta Hudson's trends busier, if rougher at times, with two small rooms and a dance floor with go-go cages (438 Hudson St.).

Of course, in the city that never sleeps (because everyone is out drinking), nightspots change quicker than Gaga's outfits. Pick up free bar rag Next Magazine for the most comprehensive and up-to-date listings, plus a handy tear-out map. Gayletter, an irreverent take on the week's more alternative offerings, is e-mailed every Tuesday.—Justin Ocean

Hotel Delmano
82 Berry Street
Williamsburg
Brooklyn , New York
11211
Tel: 718 387 1945
Subway: L train to Bedford Avenue

Don't let the fogged-glass windows and locked accordion gate in front of this Williamsburg speakeasy fool you. Slide around to the side entrance and you'll find the Hotel Delmano's leather booths packed with neighborhood hipsters and in-the-know Manhattanites supping potent cocktails with names like Devil's Garden. Roughly translated from the Spanish "of hands," Delmano is furnished with pieces handcrafted by its artist owners, from the curved marble bar to the custom-built tables and cut-stone tiles in the bathroom. The overall aesthetic? Rive Gauche meets 1950s Havana. Grab a wooden stool at the bar for a front-row view of the black-aproned bartenders who craft their cocktails with the patience of an apothecary. Arrive early in the evening if you want a seat on Friday or Saturday night—the lounge is exclusively first-come, first-serve.—Douglas Wright

Open Sundays through Thursdays 5 pm to 2 am, Fridays and Saturdays 5 pm to 3 am.

Joe's Pub
425 Lafayette Street
East Village
New York City , New York
10003
Tel: 212 539 8770
www.joespub.com

Named in honor of Public Theater founder Joe Papp (212-539-8500; www.publictheater.org), this intimate performance space feels like a living room, with velvet couches surrounding a small stage. Perhaps it's that cozy feeling that draws a lot of big names to perform here. Everyone from then-rising-star Alicia Keys to ex-Talking Head David Byrne to opera star Renée Fleming has gone Public.

Larry Lawrence
295 Grand Street
Williamsburg
Brooklyn , New York
11211
Tel: 718 218 7866
Subway: L train to Lorimer Street
www.larrylawrencebar.com

It's probably best that the door here isn't clearly marked, or this watering hole on a happening stretch of Grand Street would undoubtedly be overrun. (Hint: look for the word "bar" in tiny red letters outside a discreet metal entryway). The interior alone is worth a peek, having already found its way into coffee-table books on emerging New York City architecture. There's rich-hued woodwork with clean, Scandinavian lines and an elevated, glass-encased smoking mezzanine reached via a loft like stairwell. LL isn't particularly known for signature cocktails (it's something of an unspoken rule not to order cosmos in this part of Brooklyn anyway), but Brooklyn Lager and Hoegaarden are poured by reasonably cheerful bartenders whose iPod selection could very well be the topic of conversation on blogs the next day.

Open daily from 6 pm to 4 am.

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Le Poisson Rouge
158 Bleecker Street
West Village
New York City , New York
10012
Tel: 212 505 3474
lepoissonrouge.com

Its location may be somewhat inauspicious (on a stretch of Bleecker Street typically overrun with tipsy NYU freshmen), yet Le Poisson Rouge hosts some of the city's most exciting experimental music. Opened in 2008 by two Manhattan School of Music grads, this is a place where the city's music-geek set flocks to hear the most cutting-edge contemporary jazz, classical, rock, and world music—often performed side by side. You might find a performance of Arnold Schoenberg's atonal 1912 Pierrot Lunaire; the avant-garde chamber orchestra Alarm Will Sound premiering a new piece; a last-minute, packed-to-the-gills Lykke Li show; or a DJ set from of the godfather of hip-hop, Afrika Bambaataa. The vibe is laid-back, and guests can convene at tables while nibbling on small plates of truffled mac and cheese and chicken satay and sipping on specialty cocktails with names like the Zombie Hunter and the Dirty Colonel. But you don't always have to sit quietly. Tables are frequently moved for weekly dance parties, including the long-running Friday-night Freedom and Wednesday-night Props parties.—Alexis Swerdloff

Open Sundays through Wednesdays 5 pm to 2 am, Thursdays through Saturdays 5 pm to 4 am.

Little Branch
20 Seventh Avenue S.
West Village
New York City , New York
10014
Tel: 212 929 4360

This discreet hideaway in the West Village could easily coast on nostalgia alone, with jazz trios, vintage portraiture, and a waitstaff clad in flapper attire. The drinks menu reads like a list of your grandparents' favorites—Presbyterians, sidecars, whiskey cobblers—but mixologist Sasha Petraske's obsessive attention to detail and penchant for over-the-top garnishes and pristine fresh ingredients makes them cool again. It's enough to tempt coiffed post-hipsters away from their Pabst (if only for a night). For more of Petraske's cocktail wizardry, try to score a reservation at Milk and Honey, his members-only speakeasy on the Lower East Side (134 Eldridge St.; www.mlkhny.com).

Open daily 7 pm to 3 am.

The Lobby Bar at the The Ace Hotel
20 W. 29th Street
Midtown West
New York , New York
10001
Tel: 212 679 2222
www.acehotel.com/newyork

The Lobby Bar at the Ace Hotel has achieved the impossible: enticed hipsters to hang out in the middling, no-name area near Madison Square Park. Williamsburgers cross the bridge to lounge on velvet sofas and leather club chairs, take snaps in a vintage photo booth, and sip quirky song-inspired cocktails like the Lovely Day, with Milagro tequila, Ribena, soda, and lime. By day, it's a hot singles scene, with freelance writers and graphic designers perched over MacBooks (you're almost encouraged to mooch off the free Wi-Fi) on librarylike wooden tables. After work, a more mainstream bunch of attractive out-of-towners and office folk mingle under taxidermy and a massive American flag. And come Saturday, the crowd is uncool enough to arrive early: The place reaches capacity by 10 p.m.

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Marquee
289 10th Avenue
Chelsea
New York City , New York
10001
Tel: 646 473 0202
www.marqueeny.com

Dozens of other clubs have hit the West Chelsea scene since this celebrity hangout opened its doors, but Marquee's famous fans have remained faithful—everyone from P. Diddy to Lindsay Lohan to Lance Armstrong has made an appearance. The space was designed with the help of noted architect Philip Johnson's firm—an outfit rarely associated with places where people gyrate on banquettes—and the sculptural setting, with its seductive red and gold lighting, is one of the club's attractions. If you manage to make it past the long line and intimidating, beefy doormen (arriving early and being a pretty lady helps), don't assume that you'll get a peek at the boldface names; they're enclosed behind (soundproof!) glass in a separate level upstairs. There's a $20 cover most nights.

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays 10 pm to 4 am.

Mayahuel
304 E. 6th Street
East Village
New York City , New York
United States 10003
Tel: 212 253 5888
www.mayahuelny.com

Adding Mexican spice to Downtown's hefty portfolio of cocktail dens, Mayahuel is a two-level lounge behind an unmarked door in the East Village that proves tequila is not best enjoyed with a slice of lemon and a lick of salt. Mixologist Phil Ward, of nearby Death & Co., muddles sophisticated libations from tequila and its punchy cousin mescal. The Smoked Palomino, an intense concoction of Amontillado sherry, crema de Mezcal, grapefruit, and lime is a must-order (hold the ice), while the food menu offers welcome stomach liners like tamales and cochinita. The booth dwellers aren't your average cocktail snobs but an unpretentious crowd of after-workers, daters, and locals. Still, the door policy can be obnoxious: Expect to be shooed away on weekend nights, and be prepared to wait at the bar until the rest of your party arrives even if there's room upstairs.

Mercury Lounge
217 E. Houston Street
Lower East Side
New York City , New York
10002
Tel: 212 260 4700
www.mercuryloungenyc.com

This tiny Lower East Side spot has been the first New York stop for many a now-famous band. Because music booking titans Bowery Presents are in charge of scheduling, you're likely to see on-the-rise groups that are opening for big-time acts at music clubs like Webster Hall (125 E. 11th St.; 212-353-1600; www.websterhall.com) and the Bowery Ballroom. This also means that they're able to score intimate last-minute and secret shows with bands that normally play much larger venues (Broken Social Scene rocked a secret show to a handful of people before headlining the massive Siren Festival in 2008). Stop by on any given night and you're likely to get a mix of unheard-of-outside-Manhattan and on-the-rise acts like Sunset Rubdown and Oxford Collapse.

Call or visit Web site for showtimes.

PDT
113 St. Mark's Place
East Village
New York City , New York
10003
Tel: 212 614 0386
www.pdtnyc.com

There seem to be more speakeasies in New York these days than there were during Prohibition. So it's nice to see PDT—or "Please Don't Tell"—have some fun with the secret-bar concept. Here's how it works: At 3 pm on the day you'd like to attend, call and make a reservation for a time slot anywhere between 6 pm and 3 am. Arrive on time and descend the stairs of Crif Dogs, the legendary late-night snack stop on St. Mark's. Instead of getting in line for a bacon-wrapped hot dog with sour cream, avocado, and cheese (there'll be time for that later!), find the vintage phone booth, pick up the receiver, and press the buzzer. Now look back to catch a glimpse of the confused looks of hot dog–eating patrons as the wall opens up and swallows you into a dimly lit bar. Inside, patrons cozy up in leather banquettes beneath a collection of quirky taxidermy and old family portraits. The high-end cocktail list—the Old Fashioned is made with bacon-infused bourbon and maple syrup—goes well with the deep-fried hot dogs that can be ordered from next door. It's not terribly secret anymore, but PDT is perfect for experiencing firsthand some good, old-school (but not overly obnoxious) New York exclusivity.

Open Mondays through Thursdays 6 pm to 2 am, Fridays and Saturdays 6 pm to 4 am.

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Pegu Club
77 W. Houston Street, 2nd Floor
Soho
New York City , New York
10012
Tel: 212 473 7348
www.peguclub.com

This suave, romantic second floor bar seems a world away from the bustle of Houston Street below. Named after the famed British officers club in Rangoon, it interprets colonial Asia in a non-stereotypical way—the colors are muted earth tones, the back wall is designed to look like a Japanese temple altar, and you sit at marble topped French café tables. The dominant design feature, though, is a 36-foot-long spalted maple bar, and the dominant draw is Audrey Saunders, who made her name uptown at Bemelmans in the Carlyle. As co-owner of this bar, opened in 2005, she is now practicing her brand of mixology magic down here.

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Riff Raff's
60 Park Avenue S.
Midtown East
New York City , New York
10010
Tel: 212 951 7111
riffraffsnyc.com

The look of Riff Raff's, a subterranean bar/nightclub located underneath the Polynesian megarestaurant Hurricane Club, is equal parts tropical (tribal masks and Malaysian textiles line the walls) and city-sleek (a disco ball hangs from the ceiling, and there's lots of shiny dark wood), but the drinks are all tiki. Extremely large cocktails, occasionally served in a watermelon or coconut, come adorned with colorful straws and plastic flamingos, and there are enormous bowls meant for large groups to share. The $350 Shitshow is comprised of an entire bottle of Grey Goose vodka plus a raspberry yuzu mixer. For those with less extravagant tastes, Riff Raff's offers a regular bar menu with more standard (yet still pricey) cocktails, such as the Coconut, featuring Montecristo rum, coconut, cardamom, and passion fruit. New York City's reigning iPad DJ duo phenomenon Andrew Andrew hosts a party there every Thursday night.—Alexis Swerdloff

Open Wednesdays through Saturdays 10 pm to 4 am.

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Rose Bar
Gramercy Park Hotel
2 Lexington Avenue
Gramercy
New York City , New York
10010
Tel: 212 920 3300
www.gramercyparkhotel.com/bars.html

New York has never lacked for swank hotel bars, but the Rose Bar, located in the Gramercy Park Hotel, takes things to a whole new level. Though the bar's $19 cocktails turn some off, others—notably media bigwigs, i-bankers, and the hotel's glamorous guests—have no qualms shelling out for lavish beverages (the Diamonds and Pearls features Reyka vodka and Lillet Blanc shaken with blackberries and coconut). This may have something to do with the dramatic haute bohemian ambience—red and white tiles line this high-ceilinged, Spanish-style space, which is surrounded by green silk velvet walls, a wood-burning fireplace, and the bar's pièces de résistance: artwork by Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and Julian Schnabel (who is one of the co-owners). Reservations are required after 9 pm.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 4 pm to 4 am.

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Rowdy Hall
10 Main Street #B
East Hampton , New York
11937
Tel: 631 324 8555
www.rowdyhall.com

Located at the end of a brick alley, this tidy pub from the owners of Nick & Toni's has become a favorite among summer folks for its friendly service and unfussy vibe. Sidle up to the copper-top bar for a pint of Brooklyn Lager or a dram of one of many whiskeys picturesquely posed against a stained-glass backdrop. The menu includes fish and chips, braised duck legs, and one of the East End's best burgers. The six-screen UA cinema is just down the street, making the pub a popular stop among East Hampton's post-movie crowd; they know as well as anyone that convivial Rowdy Hall generally lives up to its name just enough.—Darrell Hartman

Open daily noon to 11 pm.

Russian Vodka Room
265 W. 52nd Street
Midtown West
New York City , New York
10019
Tel: 212 307 5835
www.russianvodkaroom.com

This dimly lit, windowless hideaway transports you from Midtown to old-world Moscow. A portrait of Lenin hangs on the wall overseeing a lively piano player and Russian businessmen hooting and hollering at the bar over plates of gravlax and smoked fish, and glasses of the lounge's biggest attraction: vodka. With 53 varieties, it's hard to know where to begin, but you can't leave without trying the infused options like garlic, dill, horseradish, apple cinnamon, or ginger. The bar is at its best late in the night, when revelers stumble in from all over town for raucous afterparties.

Open Mondays through Thursdays 4 pm to 12 am, Fridays through Sundays 4 pm to 4 am.

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Rusty Knot
425 West Street
West Village
New York City , New York
10014
Tel: 212 645 5668
www.therustyknot.com

An upscale take on a nautical-themed dive bar could be utterly obnoxious, but Rusty Knot manages to pull it off with endearing style. This is likely due to the dream team of owners, who have been behind a range of New York hot spots, including the Spotted Pig and Freeman's. Located on the West Side Highway, with exquisite views over the Hudson River, the bar has a wood-paneled rec-room decor that does a fine job of transporting you to a New England seaside town thanks to kitschy touches like a ship-wheel mirror, mounted fish, and dog-eared copies of National Geographic. Lest you forget you're in Manhattan, there's a bar menu that includes oysters, chicken liver– and-bacon sandwiches, and pretzel dogs (it's exactly what it sounds like). There's also a comprehensive menu of specialty, rum-based cocktails (try the Rusty Knot, made with rum, house sour mix, bitters, and mint simple syrup), which arrive in tiki glasses. But if you really want to live the dive-bar illusion, stick with the beer—cans start at 99 cents.

Open daily noon to 4 am.

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Salon de Ning
Peninsula Hotel
700 5th Avenue
Midtown East
New York City , New York
10019
Tel: 212 903 3097
www.salondening.com

Named for fictional 1930s Shanghai jet-setress Madame Ning, the lounge atop the Peninsula Hotel is inspired by a time when the Chinese city was known as "the Paris of the East." In addition to two outdoor lounges and an inside bar with Chinese screens, black marble seating, and glowing lanterns, Salon de Ning's biggest draw is the panoramic, very dramatic view of the city. But like every view in this town, you'll have to pay for it: The delicious cocktails (try the Ning Sling made with Absolut Mandarin, Soho Lychee, fresh mint leaves, lychee and passion fruit juices ) will cost you upward of $20 (not including tip). Those who enjoy their experience here can look forward to Salon de Ning offshoots opening in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Open daily 4 pm to 1 am.

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Santos Party House
100 Lafayette Street
Chinatown
New York City , New York
10013
Tel: 212 584 5492
www.santospartyhouse.com

You don't go to Santos Party House to perch on a banquette while looking cute—you go to Santos Party House to seriously get down while looking cute. Helmed by New York cool kids Andrew W.K. (yes, he of "Party Hard" fame), artist Spencer Sweeney, Pianos owner Larry Golden, and architect Ron Castellano, this bi-level megaspace recalls a New York of the '80s when you hit the club dressed in your wildest to dance till dawn. In addition to a rotating cast of top-of-the-line DJs—Studio 54 vet Nicky Siano had a Santos summer residency, as do LCD Soundsystem/DFA guru James Murphy and the legendary Q-Tip—the club recently started hosting live shows by the likes of N.E.R.D., The Virgins, and Black Dice.

Open daily 10 pm to 4 am.

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Spitzer's Corner
101 Rivington Street
Lower East Side
New York City , New York
10002
Tel: 212 228 0027
www.spitzerscorner.com

The buzz surrounding this downtown "gastropub" shouldn't give the Spotted Pig too much pause: With dozens of hard-to-find artisanal brews on draft, nobody's really coming here for the food. Communal-style seating further underscores the beer garden vibe. However, the interior is more Boulder than old-school Bavaria: Think salvaged wood paneling, floor-to-ceiling windows, and tables made of reclaimed Douglas fir. Descriptive tasting notes come in handy for the more obscure imports, which range from citrusy German Pilsners to chocolate stouts that are meals in themselves. And savory bar snacks like the pork belly sandwich—essentially a BLT with intensely flavored slabs of bacon—pair well with most of these libations. Spitzer's is at its best on weeknights, when a mix of beer geeks, art types, and post-work professionals chill with a pint or two. On the weekends, it's best to make this your first stop and escape before the rowdy masses descend.

Open Mondays and Tuesdays noon to 3 am, Wednesdays through Fridays noon to 4 am, Saturdays 11 am to 4 am, and Sundays 11 am to 3 am.

Spuyten Duyvil
359 Metropolitan Avenue
Williamsburg
Brooklyn , New York
11211
Tel: 718 963 4140
Subway: L train to Bedford Avenue
www.spuytenduyvilnyc.com

Ask the bartenders at Williamsburg's Spuyten Duyvil about the obscure artisanal draughts with umlauted names scrawled on the chalkboards, and along with an accurate description of the taste, you'll probably get a rambling story about its brewing history, the difference between Lambics and Wallonian ales, and so on. In fact, it's nearly impossible to escape an education at Spuyten Duyvil, with its world maps, scientific charts of the human anatomy, and classroom desks where locals sip glasses of La Choulette Framboise or Kulmbacher Eisbock. The narrow bar gets crowded fast on a Friday or Saturday night, so slip out back to the tree-lined garden patio, one of the best in the neighborhood.—Douglas Wright

Open Mondays through Fridays at 5 pm, Saturdays and Sundays at 1 pm.

The Stephen Talkhouse
161 Main Street
Amagansett , New York
11930
Tel: 631 267 3117
www.stephentalkhouse.com

Located in the center of sleepy Amagansett, the Stephen Talkhouse is the closest thing to a CBGB-style roadhouse as you're likely to find on the East End. Since opening in 1970, this live-music venue has attracted a talented roster of musicians, including Billy Joel and Paul Simon. Grab a beer at the long bar, check out the autographed photographs and memorabilia papering the walls, and get ready to rock out. Buy tickets well in advance.

subMercer
Mercer Hotel
147 1/2 Mercer Street
Soho
New York City , New York
10012
Tel: 212 966 6060

After a five-year hiatus, the bunkerlike lounge beneath Andre Balazs's Mercer Hotel is back in business and swankier than ever. After you locate the unassuming door marked 147 1/2, make it past the doorman, take a freight elevator down one flight and open two sets of doors, you will find yourself in a chic, cavernous party space with exposed brick, red banquettes, and a stripper pole. The decor may be spare, but the supermodels, socialites, designers, and the occasional member of the Strokes who frequent subMercer do a good job prettying the place up. Getting past the doorman is not an easy feat, so we suggest e-mailing inquiries@submercer.com and making a reservation.

Hours vary.

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Surf Lodge
183 S. Edgemere Street
Montauk , New York
11954
Tel: 631 668 1562
www.kingandgrove.com/hotels/surf-lodge/about-surf-lodge

Depending on whom you talk to, this low-slung party spot on the eastern shore of Fort Pond spelled either the end of Montauk or a new beginning when it opened in 2008. Surf Lodge has a handful of whitewashed guest rooms (Frette linens, platform beds), and celebrity chef Sam Talbot's menu includes yummy burgers and local seafood. That said, neither food nor furnishings are the big draw here: This is Montauk's original see-and-be-seen night venue, even if it's more about flip-flops and Coronas than Louboutins and velvet ropes. Out on the sand, you'll find Manhattan's young fashion crowd swaying to Bob Marley and the Rolling Stones in the orange light of a beach bonfire. Thanks to a rash of trendy newcomers—the Crow's Nest and Navy Beach, to name just two—the most devoted scene-followers have moved on from Surf Lodge. Still, the cars line up along Edgemere Street, so be prepared to walk a quarter mile or so from yours if you arrive after sunset on a Friday or Saturday night.—Darrell Hartman

Bar open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 5 to 11 pm, Tuesdays 5 to 9 pms, Fridays 5 pm to 2 am, Saturdays noon to 3 am, and Sundays 11 am to midnight, May through September.

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Terroir
24 Harrison Street
Tribeca
New York City , New York
10013
Tel: 212 625 9463
restauranthearth.com/terrior/Terroir.html

Terroir eschews wine-snob culture, while welcoming genuine wine fanatics with open arms. It does come with credentials: Co-owner Paul Grieco used to oversee the wine service at Gramercy Tavern. The wine bar's menu (which is not so much a menu as a quirky three-ring binder filled with cheeky cartoons, poems, songs, and essays) features more than 50 wines by the glass, many of them obscure and, according to Grieco, underappreciated—a whopping three pages are fully devoted to Riesling. Servers are exceedingly friendly, and decidedly unstingy with the pouring; they'll guide even neophytes through the offerings. Small plates are phenomenal, including the legendary veal and ricotta meatball sub and the calamari salad with smoked chickpeas and garlic. There is also a smaller (original) location in the East Village, near Hearth restaurant, also co-owned by Grieco.—Alexis Swerdloff

Open Mondays through Wednesdays 5 pm to 1 am, Thursdays through Saturdays 5 pm to 2 am, and Sundays 5 pm to midnight.

The Top of the Standard
848 Washington Street
West Village
New York City , New York
10014
Tel: 212 645 4646
www.standardhotels.com/new-york-city

Slap a bar on the eighteenth floor of New York's new High Line–straddling skyscraper hotel the Standard, add floor-to-ceiling windows, doormen from the River Styx training school, and staff in cheeky uniforms, and, presto, you have the city's hippest (and most exclusive) scene. Previously known as the Boom Boom Room, the Top of the Standard combines peerless Hudson River and Lower Manhattan views—the best are from the bathrooms—with a glam, retro, cruise ship–style interior, great cocktails, and a perma-party vibe. As for your fellow guests, it'd be easier to list the haute celebs who haven't draped themselves on the cream leather booths than those who have. The entry policy is likely to soften as time passes; for now, swing by around sunset—mere mortals are welcome between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.

White Slab Palace
77 Delancey Street
Lower East Side
New York City , New York
10002
Tel: 212 334 0193

When Chinatown's beloved Swedish bar/restaurant Good World closed in 2008, the city's arty-Scandinavian crowd was bereft. But not for long. In early 2009, the same owners, Annika Sundvik and John Lavelle, opened White Slab Palace, a haven for artistic Lower East Siders who haven't moved to Brooklyn yet. With shabby wooden tables, unfinished concrete floors, and large floor-to-ceiling windows, this is urban rustic at its best—and worlds away from your typical scuzzy LES joint. Signature cocktails like the Stoli Beet go well with the selection of Scandi treats such as potato pancakes and Swedish meatballs. Play your cards right and you may be invited into the semisecret back room for the late-night dance party.—Alexis Swerdloff

Open daily 11 am to 4 am.

Williamsburg Music Hall
66 N. Sixth Street
Williamsburg
Brooklyn , New York
11211
Tel: 718 486 5400
Subway: L train to Bedford Avenue
www.musichallofwilliamsburg.com

When this venerable music venue's former incarnation, Northsix, opened in 2001, it heralded an explosive new era of grassroots indie rock in Brooklyn, drawing in promising neighborhood talents such as TV on the Radio, Beirut, and the Hold Steady. When rents skyrocketed in Williamsburg six years later, the Northsix space was bought by the owners of the Bowery Ballroom and remodeled with state-of-the-art sound equipment, balcony seating, and improved acoustics. Recent acts like MGMT, Grizzly Bear, and the Dirty Projectors have since unleashed a rocking wallop of sound into the modest-size, black-walled venue, which continues in Northsix's footsteps by showcasing indie rock bands on the rise. If you arrive before the show, head downstairs to the subterranean horseshoe bar (one of four on the premises), where band members often grab a drink before going onstage.—Douglas Wright

Zum Schneider
107 Avenue C
East Village
New York City , New York
10009
Tel: 212 598 1098
www.zumschneider.com

This traditional, unpretentious biergarten, located on Avenue C in the East Village, fits comfortably between the neighborhood's grungy past and increasingly sanitized future. The decor may have touches of Bavarian quirk, but the space is always clean and the service snappy. On the weekends, the beer hall is mobbed with locals throwing back the 13 German beers on tap, many of which are served in jumbo-size steins (pace yourself), or 9 bottled beers, while snacking on traditional fare like Wiener schnitzel and spätzle. A date spot this is not: Groups of boisterous (read: loud) beer lovers convene here en masse at the bar's communal, long tables.

Open Mondays through Thursdays 5 pm to 2 am, Fridays 4 pm to 4 am, Saturdays and Sundays 1 pm to 2 am.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.