F, V at Lower East Side-Second Ave.
"The bar with the blue light out in front?" That’s how this Avenue C joint is most frequently referred to, and for a reason: It's got no recognizable signage to speak of. This low-key approach will work for a while to keep the throngs at bay, but Nublu is such a charming addition to the Alphabet City bar scene the place could be boarded up and downtown imbibers would still be demanding entry. Try to make it to Nublu during warmer months, as its outdoor garden is the prime attraction. ("Garden" is perhaps misleading—the sea of green the outdoor space looks onto is more like a jungle dropped into the middle of the city.) Or recline indoors on one of the brightly-colored, tennis-ball-like ottomans. A rotating roster of DJs spins nightly, supplemented by the occasional live performance. Come early for a pleasant, after-work hang; later, to rub up against super-sweaty party people.
Picnics with a view, roller-skating nostalgia, and a party for gay headbangers.