Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Toasts of the Town

The weather outside has been frightful, there seems to be a war (or two) looming, and even the trashiest reality show can only distract us for so long: Frankly, we all need--no, deserve--a drink and the warm companionship of good friends (or good-looking strangers). So here are the 50 BEST BARS to order one, whether you're still blessed with an expense account or searching for the city's most welcoming dive.


Best Bad-Weather Bar
The Library Bar
In this winter of our discontent, there is no better place to hide from the elements than the Library Bar in the Hudson Hotel. More...
• Midtown

Best Bar to Hear Dance Music (Without-Ostensibly-Dancing)
Plant Bar
For exhausted club junkies seeking an electronica fix without the cover charge and unsolicited, ecstasy-fueled ass-grinding of an actual club. More...
• East Village

Best New Tribute to the Go-go Nineties
Neon-light boxes flash all over this bar, which feels more Miami than Manhattan More....
• Flatiron District

Flora and Fauna: Plant Bar, the best place to hear dance music while sitting down.  

Best New Overcrowded Hipster Bar
In October, a Parisian-style bi-level bar opened in an old piano shop without bothering to change the sign... More...
• Lower East Side

Best Bar If You Still Have an Expense Account
Hedge-fund managers mix with La Goulue refugees, and everyone indulges in some of the chic-est spirits the city has to offer. More...
• Midtown

Best Bar If You're Unemployed
Holiday Cocktail Lounge
W. H. Auden once lived next door, and Trotsky across the street... More...
• East Village

Best Bar Where Everyone's Makeup Looks Fantastic
Marion's Continental
Drag queens and other downtown celebrities favor this cozy Bowery bar... More...
• East Village

Best After-Work Bar for Forgetting About Work
The Living Room
After 6 p.m., the midtown crowds swarm the seventh-floor bar to loosen their ties and splay out on cushy white couches. More...
• Midtown

Best Bar for a Covert Job Interview

The Villard Bar and Lounge
A Great Place for secret business meetings, romantic liaisons, and any other one-on-one gatherings that require extreme discretion... More...
• Midtown

Best Gay Bar for Meeting a Guy With $80,000 in M.F.A. Debt
Owned by the people behind the popular but mercifully unstylish Phoenix in the East Village... More...
• Brooklyn

Roof Garden: Cubbyhole, where lesbian chic is delightfully kitsch.  

Best Overdecorated Lesbian Bar
The sleek Wallpaper* aesthetic (now on the wane in New York bars?) clearly never had a chance at Cubby Hole. More...
• West Village

Best Bar to Get Taken Hostage In
Bar Veloce
If you're going to have kerosene sprayed on you by a raving lunatic waving a gun... More...
• East Village

Best Dive Bar for Conde Nasters
Jimmy's Corner
If Cameron Crowe really wanted to capture the life of a Conde Nast editor in Vanilla Sky, Tom Cruise would have been drinking at the long wooden bar at Jimmy's Corner... More...
• Midtown

Best Bar for Meeting a Fashion Photographer
A proper, plush lounge, with low black velvet couches, deep-pink pillows, and just enough Moroccan grillwork to keep it looking (luxe) hippie. More...
• Chelsea

Best Post-College Bar in Park Slope
Great Lakes
A spacious bar filled with thrift-store furniture where Park Slopers go to discuss postpunk music, poetry, Iraq, poetry in Iraq, etc... More...
• Brooklyn

Best Sloppy-Drunk Brunch Spot
Indulge your inner lush at this lofty Lower East Side restaurant whose all-weekend $12 brunch special includes unlimited mimosas, screwdrivers, or horseradish-heavy Bloody Marys. More...
• Lower East Side

Best Dive Bar for Meeting a Celebrity
A lease battle may have forced Siberia to move from its subterranean home under the 50th Street IRT subway stop to an unmarked door on 40th Street near Ninth Avenue... More...
• Midtown

East Meets Best: The Litchi martini at Thom's Bar.  

Best Bar to Meet a Celebrity's Assistant
Thom's Bar
No SoHo boutique hotel worth its location is complete without a sleek, subdued, dimly lit lounge where it's hard to tell who's more glamorous... More...
• SoHo

Best Bar for Dancing (Legally)
Filter 14
The bare-bones vibe of this mini-club in the meatpacking district is no deterrent to the clubby (but unpretentious) crowd that flocks here to dance... More...
• West Village

Best Bar for Drinking Obscenely Priced Cocktails
The World Bar
Everything from the back-lit marble bar to the petrified-wood tables reeks of luxury (not to mention of Trump). More...
Midtown East

Best Pre- or Post-Theater Bar
Blue Fin
An attractive after-work, pre-curtain set swarms the all-glass corner bar with its view of Times Square. More...
• Midtown

Harlem Off My Mind: Sugar Hill Bistro, the best place to wind down uptown.  

Best Bar for Seeing Wynton (or Clinton)
Sugar Hill Bistro
Twentysomethings clad in Sean John and fedoras-and their model-leggy companions-flock to this refurbished Victorian townhouse. More...
• West Harlem

Best Bar for Shooting Pool (Uninterrupted)
Any true pool aficionado knows that finding a good spot to play in the city is nearly impossible.... More...
• SoHo

Best Eastern European Table-Dancing Mob Scene
Mehanata 416 B.C.
At Mehanata, every night is New Year's Eve and the Fourth of July and Bulgarian Independence Day (if such a holiday even exists). More...
• Lower Manhattan

Rainbow Room: XL, the gay bar whose lighting changes by the minute.  

Best Gay Bar That Feels Like a Club
Open the door to XL, the most recent nightlife offering from John Blair-the man behind gay-clubdom's big night at the Roxy-and you expect to find hordes of shirtless men dancing to thumping music. More...
• Chelsea

Best Queens Bar for Would-be Brooklynites
This smokey (well, at least for now) Astoria hideaway is where Queens-based hipsters come to pretend they actually live near Smith Street. More...
• Queens

Wildest (Classiest) Upper East Side Drinking Scene
At most bars, dancing on tables is generally reserved for New Year's Eve-or a Hilton sister's birthday-but at this Italian restaurant, it's a regular occurrence... More...
Upper East Side

Best Sports Bar You Can Bring Your Girlfriend To
Leave the arcades and beer bellies to the ESPN Zone. More...
• Gramercy Park

Best Gay Bar You Can Bring Your Straight Friends To
Starlight Bar & Lounge
If the Gaiety strip club proves a little too much for that first outing, turn to Starlight, a funky mix of Chelsea boys and East Village artistes... More...
• East Village

Best Bar for Being (or Meeting) an Artist
Who says getting your buzz on at a gallery has to involve a plastic cup of tepid Pinot Grigio? More...
• Chelsea

Current Issue
Subscribe to New York

Give a Gift