17 Stanton St., nr. Chrystie St.; 212-677-5555
The tight door, ridiculously groomed crowd, and outrageously priced cocktails (from $12) at the former Stanton Public space represent a new Lower East Side, where hordes of dives and open-door booty-shaking joints have created a hankering for exclusivity. If you can get in to see it, the Steve Lewis–designed décor at Bantam is fittingly over-the-top: mostly freakish blue-papered walls adorned with mirrors. The vibe is young, silly, and kinetic, if not quite eclectic (there’s very little diversity here), and, refreshingly, the speakers pump less Top 40 than the city standard, more punk and rock. The stained-glass bar is yet another feast for the eyes, but those experiencing sensory overload can take a breather in the back garden.