Toasts of the Town

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.Photo: Stefan Studer

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.Photo: Kenneth Chen

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.Photo: Kenneth Chen

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.Photo: Stefan Studer

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

Best Bar Food
What to eat and drink at seven favorites. 

Nights of Wine and Poses: Sipping pretty in Punch & Judy.Photo: Stefan Studer

Best New Wine Bar
Punch & Judy
With most New York wine bars aping the customs of the old country, it’s nice to see a place that’s neither bar à vins nor enoteca. More…
• Lower East Side

Best Burger Bars
Old Town
A true New York classic: Ancient mariners sit side by side with sports nuts, frat boys, and hip preppies who struggle valiantly not to use their cell phones. More…
• Union Square

Corner Bistro
If you call yourself a New Yorker, then it’s practically your civic duty to have a beer and burger here at least once, if not once a week. More…
• West Village

Lord of the Rings: SX137's Katherine Kiwi, with chardonnay-infused vodka.Photo: Kenneth Chen

Best High Design on the Lower East Side
Though the all-white back room is, alas, no more, SX137, conceived by Harry Allen, who designed Soho shelter boutique Moss… More…
•Lower East Side

Best Up-From-the-Ashes Bar
The Bar on Gramercy Park
The bow-tied bartenders, bowls of Goldfish, and piano players may be gone, but the newly reincarnated Gramercy will not feel entirely unfamiliar to regulars. More…
• Gramercy Park

Best Place to Ditch (er, Upgrade) Your Date
Bungalow 8
Well, if you and your date can get in, that is… More…
• Chelsea

Best Bar at the End of the Earth
Ask a car service to take you to “the bar” in Red Hook, and you’ll wind up at an unassuming little place by the river, near some railroad tracks that go nowhere. More…
• Brooklyn

Best Bars That Are Hardest to Find
Angel’s Share
It’s tough to find this elegant drink parlor tucked away inside a Japanese restaurant… More…
• East Village

First, walk into the trendy hotel, favored by rock stars who love soaking in its deep tubs… More…
• SoHo

Best Jazz Bar
Smoke Jazz Club and Lounge
Smoke, which rose three years ago from the ashes of the late, lamented Augie’s and was named for the Paul Auster novel written within, feels more like a living room than like a club. More…
• Upper West Side

Best Bar on Smith Street
Bar Below
If every month brings yet another (sometimes sparsely attended) new bar to Smith Street, Bar Below, beneath an Asian-fusion restaurant, seems like a keeper. More…
• Brooklyn

Fort Serene: Decompressing in Frank's, still Fort Greene's favorite.Photo: Stefan Studer

Best “The More Things Change … ” Bar
Frank’s Cocktail Lounge
Veterans of Frank’s Cocktail Lounge in Fort Greene were rattled this year when its vintage block-text front sign gave way to an all-too-tasteful burgundy awning…. More…
• Brooklyn

Best Hot Spot in a Non-Hot Neighborhood
The Upper West Side is no longer a culinary desert, but its nightlife still leaves something to be desired. More…
• Upper West Side

Best Cigar Bar for All Smokers
Club Macanudo
Given the location, it’s no surprise that the clientele at this wood-paneled shrine to tobacco tends toward the pinstripe-and-cuff-link variety. More…
• Midtown

Best Speakeasy in Midtown
Single Room Occupancy
There’s no sign outside this basement hideaway, just a glowing green sconce and the faintest throb of deep-house music. More…
• Midtown

Best Bar to Take Over With Twenty Friends
The Magician
Perhaps it’s the popular conviction that magicians (read: David Blaine) are aesthetically unappealing that keeps this pleasant tavern so empty… More…
• Lower East Side

Best Bar in a Converted Space
Happy Ending
Like Double Happiness, its older, cheaper, ex-speakeasy sister bar to the west, this trendy one-year-old bar plays up its previous existence-in this case, as a massage parlor. More…
• Chinatown

Best Wag Bar
Ever since irascible-lovable Steve Dunleavy stumbled upon this Irish pub, it’s been home away from home for New York Post journos… More…
• Midtown

Best Bar for Playing Games
Pete’s Candy Store
Pete’s was once a local luncheonette for the neighborhood’s Italian old-timers-as well as a candy store… More…
• Brooklyn

Best Strip Bar for Dancing
Pussycat Lounge
No, we don’t mean onstage– the real action happens upstairs from the T&A at the hippest financial-district scene around. More…
• Tribeca

Best Bars To Be An Amateur D.J.
Good news for bedroom D.J.’s: As a gesture of good will and cultural openness, more and more bars are letting their customers provide the tunes. (Or maybe they just want to spend less money on pro turntablists?) At any rate, here are the best spots to spin your way to stardom. No Simon Cowell to worry about-just your drunk friends cheering you on.

“The Record Party” at Halcyon takes place on the first Monday of every month. All you have to do is arrive at 8:30 p.m., sign up for a time slot, and they’ll hand over the tables. All styles of music are welcome (though the sound leans toward the electronic), and the chill crowd and comfy setting make even beginners feel at ease. Bring your own needles.

Magnetic Fields in Brooklyn Heights also hosts an open-turntable night, starting every Monday around 9 p.m. Bring your own records, sign up with the bartender for a half-hour slot, and spin to your heart’s content.

Less spontaneous (read: more prepared) types can check out “Homegrown” every Tuesday at the cozy, unpretentious Sin Sin, where four 60-minute slots are reserved each week for fledgling D.J.’s. Drop off your demo tape for a chance to spin at future parties.

If the last time you held a vinyl LP was when you bought Thriller in ‘85, there’s always the “iParty” at APT. Starting at 9:30 on Tuesday (and going on until about 3 a.m.), trendy partygoers, armed with two iPods and a mixer, sign up for seven-minute time slots in which they choose from over 3,000 preprogrammed songs while rowdy onlookers shout their approval-or their dismay. (Hint: On one evening, Neil Diamond was not particularly well received.)

And if your Mac is your musical medium of choice, head to Openair at 5 p.m. on Sundays for “Share,” where an eclectic mix of hippie-ish East Villagers, black-clad techies, and Williamsburg new-media types bring in their impossibly skinny laptops, plug in to the server, and make group music and visuals that are piped and projected throughout the party. Martinis abound, and even Luddites are welcome.

Edited by Jared Hohlt and written by Joy Armstrong, Sarah Bernard, Ada Calhoun, Sara Cardace, Lauren DeCarlo, Jeremy Gerard, Matt Gross, Michelle Handelman, Tony Hendra, Boris Kachka, Ben Kaplan, Beth Landman Keil, Sean Kennedy, Monica Khemsurov, Amy Larocca, Marc Malkin, E. J. Samson, Deborah Schoeneman, Michael Steele, Carl Swanson, Catherine Townsend, Jenifer Van Vleck, and Jada Yuan.

Toasts of the Town