For some, a glamorous night out means stepping past velvet ropes and popping champagne. For others, it might be strutting down a cobblestone street in stilettos or sipping on an impeccable cocktail. No matter your brand of sophistication, you’ll find a place for it in New York City. Whether you’re looking for an epic weekend party or a plan to make your Tuesday a bit more posh, these five ideas will amp up your nightlife routine.
Hit the Club
Clubs are usually a one-way ticket to a big night out in New York City. At Top of the Standard in the Meatpacking District, there’s gold everywhere you look, adding an opulent touch to a room where you can dance the night away while popping a bottle or two. There’s no such gilt at the Good Room, but this casual, edgy option in Greenpoint is no less serious about its beats. For a twist on ye olde bottle service, try Chelsea’s Blue Light, which specializes in large-format cocktails (called “Bulk Spirits” on the menu and served in classy decanters). For the classic bass-pumping, neon-wearing, warehouse-turned-club experience, House of Yes in Bushwick is the place to go.
Go All the Way Up
Want to feel like you’re on top of the world while you sip a cocktail on a New York City rooftop? The soaring windows behind the bar at Ophelia provide impressive views of Midtown East, as do the wraparound terraces lining the perimeter of the 26th-floor space. Even higher up, Bar SixtyFive at the Rainbow Room and the bar at Danny Meyer’s Manhatta (on the 60th floor) won’t disappoint view seekers—or cocktail enthusiasts. For something outside the rooftop-bar norm, try the Water Tower bar—yes, it looks just like a water tower but with floor-to-ceiling windows—perched atop the Williamsburg Hotel. The seasonal Met Roof Garden Café may not be the highest rooftop bar in NYC, but it does offer a prime vantage point overlooking Central Park, and its setting is unbeatable for cocktail-craving art lovers.
Own the Dance Floor
With the right outfit, the right crowd and the right music, you can spend the entire night on one of these glam NYC dance floors. Suit up in your fanciest (but, we hope, still comfortable) dancing shoes and hit the floor at Bembe, popular for its Afro-Latin playlist. Black Flamingo and C’mon Everybody are two more Brooklyn favorites known for their casual vibes and energetic dance floors. For a spiffier alternative, twirl the night away under the chandelier at the Jane Hotel Ballroom, popular for its late-week parties.
There's live music every night, and all around, in New York City. Try classic jazz venues like the historic Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem or Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, which hosts emerging artists at its late-night sessions, complete with views of Central Park behind the stage. Shows at Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre include big-name musicians and comics, but the acts won’t be the only thing to catch your eye. After a recent renovation, the gilded interiors of this former Loew’s Wonder Theatre have been restored to their original 1929 glory. Gold accents and dramatic chandeliers are equally attention grabbing at the Upper West Side’s Beacon Theatre. The onetime movie and vaudeville theater is now a handsome host for rock bands and comedy shows.
Look the Part
Perhaps the most effortless way to glam up your evening is to simply have a drink at a very pretty bar. For Upper East Side sophistication, try Bemelmans Bar inside the Carlyle Hotel. Relax in a burgundy leather seat, sip a martini and keep an eye out for celebrities who may pop in. Find more classic elegance at The Campbell, tucked inside Grand Central Terminal, or Raines Law Room, a speakeasy-style bar with a serious cocktail menu. In Chinatown, the elaborate flower arrangements and Gucci wallpaper at Peachy’s will definitely tempt you to break the cocktail bar’s “no photos” rule. Or Instagram all you like of the gold-tiled ceiling and plush emerald booths at Ada’s Place in Hudson Yards. Crank the night up a notch with one of the bar’s reserve cocktails, like the Suntory Time with 12-year-old Japanese whisky, angostura bitters and honey.