A New Year usually means new goals, and one of yours should be to take advantage of New York City’s one-of-a-kind nightlife scene—or at least the parts you’ve yet to conquer. Whether it’s seeing a live drag show, singing your heart out at karaoke or trying one of those Instagram-worthy drinks, resolve to do more with your nights this year. Read on for our list of 14 #goals for going out in the City.
1. Successfully enter a speakeasy.
For some reason, drinks are much more satisfying when obtained in one of the City’s clandestine watering holes, like the East Village’s PDT (short for Please Don’t Tell). It’s a destination not only for its stellar cocktails but also for the trip to get inside—through an old phone booth in next door’s Crif Dogs.
2. See a drag show in the West Village.
For lip-synching, stagecraft and dance moves that will put yours to shame, go see the queens at Pieces. It’s a longstanding neighborhood gay bar with nightly themed shows as well as karaoke, bingo and a great “liquid brunch” deal on the weekends. A welcoming atmosphere and miraculous lack of cover charges add to the fun.
3. Down a pint at McSorley’s.
4. Sing karaoke in K-Town.
In the mood to belt out your favorite ’80s hits? Head to MK Karaoke in Koreatown (a micro-neighborhood that centers on 32nd Street between Fifth Avenue and Broadway), where you and your crew can claim a private room and choose from more than 100,000 songs to rock out to.
5. Squeeze in to the City’s smallest bar.
Bushwick’s Threesome Tollbooth—formerly a broom closet in an Italian restaurant— has just enough space for you, a date and a bartender, but it also affords you superlative bragging rights after you plan a date night here.
6. Try your hand at Not Your Standard Bingo.
Bingo nights at the stylish Standard Grill are less about Grandma’s night out and more about blue punch bowls, theme nights, drag queens and a Sunday evening game you won’t want to sit out.big
7. Sip a boozy slushie.
Take the frozen beverage of your childhood, add a dose of alcohol, and you’ve got an essential summer drink. Some of our favorites are at Bed-Stuy’s The Holler, Nolita’s Mother’s Ruin and Battery Park City’s Loopy Doopy, which serves an alcoholic ice pop in a glass of bubbly.
8. Order a dealer’s-choice cocktail.
Cocktail menus—who needs ’em? The expert cocktail craftsmen at the Lower East Side’s Attaboy will gladly mix up an off-menu quaff (spoiler alert: there is no menu here) according to a mood, flavor or spirit of your choice.
9. Party in a warehouse.
When in Brooklyn, party like the Brooklynites do. Hit up a converted warehouse space like Output in Williamsburg or Bushwick’s House of Yes. Both have plenty of room for big-name DJs, go-go dancers and 400 or so of your fellow revelers.
10. Sip a just-brewed beer.
What’s more refreshing than a cold beer? How about a cold beer freshly poured in a New York City microbrewery? Toast what’s brewing at Other Half in Carroll Gardens, Transmitter Brewing in Long Island City, Flagship Brewing Company in Staten Island or any of a dozen or so other spots.
11. Get in touch with your inner lumberjack.
Gowanus bar Kick Axe dares to pair drinking and axe throwing—after an experienced instructor shows you the blade-hurling ropes, of course. Call it exercise, call it competition or call it your new favorite way to pass the time at a bar.
12. Have dinner at the movies.
No more smuggling snacks and drinks into the theater. NYC’s dine-in cinemas, like Nitehawk in Williamsburg, let you order and chow down right in your seat. Just keep your crunching to a minimum during the dramatic scenes, please.
13. Take to the seas.
In other words, drink on a boat. Step aboard Tribeca’s Grand Banks, which turns a historic schooner into a floating boîte, or Greenpoint’s Brooklyn Barge to embrace your new nightlife goal as well as some of NYC’s best waterfront views.
14. Attend a jam session.
Smalls is a longstanding player on the New York City jazz scene, hosting a mix of up-and-coming and well-known musicians in its cozy West Village basement lounge. Pop in to one of the club’s late-night jam sessions to hear the magic happen.