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Nightlife in New York

New York is famous for its jazz clubs, including Blue Note in Greenwich Village. The Meatpacking District has stylish bars and clubs like Cielo. The eclectic entertainment in the East Village includes lively poetry at Nuyorican Poet's Cafe. Don't forget the suburbs: Brooklyn has orchestras and operas at Brooklyn Academy of Music. Bars and clubs are open late – always tip the bartender.

Robin Williams onstage at the Comedy Cellar, New York. Courtesy of the Comedy Cellar

Bars

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  1. 1. Employees Only - Bars

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    Look for the glowing red PSYCHIC sign. Employees Only goes to great lengths to re-create a 1920s speak-easy, complete with tin ceiling and bartenders in period costume. But who needs gimmicks when the cocktails are this good? Drinks are made with the freshest ingredients and top-label liquors, some of them with homemade herb infusions. There’s a full menu, but skip the entrees and order a few of the very good appetizers to accompany your drinks.

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    Address

    510 Hudson St, New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/242-3021

    Website

    Employees Only

  2. 2. Barramundi - Bars

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    This fun, funky lounge has a friendly staff, daily 6-9pm happy hours, and a settled-in feel for a neighborhood overrun by hipster copycats. Come on a weeknight to snare a table in the little corner of heaven out back. A fireplace makes Barramundi almost as appealing on chilly nights.

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    Address

    67 Clinton Street, New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/529-6999

    Website

    Barramundi

  3. 3. The Campbell Apartment - Bars

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    This unique, swank lounge is hidden away on the southwest mezzanine level inside Grand Central Terminal. It was created out of the former office of 1920s mogul John W. Campbell, who transformed the space into a pre-Renaissance palace worthy of a Medici. The high-ceilinged room has been restored to its full Florentine glory, and serves wines and champagnes by the glass, single-malt scotches, and haute appetizers to a well-heeled commuting crowd. Call ahead before heading over, as the space is sometimes closed for private parties. No sportswear allowed.

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    Address

    15 Vanderbilt Ave, New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/953-0409

  4. 4. McSorley’s Old Ale House - Bars

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    McSorley’s Old Ale House  is over 140 years old and—and while Pete’s is the oldest tavern in New York, McSorley’s claims to be the oldest “saloon.” If there is indeed a difference, it probably doesn’t matter. McSorley’s is still thick with the feel of yesteryear. The eight-ounce mugs of either light or dark ale are charming, even if they are mostly foam. These days the saloon is usually packed with dudes in ball caps, so if you want a more low-key experience, aim for a weekday afternoon beer break.

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    Address

    15 E. 7th St, New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/474-9148

  5. 5. d.b.a. - Bars

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    It’s a beer and scotch lover’s paradise, with a massive drink menu on giant chalkboards. D.B.A. specializes in British-style cask-conditioned ales (the kind that you pump by hand) and stocks a phenomenal collection of single-malt scotches. 

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    Address

    113 N 7th St, Brooklyn, USA

    Telephone

    (212) 475-5097

    Website

    d.b.a.

Clubs

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  1. 6. Bill's Place - Clubs

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    Imagine hearing old-school, live jazz in your living room. That’s the intimacy behind the Bill’s Place experience. Bill is Bill Saxton, a jazz saxophonist extraordinaire and a Harlem legend. Saxton was a Friday night regular for many years at St. Nick’s Pub and has played at clubs throughout Harlem and downtown. In 2005 he opened his own club in a brownstone on West 133rd Street. 

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    Cost

    Admission $20

    Address

    148 W. 133rd St, New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/281-0777

    Website

    Bill's Place

  2. 7. Cielo - Clubs

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    At this longtime Meatpacking District fave, you’ll find a great sound system pumping house and techno from some of the world’s best DJs. There’s a sunken dance floor with seating wrapped around it, a smoking patio out back, and lots of Wall Street types in untucked button-downs cruising for someone to dance with. Covers are usually $25.

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    Address

    18 Little W. 12th St, New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/645-5700

    Website

    Cielo

  3. 8. Blue Note - Clubs

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    Blue Note Jazz Club, New York. Photo by Dino Perrucci, courtesy of Blue Note

    This Village classic once attracted some of the biggest names in jazz to its intimate setting: Dave Brubeck, Ray Charles, Manhattan Transfer, Dr. John, Chick Corea, David Sanborn, and others. But like a lot of NYC venues, the Blue Note now has slipped into a bit more routine programming and prices, with two shows nightly and up to $45 per ticket. The sound and sightlines are still good, but the charm is evaporating.

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    Address

    131 W. 3rd St, New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/475-8592

    Website

    Blue Note

  4. 9. Bar 13 - Clubs

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    This unpretentious, two-story club is a great place to dance the night away (with a bonus rooftop garden to cool off). It’s stylish but unpretentious, with a steady roster of fun weekly parties. The nightly parties run the gamut from disco and ’80s new wave, reggae, progressive house, and trance, to poetry slams and performance art. 

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    Address

    35 E. 13th St, New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/979-6677

    Website

    Bar 13

Entertainment

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  1. 10. Comedy Cellar - Entertainment

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    Robin Williams onstage at the Comedy Cellar, New York. Courtesy of the Comedy Cellar

    This intimate subterranean club is the venue of choice for stand-up fans in the know, thanks to the best, most consistently impressive lineups in the business. There are two shows a night, each with new and revolving comics like Darrell Hammond, Godfrey, Gregg Rogell, and Ben Bailey.

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    Address

    117 MacDougal St, New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/254-3480

    Website

    Comedy Cellar

  2. 11. Nuyorican Poets Café - Entertainment

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    For more than 30 years, the Nuyorican has presented poetry, drama, music, and film. The raucous, energetic Poetry Slams (the cafe fields a championship Slam Team) present poetry as a sport: Aspiring stars show up and throw down their work in front of mixed crowd and three teams of audience judges, who score them on the poetry and presentation. 

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    Address

    236 E. 3rd St, New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/505-8183

    Website

  3. 12. 92nd Street Y - Entertainment

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    This legendary non-profit community and cultural center offers a phenomenal line up of top-rated cultural happenings—there’s classical, folk, jazz, and world music; cabaret; lyric theater; readings; comedy; workshops; and plenty more. Great classical performers—Robert Levin, Peter Serkin, Christian Tetzlaff, András Schiff, and Pinchas Zukerman—all perform regularly. 

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    Address

    1395 Lexington Ave, New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/415-5500

  4. 13. Metropolitan Opera - Entertainment

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    The Metropolitan Opera ranks first in the world for its full productions of the classic repertory and a schedule packed with world-class grand sopranos and tenors. Millions are spent on fabulous stagings, and the venue itself is a wonder of acoustics. Whatever is on the schedule, the quality will be second to none. 

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    Address

    Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/362-6000

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