New York City nightlife radiates glamour and sophistication, offering about as many ways to spend your nights as there are activities to keep you entertained during the day. To help you get started, here is a selection of the places where you can mingle with the ‘it’ crowd in lavishly decorated and fashionable venues, as well as bars distinctive for their cocktails, views and atmosphere. While partying and lounging New York-style is a must, don’t leave town without seeing a Broadway show or a world-class performance at Lincoln Center. These are our picks of the best things to do at night in New York.
Salon de Ning at The Peninsula
There are many rooftop bars in Manhattan, but this one is a true gem with stunning views over Fifth Avenue and the Manhattan skyline. Located atop The Peninsula hotel, Salon de Ning has recently been refurbished in true Oriental style, reflecting the glamour and style of 1930s Shanghai, the ‘Paris of the East.’ Salon de Ning is one of Manhattan’s finest venues for an evening sundowner, whether you’re sitting at the beautifully furnished bar or outside on the spectacular terrace. For further exclusivity, the terrace is available for private dining or events.
A bar for those who are serious about their cocktails, Pegu Club turns out carefully crafted concoctions with the utmost pride and delicacy. On the drinks menu you’ll find many of the old classics perfected and renewed by Pegu’s expert mixologists. If, however, you are after something in particular, ask one of the mixologists, and they’ll be happy to try their hand at something new. The décor is modeled on a 19th-century British officers club in Burma and thus features a mix of Colonial and East Asian styles, making for a very relaxed, yet exclusive setting in which to sip extraordinary creations.
Chamber Magic at Lotte New York Palace
Prepare to be amazed at the Lotte New York Palace hotel as the “Millionaires’ Magician” Steve Cohen performs his tricks. Originally held at the Waldorf Astoria New York, Cohen’s show has moved to a new location but includes the same magic favorites such as the mind-reading “think-a-drink” teakettle and sleight of hand. Cohen currently entertains patrons in the Madison Room five times per week, with all guests dressing in cocktail attire for an elevated experience. October 2017 marked his 5,000th performance, outrunning many of New York’s memorable shows to bring 90 minutes of magic to an eager audience. Perfect for anyone traveling with younger teens, Chamber Magic is designed to be enjoyed by patrons ages 12 and up.
New York’s theater district offers a sweeping selection of elaborate musicals and award-winning plays. There are about 40 theaters scattered in a region bound by West 41st and West 52nd Streets, between Seventh and Ninth Avenues. See the hottest musicals like Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen at the larger theaters, or try Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theaters in other parts of the city for a smaller venue.
Lincoln Center is a leading performing arts center, uniting on one campus 12 of the finest performing arts organizations in New York, including the New York City Ballet, the New York City Opera, The Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic and Jazz at Lincoln Center. This landmark New York institution has undergone a $1.2-billion redevelopment project and now features restaurants (notably Lincoln), the rooftop Illumination Lawn and a revamped Alice Tully Hall.
Top of The Standard
The Standard hotel’s 18th floor has recently been refurbished to create this fabulously over-the-top bar featuring a hot tub, rooftop lounge and floor-to-ceiling windows gazing across the Hudson. Access to Top of the Standard is via a non-assuming service elevator. Sections of the floor are transparent, just so you don’t forget that you’re 18 floors above the Meatpacking District. Visitors to this hotspot are typically highly fashionable or famous, but most of the time they are both.
For stand-up comedy in New York City, it’s hard to beat the Comedy Cellar. The iconic club holds ticketed shows throughout the week, and comedy legends are known to frequently drop in for a set when they’re in Manhattan. Greats like Marc Maron, Ray Romano, Chris Rock and Louis CK have all spent time on the Comedy Cellar stage. Have a few cocktails and a lot of laughs here.
Madison Square Garden
Inarguably the most famous venue in all of New York , Madison Square Garden (most often referred to as simply “The Garden” or “MSG”) is an enormous arena that holds major concerts and sporting events. It’s home to the New York Knicks basketball team and has had Billy Joel in residency for monthly concerts. The biggest musicians make a point to book tour dates as MSG, and it’s not uncommon for famous guests to be brought on stage mid-concert. The arena shape means that the show can be observed from any point in the venue, but the suites provide the most luxurious experience.
The Polo Bar
Designed in classic New York style, the equestrian-inspired Polo Bar is a testament to the stately Ralph Lauren fashion house. Known for its custom blend Ralph’s Coffee by day, evenings at the Polo Bar involves sipping a classic cocktail in a sumptuous leather seat. Choose from a variety of cognac, apéritif and cocktails like the Mint Julep Smash. Seasonal dishes served here include crab cakes and corned beef as well as the signature Polo Bar Burger.
King Cole Bar
Thought to be the birthplace of the Red Snapper (more commonly known as a Bloody Mary), The King Cole Bar at St. Regis New York is a cozy and sophisticated spot to spend an evening in Manhattan. Celebrities from Marilyn Monroe to John Lennon have sat beneath the famous Old King Cole mural to enjoy a cocktail at this refined venue.