Nightlife in New York

Check out these suggestions for a night out on the town in New York City, from pre-dinner drinks to late-night dancing.

Jun 25, 2009
Raines Law Room, New York, New York
The lounge at The Raines Law Room is the perfect place for after-dinner drinks.
Photography courtesy William Taylor

Updated September 21, 2012—The Big Apple’s drinking and dining scene is as red-hot as ever. The Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel New York, offers up suggestions for a night on the town, including both the trendy and the timeless. You can sleep later.

Pre-Dinner Drinks

Bemelmans Bar, 35 East 76th Street
A classic New York City establishment is still a favourite with everyone from locals to glitterati. Maybe it’s the stylish Art Deco interior, the 24-karat-gold ceiling, the murals by Ludwig Bemelmans (of Madeline series fame), the fact that you can finally eat in the bar, or the occasional Woody Allen sighting. We believe it’s the classic cocktails mixed by old-school bartenders that keep them coming back for more.

Pegu, 77 West Houston Street
Named after a British Officer’s Club in Burma, Pegu is a second floor, dimly lit, romantic, classy joint with equally classy cocktails. Co-owner Audrey Saunders earned her mixologist stripes uptown at Bemelmans (our other choice for pre-dinner drinks) and it shows in details from choice of glassware to the cocktail “condiments” on every table:bitters, lemon and lime juices, and simple syrup.


The Modern, 9 West 53rd Street
If you don’t have time to go to a museum, you can have a great meal in one. The dining room here looks into MoMa’s sculpture garden, the food is French but served on Danish modern settings, some of which are in the museum’s permanent collection, and the people-watching is top-notch.

Bouley, 163 Duane Street
The interior is in polar opposition to that at The Modern, but the food gets consistent rave reviews. Perhaps that’s because, unlike many other star chefs, David Bouley is often found cooking in his own restaurant. There are also the complimentary dishes that frequently find their way to diners’ tables and the parting gift of lemon cake for each guest.

Post-Dinner Drinks

Macao Trading Company, 311 Church Street (between Lispenard and Walker)
Look for an awning with no sign but a red light, part the velvet curtains and find yourself in a space inspired by the red lantern district in 1940s Macau. The crowd is sophisticated, stylishly dressed and ordering specialty cocktails with names like Drunken Dragon’s Milk and Yellow Fever. Open until 4:00 am.

The Raines Law Room, 48 West 17th Street
Behind an unmarked door in the Flatiron district, this cosy nightspot serves up handcrafted cocktails in a cool, speakeasy atmosphere. Colder months draw crowds to the lounge where a wood-burning fireplace illuminates the dark wood and velvet décor. In warmer seasons, step into the candlelit herb garden for quieter conversation. Wherever you are, just ring your electric bell for service.


1Oak, 453 West 17th Street
While not 100% guaranteed, there is a pretty good chance you’ll have a celeb sighting here. That is, if you can get in. There’s no cover, but a tough door policy, so plan on wearing something ultra fabulous and bringing only your most beautiful friends. (Or checking with the Concierge desk at the Hotel. They have the connections to magically part the velvet ropes for Hotel guests).

Cielo, 18 Little West 12th Street
Make no mistake: This small but still-hot spot is all about dancing (on a sunken dance floor no less) and all about house music. Devotees love the seasoned world-class deejays that know how to read a crowd and the sound system by Funktion One, which many say is the best in the city.


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