explore New york, USA

Bars in New York, Usa

The only thing about New York City that changes faster than the restaurants is the bar scene so like an original local you have to visit bars in New York. 

The following is a general overview of the popular neighborhoods for a night out.

Greenwich Village – Probably the best neighborhood to go if you are in town for just a brief period. It is the equivalent somewhat of a Latin Quarter, full of locals of all ages, especially students attending NYU. There are many bars and jazz clubs around Bleecker Street and MacDougal, as well as near lower Seventh and Sixth Avenues.

Chelsea – Lots of clubs and a thriving gay scene along Eighth Ave between 20th & 30th Streets. There is a mix of bars and of course not every bar is a gay bar. West Chelsea (27th-29th Streets, west of 10th Ave) is loaded with clubs. If you are European and looking for a discotheque, this is where you want to be.

The Meatpacking District – Trendier bars and clubs and some expensive restaurants. Located between Greenwich Village and Chelsea, around 14th St and 9th Ave.

The Lower East Side – Formerly the dingy alternative to the West Village, but has become trendier today. Ludlow Street is crawling with bars and small music venues in an area that may remind you of the Bastille in Paris. Rivington and Stanton Street are also viable options. The area has experienced an influx of hipsters in recent years.

The East Village – Lots of bars located on Second Ave around 2nd St. There is also a sizeable cluster of Japanese bars, which are great fun, located on St. Mark’s between 2nd and 3rd.

Alphabet City – East of the East Village, this area was once a dangerous drug-addled hell hole; today it is cleaned up and loaded with bars. Heroin dens have been replaced with brunch places!

Murray Hill – More hip with the 30-year-old crowd. The area around 29th St and Lexington Avenue has many Indian restaurants, but within three blocks there are plenty of watering holes, including a couple of fireman bars and an all Irish whiskey pub.

Times Square – A very touristy area. The Marriot Marquis at Broadway & 45th has a revolving bar on the 50th floor. The Peninsula Hotel at 5th Avenue & 55th has probably the classiest rooftop bar in New York. The Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center is often closed and has a dress code. The Hotel Metro on 5th Avenue & 35th also has a rooftop bar with fantastic, stress free, views of the Empire State Building. Very few New Yorkers would be caught dead at these places.

Williamsburg – One stop into Brooklyn on the L train, this is the capital of NYC’s hipster scene. There are plenty of bars along Bedford Avenue. Many of New York’s small music venues are located here.

Woodside -This Queens neighborhood is a great for happy hour and drinking festivities before a Mets baseball game. There are several Irish pubs by the Woodside train station.

Astoria – This Queens neighborhood, 25 minutes from Times Square on the N/W trains, is home to Queens’ Bohemian Hall Beer Garden, near the Astoria Boulevard subway stop. This bar, popular in the summer, covers an entire city block, is walled and filled with trees, indoor and outdoor tables and a cool crowd, and serves great Czech and German beer.

Bay Ridge – This Brooklyn neighborhood has one of the highest concentrations of bars in the city! The neighborhood has been generally Irish/Italian and does not have the hipster/yuppie scene common in New York.

Park Slope – This Brooklyn neighborhood is the yuppie capital of New York and you are more likely to find a tea house serving soy milk than a bar here. Young couples pushing strollers is a common sight. There is some low-key nightlife, although in recent years this has been on the decline. A number of lesbian bars are located in this area.

St. George – This Staten Island neighborhood has a few bars located south of the ferry terminal. Make a left when you leave the boat. Tourists take the trip on the ferry every year and never get off. Flashship brewery is a 5 minute walk from the ferry with has many locally crafted beers. Look for live music at the Cargo Cafe or Karl’s Klipper, both located on Bay Street w/ phenomenal views of the Verrazano Bridge.

Last call is 4AM, although many establishments will let you stay beyond that, especially in the outer boroughs. It is not uncommon to be locked in a bar after 4AM so people can keep drinking.

Liquor Stores

In New York State, wine and liquor are sold at liquor stores, and are not sold at delis or supermarkets. Beer cannot be bought 4AM-8AM on Sunday morning.

Liquor, wine and beer are almost always sold to you with a paper or plastic bag. Keep this bag on the alcohol. It is frowned upon to carry alcohol openly in the streets, as it is assumed you might be consuming it.

Local Beers

There are various local beers to try. Chelsea Brewing Company, Flagship Brewery, Heartland Brewery, and Brooklyn Brewery are worth a visit.

As in most of the US, the legal drinking age is 21 so keep this in mind when you want to visit bars in New York.