Coolest places in New York to visit at night?
February 21, 2008 3:52 PM   Subscribe

What are the coolest, not incredibly expensive places in New York to visit at night? What's unusual and marvelous and memorable? Might include particularly interesting bars, might not. The ability to drink (or bring drinks) would be a plus, but not a necessity. Thanks.
posted by shivohum to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (19 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I'll toss in if you know particularly unique activities amenable to a group, that would be great, too.
posted by shivohum at 3:53 PM on February 21, 2008

A jazz club? I know some old-skool places like the Village Vanguard are still operating.
posted by gnutron at 3:56 PM on February 21, 2008

Like experimental theater? Bands? 8bit/electronica? Lounge acts? Political comedy? $5 Brooklyn Brewery Lagers or Pilsners ($4 wine, $3 cans of beer)?

The Tank!!!!

Disclosure: I volunteer and am preparing to be a manager on duty there.
posted by spec80 at 4:03 PM on February 21, 2008

When? Do you have a specific night or nights in mind?
posted by bink at 4:07 PM on February 21, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far.

The Tank sounds quite interesting.

Village Vanguard is cool, but perhaps slightly too well-known?

When? Do you have a specific night or nights in mind?

It's for the saturday of memorial day weekend. I'm throwing a little party with a dozen or so people, and my vision is sort of crawling from wondrous place/experience/activity to incredible place/experience/activity the whole night. Each item should wow people.

So I'm looking for candidates for inclusion into that...
posted by shivohum at 4:12 PM on February 21, 2008

I suggest you check out The Patriot in Tribeca. Its a great dive bar - the only place in Manhattan I've found where I can get a beer (albeit PBR) for $2.50. Plus they have a really fun staff and a killer jukebox. Highly recommend it.
posted by tundro at 4:38 PM on February 21, 2008

The (lady) bartenders at the Patriot are known for their intermittent performances that stretch the boundaries of perhaps requiring a cabaret license in addition to the standard liquor license. It can be fun, but just so's you know.
posted by tigerbelly at 4:46 PM on February 21, 2008

The Back Room is cool... it's a speakeasy that's hard to find, open a nondescript door and enter a hidden world kind of thing.

The upcoming waterfalls will probably be pretty cool.
posted by xo at 4:52 PM on February 21, 2008

If you haven't already, sign up for the mailinglist at Nonsense... they list all of the one of a kind art parties and weird immersion experiences at lofts, spontaneous parades, etc.
posted by xo at 4:53 PM on February 21, 2008

agh! The Patriot is nasty! There is another nasty bar/club, Lit, on 2nd ave. that is worth a look.

I'd advise asking again about a week before you arrive. At that time, mefites who live here in nyc will have a better sense of what might be going on. If there is a rubulad or motherfucker party, for example- both are sure to blow yer mind. Then grab the Voice, the L, and the Onion when you get here and see what is happening with the musics, films, art etc. This is the last season at Yankee Stadium, so any baseball people might want to take in a game, especially if there is a day game.

Feel free to mefimail me in late May, I'll give you a "wow 'em" sitrep.
posted by vrakatar at 4:58 PM on February 21, 2008

Flavorpill ( used to be just what you wanted, but even though it's gotten less "underground" as of late, it's still worth a look -- I still subscribe to find out about all the things I could do if I had the time...

Bargemusic ( is the best place to see music while floating on the East River with a visual backdrop of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline.

I second the idea of asking closer to the time. There's all sorts of stuff that just springs up. Also it's too bad that Lansky's closed, as that would have fit your bill.
posted by tractorfeed at 6:31 PM on February 21, 2008

If it ends up that Saturday is a Pulsewave night at The Tank, you should definitely stop by. I'd hook you up with beers. Well one Brooklyn Brew. We are volunteers after all :P Plus Pulsewave is sweet.

Just a few examples: TouchBoy, Random, Nullsleep
posted by spec80 at 9:58 PM on February 21, 2008

Only been to Manhattan once but I loved The Otherroom in the west village. Dark, cozy, great music, fun sort of steam-punk atmosphere. Extensive bottled beer selection (Old Rasputin... mmm) plus plenty of good wine, and all in all quite reasonable prices.
posted by fractalid at 11:14 PM on February 21, 2008

you are asking a bit too far ahead of time for a proper response.
like xo says, sign up for jeff stark's nonsense list, it would be your best resource for something unique that weekend. flavorpill is a decent guide but all things listed are established venues, art openings or regularly running parties with a guest dj. not something truly off the beaten path.

im agreeing with vrakatar also - if a rubulad is going on check it out- sign up for nonsense to find out where. motherfucker no longer happens but similar big parties can be found at studio b (where justine d from mf does the booking now) or similar clubs.

any type of music? want to sit and watch something or get up and dance? neighborhoods? vegan or pulled pork eating? specify a bit more and we can help.

if i had to make a plan right now, id suggest a hit list of (dare i say) williamsburg. you can walk from decent venue to bar to restaurant. catch a performance, some great djs, an opening or two, and maybe the city reliquary as well. all within walking distance, making the dragging of friends much easier.
posted by stachemaster at 11:19 PM on February 21, 2008

I've played the Tank and can second it. Great room & good people. There's a series there that I would recommend, in particular.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 1:02 AM on February 22, 2008

I haven't been there in about ten years, but the last time I went - at dusk - the Bar at the top of Rockefeller Plaza (next door to the Rainbow Room, NOT the Rainbow Room, but next door), was pretty spectacular. Just a great view downtown, generous drinks, not too expensive. There was a dress code, mind you.
posted by From Bklyn at 5:05 AM on February 22, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks so far for the answers -- very helpful!

any type of music? want to sit and watch something or get up and dance? neighborhoods? vegan or pulled pork eating? specify a bit more and we can help.

I guess I'm thinking participatory and fun for a reasonably-sized group, but not so much dancing. I've heard of live-band karaoke, for instance. That could be interesting. Or just strange music groups with strange audiences that make you wonder if you've stepped into another world.

Eating-wise, again, anything odd and interesting. Restaurants in abandoned subway stations, or nestled under bridges? I dunno. Just that sort of thing, maybe, if it's also good food. Heh.

Also, prices for these events should be reasonable.

Neighborhoods: any, but the more stuff that's closer together, the better, because that reduces travel time.

If it ends up that Saturday is a Pulsewave night at The Tank

Will definitely keep that in mind -- thanks!
posted by shivohum at 6:05 AM on February 22, 2008

It's a bit chilly, but the Staten Island Ferry is free, and you'll get a great view of the skyline & Statue of Liberty on the way there and back. Plus you can buy cheap beer at the snack bar.
posted by theseampsgoto11 at 6:44 AM on February 22, 2008

I went to Welcome to the Johnson's in, I believe, the Lower East Side a couple years ago. It's an interesting but low-key sort of place, like chilling in someone's the seventies. The beer was cheap, too.
posted by lunalaguna at 4:13 PM on February 22, 2008

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