Click through for the 29 coolest NYC hot spots—and what to wear to each of 'em.
When you're looking to dazzle visiting guests (or, ahem, Instagram followers), here's your opportunity to show them bright lights, big city without heading for the chaos of Times Square. Show these venues you can hold your own with a bold patterned pant, a tee from your favorite band, and a killer pair of heels.
With vintage arcade games, a stellar playlist, and an extensive beer and cocktail menu, it's no surprise the crowd at Barcade is as easy-going and interesting as the space itself.
Barcade, 388 Union Avenue (between Powers and Ainslee streets); Brooklyn; 718-302-6464.
Feeling the sand beneath your winter boots is a strangely awesome feeling, but so is everything else in this Williamsburg surf shrine. The food is amazing, the drinks come in tiki glasses, and vintage surf videos play via the bar's projector.
Surf Bar, 139 North 6th Street (at Bedford Avenue); Brooklyn; 718-302-4441.
Drinking and dining at the movies has been perfected (and decidedly elevated) at Nitehawk Cinema. We're especially looking forward to the midnight horror showings throughout November.
Nitehawk Cinema, 136 Metropolitan Avenue (between Wythe and Berry streets); Brooklyn; 718-384-3980 .
If the bright lights and sometimes-cheesy decorations aren't enough to reel you into this Chinatown dive, the cheap drinks will. Their menu is as diverse as the crowd, with everything (literally) from a cheeseburger to pork dumplings.
Tropical 128,128 Elizabeth Street (between Broome and Grand streets) 212-925-8219.
The Christmas light decorations and perfect Indian food make this BYOB staple the ultimate wacky go-to for visiting guests (not to mention an Instagram photo sesh waiting to happen).
Royal Bangladesh, 93 1st Avenue (at 6th Street); 212-674-6209.
RGB Nail Polish in Cobalt, $16, available at Otte; King Tuff Tank Top, $20, available at Hello Merch; Topshop Dandy Wallpaper Trousers, $80, available at Topshop; Zara High Heeled Court Shoe, $89.90, available at Zara; Mango Boucle Tuxedo Blazer, $129.99, available at Mango;
Photo: Courtesy of Tropical 128
Date Night Late Night
Mix it up for a later date with a tough take on a pretty look. Add some edge to a flirty dress with a babelicious leather jacket and a great pair of booties.
This Soho gem boats a menu full of seafood, sandwiches, and other American (not Dutch, ironically) goodies. Go for the inventive menu and stay for the fully stocked bar — if the date goes well, that is.
The Dutch, 131 Sullivan Street (at Prince Street); 212-677-6200.
Choosing a late-night date spot can be tricky, but a low-key, high-style space like Walter's is the perfect venue (not to mention it has the perfect lighting) for a budding relationship.
Walter's, 166 Dekalb Avenue (at Fort Greene Park); Brooklyn; 718-488-7800.
The JakeWalk is definitely one of the more romantic spots on the list, so be aware and be prepared. With decadent fondues and a dimly-lit bar area, feel free to try a bold lip in this Carroll Gardens hotspot.
The JakeWalk, 282 Smith Street (at Sackett Street); Brooklyn; 347-599-0294.
Building on Bond
Wine in Mason jars and occasional live music in a warm, neighborhood environment your thing? Cosy up to your date at Building on Bond.
Building on Bond , 112 Bond Street (at Pacific Street); Brooklyn; 347-853-8687.
Acne Rita Leather Jacket, $1200, available at La Garconne; Cynthia Rowley Turtle Necklace, $875, available at Cynthia Rowley; Cole Haan Wool Back Seam Tights, $40, available at Cole Haan; Joie Embellished Elastic Waist Dress, $378, available at Intermix; Rupert Sanderson Osprey High Heel Platform Booties, $1,095, available at Rupert Sanderson.
Photo: Courtesy of The Dutch
Nice and Easy
We get it — it's getting cold out there and sometimes you just can't bring yourself to dress up. Feeling under the weather, tired, or just really don't care? Go for a look that's cute and comfortable with a great beanie and a cute pair of sneaks. Pants are hard to put on anyway, so you might as well make them the focal point of the outfit.
Candle Cafe West
This newly-opened extension of Candle Cafe East serves an environmentally-conscious customer with eco-cocktails and organic fair. Order one of their "Farmacy" drinks like the Flu and Cold Fighter for a stuffy nose and make yourself at home.
Candle Cafe West, 2427 Broadway (between 89th and 90th streets); 212-472-0970.
The Thai place everyone is raving about is just as good as they say. Make this cool kid sanctuary your first stop of the night.
Lovely Day, 196 Elizabeth Street (between Prince and Spring streets); 212-925-3310.
The Ear Inn
Housed in an 1817 Federal townhouse, this bar reminds us of our crazy aunt's living room in the best way possible. The friendly staff, generous drinks, and makeshift outdoors area make this spot one of our faves on the West side. Just remember to leave your iPhone behind —the Ear is a cell-free zone.
The Ear Inn, 236 Spring Street (between Greenwich and Washington streets); 212-226-9060.
Black Iron Burger
Arguably makers of one of the best burgers in the city, this tiny LES joint is often bursting at the seams with fun-loving (and cute!) customers.
Black Iron Burger, 540 East 5th Street (at Avenue B); 646-439-0276.
Despite the occasional long line on the weekend, the quick service and out-of-this-world-amazing Chinese food makes this Pell Street haunt our weekly habit.
Joe's Shanghai, 9 Pell Street (between Bowery and Catherine Street); 212-233-8888.
T Alexander Wang Linen Stripe Tee, $98, available at Otte; Brixton Heist Beanie, $22, available at Smith + Butler; Nike Blazer High Vintage Sneakers, $114.34, available at ASOS; Surface to Air Short Cut Jacket, $620, available at Surface to Air; Blank Denim White Vegan Leather Pants, $98, available at Piperlime.
For The Late-Night Adventurer
Show off your adventurous side with one of these nightclub alternatives. Let your outfit reflect your boldness with a quirky accessory and colored leather pants.
Death and Co. This spooky speakeasy may have a wait when you arrive, but all patrons agree the unusually helpful service and expert cocktails are well worth it once inside.
Death and Co., 433 East 6th Street (between 1st Avenue and Avenue A); 212-388-0882.
Do or Dine
Their inventive menu (which includes their now-infamous foie gras donuts) brought them attention, but Do or Dine has maintained its street cred through consistently good food and service. Careful not to miss this gem, the sign can be a tough one to spot.
Do or Dine, 1108 Bedford Avenue (between Gates and Lexington avenues); Brooklyn; 718-684-2290.
This Brooklyn lounge is good any day of the week for good, basic drinks, a healthy variety of DJs, or just posing in one of their cute chairs (cheeeese).
The Flat, 308 Hooper Street (between Broadway and South 5th Street); Brooklyn; 718-599-5152.
Arlene's Grocery Kareoke Night
A live band, hardcore karaoke artists (that's a thing, right?), and a packed house — what more could you ask for?
Arlene's Grocery Kareoke Night, 95 Stanton Street (between Ludlow and Orchard streets); 212-358-1633.
Salt & Fat
Warning: we do not recommend visiting this Sunnyside rest without trying everything on the menu. From bacon popcorn to oxtail terrine, you may not need that drink after all...
Salt & Fat, 41-16 Queens Boulevard (between 41st and 42nd streets); Sunnyside; 718-433-3702.
This literal hole in the wall may hold the record for the longest line at a BYOB joint, ah, but we love it anyway.
Kuma Inn, 113 Ludlow St (between Rivington and Delancey streets); 212-353-8866.
Home Sweet Home
With its quirky decor and master list of DJs, Home Sweet Home is the pinnacle of a hipster hangout — and we love every minute of it.
Home Sweet Home, 131 Chrystie Street (between Delancey and Broome streets); 212-226-9134.
Lipstick Queen in Sinner Coral, $20, available at Tinseltown;Rebecca Taylor Sequin Cami Dress, $197.50 (was $395), available at Rebecca Taylor; All Saints Biker Pant, $495, available at All Saints; Nicholas Kirkwood Feather Boot, $1,390, available at Elizabeth Charles. Marc by Marc Jacobs Goodbye Columbus Top Handle Bag, $548, available at Shopbop.
Photo: Courtesy of Death and Co.
Girls Night Din
Where to go with the girls... when you're looking for guys. Go big or go home in a bright feminine dress, funky pumps, and a dainty bag that won't weigh you down.
While we never need an excuse to visit Miss Lily's, nothing gets us ready for a night out quite like the record-covered walls. You won't be disappointed with anything you order, but take our suggestion and try the tropical sangria if you're feeling choosey.
Miss Lily's, 132 West Houston Street (at Sullivan Street); 646-588-5375.
The Rusty Knot
Happy hour may be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., but The Rusty Knot stays cheery well throughout the night.
The Rusty Knot, 425 West Street (at West 11th Street); 212-645-5668.
Never say never in this West Village mainstay. Loud and packed, this dive has all the makings for an epic girls' night out.
Automatic Slim's, 733 Washington Street (at Bank Street); 214-645-8660.
This semi-triangular area of Greenpoint houses Enid's, Matchless, and Manhattan Inn — all fun places to dance and all swarming with (definitely sweaty, probably skater) dudes. Matchless plays host to a more subdued group of drinkers and a healthy menu of unhealthy bar snacks while Manhattan Inn and Enid's have a slightly more club-like atmosphere full of patrons ready to dance the night away.
Enids, 560 Manhattan Avenue (at Driggs Avenue); Brooklyn; no phone. Matchless, 557 Manhattan Avenue (at Driggs Avenue); Brooklyn; 718-383-5333; Manhattan Inn, 632 Manhattan Avenue (at Nassau Avenue); Brooklyn; 718-383-0885.
Roberta's reigns supreme in the Bushwick dining scene. With communal tables and a loyal clientele, this pizza place takes the
Roberta's, 261 Moore Street (at Bogart Street); Brooklyn; 718-417-1118.
Tribeca Grand Hotel
While Tribeca Grand is no stranger to hosting parties, lately it's been hosting an impressive DJ lineup. Grab a snack (a lobster slider snack, that is) in the hotel lounge and move to the Church Bar where the party really starts.
Tribeca Grand Hotel, 2 Sixth Avenue (at Walker Street); 212-519-6600.
House of Harlow 1960 Tilly Haircalf Clutch, $250, available at Shopbop; Asos Luxury Spike Gem Earrings, $31.66, available at ASOS; Ted Baker Edella Collar Dress, $295, available at Ted Baker; Miu Miu Suede Pumps, $690, available at Miu Miu.
Photo: Courtesy of Miss Lily's