Tendelle grew up between the US and Taiwan, and has also lived in Sao Paulo, Barcelona, and Amsterdam.
She’s lived and breathed the dance music scene since 2011, even traveling the world in search of the best electronic dance music experiences. She settled down in Amsterdam in 2015, where she works at the social network for nightlife enthusiasts, Party with a Local.
NYC Nightlife – General Info
In my 3 years working in New York City, I partied way too much! At the high (or low) point of my tenure there, I once went clubbing 7 nights in a row, and my Foursquare check-ins indicated that I had a 50-week streak of going to clubs. So yeah, this, plus being part of Party with a Local (app that connects people who want to party), makes me feel pretty qualified to write about NYC nightlife!
New York City is just about the most diverse city in the world, and likewise for nightlife, there is something for everyone, from upscale parties to drag parties. Bars and clubs are most highly concentrated in Meatpacking District, Midtown West (around 11th avenue), and Lower East Side – with Brooklyn being the up-and-coming area – but it being NYC, you can find bars and clubs all over the city.
To go out and back, New Yorkers generally hail one of the famous yellow cabs or take Uber. Bars close around 2am and clubs close at 4am. Bring ID to clubs and bars, as it is a must, and remember that in the US the drinking age is 21.
Most of the crowds you’ll see out are young professionals in their early 20s to late 30s, with the exception of the NYU area (East Village) where college students like to hang out. NYC is wealthy and sometimes materialistic place, so partying usually requires some money. Drinks in NYC are expensive – a cocktail ranges easily from $10-$15 in city bars. In a club, $15 mixed drinks are quite standard.
Here’s the low-down on the best clubs and bars in the City that Never Sleeps.
Best Bars in NYC
Best Dive Bar: Key Bar
Key Bar was my go-to neighborhood bar in the East Village with a nice ambiance.
Not only were the drinks cheap (unusual for NYC), but the happy hour “buy one get one free” deal lasts until 10pm. You get a voucher when you purchase your drink, so it’s awesome that you can redeem your drink even after happy hour or another day if you’d like.
Best Rooftop Bar: The Press Lounge
The Press Lounge is at the top floor of the INK48 Hotel, and has a phenomenal view of New York City skyline.
It has a 360 degrees view from its roof and a pool (but I don’t think people go into it). Cocktails are on the pricier side, though the bar is so busy that if you don’t get a drink, probably no one will hassle you or notice. It’s close to the clubs on Midtown West, like Hudson Terrace and Space, so it’s a nice place to visit before the party starts.
Best Speakeasy Bar: Apotheke
Speakeasies have been all the rage in NYC for awhile now – tucked away cocktail bars literally hidden behind walls or phone booths. Apotheke is in a dark, piss-smelling alley in Chinatown, with a nondescript door. The inside, however is a whole different world, where you can get delicious cocktails made by their expert mixologists. One of Manhattan’s true hidden gems!
Best EDM Clubs in NYC
Best Mega EDM Club: Space Ibiza NYC
Space is the Ibiza mega-club that has been voted top club of the world by DJMag too many times to count.
It opened its NYC location in 2014, filling a much-needed gap in NYC’s EDM scene since Pacha closed its doors. From Trance, to Techno, to House, Space invites the hottest talent in the EDM scene every week and is sometimes open until later than 8am!
Best Upscale EDM Club: Marquee
Marquee was my favorite club to hit up when I lived in the City, especially on Wednesday and Saturday nights.
It’s a gorgeous, Vegas-style club that have been a hot spot in NYC ever since it was renovated in 2013 and started inviting big-name electronic music DJs. Make sure you follow the dress code and dress to impress; as the door can be tough and cover can be expensive. However, the nice thing is that to guarantee entry you can buy a ticket online (usually $20).
Best (Brooklyn) Techno Club: Output
For serious techno heads, Output has been a blessing for the New York metro area in the past couple of years.
Set among in the warehouses of Brooklyn, Output is similar to Berghain in Berlin in concept: it prohibits cell phones on the dance floor and it “welcomes everyone but is not for everyone”. It’s a space with innovative, heavy music for techno partiers to dance all night long.
Alternative Clubbing in NYC
Best Hookah Bar/Club: Le Souk
This was my go-to weeknight spot, with popping parties even on a Tuesday/Wednesday night. The music is on the commercial side. The only thing is that it’s quite small and narrow, so if you are going with a few friends it is nice to get a table with hookah so that you have a place to sit.
Best Alternative Party: Quiet Events Silent Disco
You receive a pair of headphones when you enter, and they always have three live DJs. You listen to the music with your headphones and can switch the channels around according to your taste in music.
Or you can take your headphones off and observe your fellow party animals dance in silence. They throw events in unexpected locations all over the city – subway stops, Bryant Park, pub crawls, and more. Definitely one of the coolest random things to do in the city.
Best Asian Nightclub: Circle NYC
New York City is the melting pot of all cultures around the world, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that different ethnic groups have their own clubs too!
Circle is NYC’s long-standing premier Asian (Korean) club, and it was by far my most-frequented club in my time in the City – because, well, it was so damn fun! If you’ve ever wanted to see a club filled with only Asians in NYC, then Circle is your spot. However, if you’re not Asian, you’re probably not getting in.
Best Party Brunch: Bagatelle
New Yorkers can party any time of the day. One of the most peculiar activities I partook in was brunch clubbing. No, this is not merely a “bottomless mimosa brunch” type event – it’s actually full-blown clubbing with disco balls and skimpy dancers in the middle of the day. It is undoubtedly really fun, but when you stumble out of the club at 5pm, blinking & dazed by the sunlight, trying to give directions to the taxi driver on your way home who is totally judging you for being drunk in the day time… it really makes you ponder your life decisions.
Best Summer Parties: Governor’s Island Parties
There are EDM parties all summer long on Governor’s Island, my favorite outdoor venue in NYC (there aren’t that many outdoor venues to begin with).
You take a free ferry from Battery Park, which takes you to Governor’s Beach Club. Here you can party on their beach, with fantastic music, to the backdrop of the breathtaking NYC skyline. It’s one of these moments that make me love the City.
Best Drunk Food in NYC
1) Chicken and Rice
The Chicken and Rice “Halal Guys” food trucks on 53rd and 6th is a New York must. You can go at any hour of the day, but it’s quite a sight to behold with hundreds of people in the line even at 4am. It’s the staple drunk food of New York City.
2) Korea Town
Many of the restaurants of Korea Town are open throughout the night, catering to inebriated customers. My personal favorite is Kunjip. There’s nothing better than a sizzling pot of Sundubu to satisfy my hunger after a big night out!
So there you have it, nightlife in New York City… Let this article guide you but not restrict you, and most importantly, have fun!