THE TOP TEN Lounges in New York City
A good lounge is a mix between an entertainment venue, social club and bar, which allows people who want to mingle as well as couples who only have eyes for each other to have a good time. Some offer live entertainment, a diverse food menu, and a wide selection of signature cocktails, while others rely on a DJ, snacks, and serve just beer and wine. Either way, if customers keep coming, they must be doing something right. Presented in alphabetical order, here are the top ten lounges in New York.
A good lounge is a mix between an entertainment venue, social club and bar, which allows people who want to mingle as well as couples who only have eyes for ... more
8 Stuyvesant St., New York, NY 10003 / 212-777-5415
Finding the unlikely and curiously diagonal Stuyvesant Street in the East Village on which this tiny but romantic bar exists won't be your only challenge of the evening. Head up the stairs, tiptoe through the Japanese restaurant, et voila, you're there. The next test is making sure to obey the rules at this candlelit secret bar: only groups of four or less will be seated, no standing---the rules go on and on. But play by the rules and we promise this little Japanese-inspired haven will become your cocktail heaven.
228 W. Broadway, New York, NY 10013 / 212-431-3433
Not just for amateur nights. Come for the sparkly stuff, stay for the velvet armchairs, leave with the hiccups, and wake up the next day with a hangover. Be sure to bring a wallet with lots of padding, too.
TriBeCa Grand Hotel, 2 Ave. of the Americas, New York, NY 10013 / 212-519-6677
TriBeCa Grand's renovated Church Lounge is a hip destination for a chic crowd. Its turn-of-the-century design makes for a comfy, quaint atmosphere with warm woods and neutral tones adding to the candlelit ambience. The fact that it is within the TriBeCa Grand's giant atrium sets it apart from most low-ceiling lounges.
37 W. 19th St., New York, NY 10011 / 212-727-7741
Drinkers salivating for the perfectly concocted cocktail will do a belly flop in this lounge which has enough Art Deco charm and old-school boozing magic to take anyone back to an era when martinis ruled. Pass through an arched candlelit walkway (flanked by bar stools) to the ancient bar counter for pro mixologist Julie Reiner's creations. Think you've had a good cocktail before? Think again. Fresh organic fruit (from the world over), homemade syrups and top-shelf booze go into the classic cocktails here. Smartly dressed thirty- and forty-somethings, long-stemmed glasses in hand, get cozy in leather booths.
43 W. 26th St., New York, NY 10010 / 212-683-1440
Don't be fooled by this theme bar: named for the exclusive Swiss Alpine town where gazillionaires come to look fabulous in designer skiwear, this Flatiron lounge might actually be the least pretentious (and the only) Swiss Alpine lounge in New York City. After work steam-blowers and young professionals chill on the Swiss-made wooden furniture which inadvertently resembles ski lift benches (and is assembled with no nuts or bolts), sipping cocktails while ancient ski films flash on the bare white walls. And while the spacious high-ceilinged front room may be devoid of Alpine minutiae, the private back room (which can be reserved by anyone, no deposit or bottle service necessary) is decked out in kitschy ski photos, retro wood paneling and cozy couches.
Hudson Bar & Books
636 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014 / 212-229-2642
Don't mistake this popular West Village bar for a place to get some quiet reading done. The quasi-posh crowd is more likely to read the long wine and cocktail list than pull a tome off the wall. The dimly lit one-room bar---bedecked with books from floor to ceiling and crammed with comfy chairs---isn't the most reasonably priced place in town to get a drink, but where else can you sip on a glass of vino, puff on a cigarette (yes, you can smoke here) and look so smart at the same time? Maybe only on the Upper East Side, Bucharest and Prague, where the three other Bar & Books outposts exist.
675 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014 / 212-699-2400
Looking for that after-business-hours place to unwind? Swank and sexy Level V is the place to be seen---or hidden. Located below Vento restaurant, this decadent brick-walled subterranean space offers a mod backlit bar, low couches with vibrant pillows, private alcoves, and a flickering candlelit ambience. Silver banquettes and candle wall sconces make the concealed brick niches a cozy place to relax with friends or get personal with that someone special. The Italian wine list is worth perusing, as is the cocktail list, which features signature drinks such as the Paradiso (Bacardi eight-year, Amaretto, fresh sour and white peach foam). Nibblers may want to order the polenta fries with Gorgonzola fondue or the calamari and citrus rémoulade, both favorites from the limited version of the Vento menu from upstairs.
143 Perry St., New York, NY 10014 / 212-645-9758
The candlelit ambience and large wine and beer selection at this low-key West Village bar make for a perfectly romantic evening of libation sipping. Locals cozy up on the dark velvet couches in the front room or the cushion-filled, exposed brick back room, while friends of the bartender snuggle up to the bar.
450 Park Ave., New York, NY 10022 / 212-532-1519
Don’t mistake this Murray Hill establishment for a mere bar or lounge. Nor should you take the giant flat-screen TVs above the bar, constantly flashing sports highlights, as a sign you’re in a sports bar. That’s because PS 450, an atmospheric lounge-like place, serves up better-than-average pub grub in the form of creatively concocted small plates. The mountain of nachos isn’t just nachos: they’re sprinkled with tender short ribs. The juicy sliced sirloin, set on top of creamed spinach which rests on a tiny baguette slice, could be a meal in itself; and the many “pops”---tandoori, mac ‘n’ cheese, buffalo---are savory goodness-on-a-stick and are a crowd favorite. There are several sliders on offer, the best of which is the pulled pork.
W New York---Union Square, 201 Park Ave. S., New York, NY 10017 / 212-358-1560
Situated underneath the W Union Square and Todd English's restaurant Olives (hence the name), this chic, minimalist drink spot is filled with everyone from heavyweights to the humdrum, lounging on the sleek velvet couches or sipping pricey cocktails in the quasi-private, curtained nooks that line the square room's perimeter (with the pull of a chord, a server will be standing in front of you in seconds ready to refill your beverage). As many people come here to gawk at the beautiful staff as they do just to be seen. Hit the bar during the week for a more sedate affair.
(all people watching this list)