NYC Guide

Nightlife in New York City: what you need to know about nightclubs

If New York City is the city that never sleeps of course we need to talk about nightclubs, correct? Truth be told, I’m not a person that goes to these places. My husband and I love to go out for dinner or maybe having a drink at some rooftop. But since I always get questions about nightlife and people asking me to write posts about nightclubs, I asked Larissa Temple to write a post about – we studied together in 2014 at FIT and she used to go out at night and she visits the city every year. When we were studying together, I remember she always had a cool party to go. So, I did not hesitate to talk to her and ask her to give you all the tips!

“Hello there!

Today I’m here as Laura’s guest to talk a little bit about the nightlife in New York. I love to party, and I always include a nightclub in my trips to the city. New York has many incredible places to dance and enjoy the night. In the summer, I like to do a Rooftop + Nightclub, and in the winter, I prefer dining in a cool spot and then going to a nightclub after.

Although the city is known as The City That Never Sleeps, you need to be aware of the party timing. Parties in NYC usually start a bit earlier, between 10 pm and 11 pm. At 11:30 pm, parties are generally busy, with queues at the door – and it makes it a bit difficult to get into the place. Also, it is good to know that parties usually end between 3 and 4 am. There are many kinds of parties in New York to suit all tastes. There are places focused on Hip Hop, Pop and House Music, but most of them play a mix of the coolest songs that are trending. After all, what matters is a full house (and beautiful people!).

Before going to any club in New York, I recommend checking the dress code (and you can do that by checking the club’s website). A common practice in the city – even more in trendy clubs – is the admission criteria, when the hostess checks if people are dressed according to the environment, and of course, if they are beautiful and attractive. It is necessary to dress well – which it doesn’t mean luxurious clothes and a Chanel bag, okay? A beautiful outfit (it doesn’t have to be provocative, opposite to what a lot of people think) with a nice makeup, an incredible (and comfortable!) pair high heels, and one of the most important items: a smile. Some people arrive at the door of the party somewhat apprehensive, with serious faces, afraid they will not be allowed in. But, remember: self-confidence is everything!

I’ve never had any problem in this regard – I’ve always been able to enter into the rooftops, lounges, and nightclubs in NYC. Some places charge a fee to enter (for women it is usually between $20 and $30), but in most cases, it is not difficult to get in for free if you are a woman, well-dressed, and with a group of friends. For men, the situation is a bit different. For almost 100% of the parties it is necessary to pay a fee to enter (which can be up to $100 – sometimes it gives you credit to buy drinks, but not always). Some places make it difficult for men who are trying to get into the club alone, without the company of a woman – their purpose is to have the place with many women, and preferably very beautiful, so they do not tend to allow random groups of men unless they have a reserved VIP table (which can cost at least $3000). I remember that on one of my nights in New York, I was arriving at the PhD (rooftop/lounge at the Dream Downtown Hotel) with two other friends when we were approached at the door by a group of three friends (men). One of them asked us if we could pretend we were three couples because they could not get into the club all of them together without having a woman with them. The best tip I have to give (because it makes things easier!) is to try to find some promoter or someone who has contacts in these clubs, to have a guaranteed entry and often no queue.

Another important thing when it comes to enjoying the nightlife in NYC: ID. In the United States, the minimum age to enter a bar/rooftop/nightclub/party is 21. Never forget to bring an ID (even if you will not drink because the document is requested at the entrance), or they send you back home! About the alcoholic beverages of these places, at Manhattan rooftops and hip nightclubs, a beer usually costs between $9 and $13, while a cocktail is between $15 and $20. In Williamsburg and other areas of Brooklyn, drinks and beers are a bit cheaper in these establishments.

Now let’s go to what matters: my tips for places to dance, listen to good music and meet beautiful people!

Five rooftop lounges/nightclubs that I recommend:

PH-D AT DREAM HOTEL: It’s my favorite place to go out at night in NYC! This lounge/nightclub is on the rooftop of the Dream Downtown Hotel. The night usually starts with a bar/lounge atmosphere, but soon the place is crowded with beautiful people and the place gets a different vibe. It is all enclosed with glass walls, and there is an outdoor area as well. In the background, there is a view of the Empire State Building, which is wonderful. In general, most of the music played is Pop and House Music. The venue is frequented by celebrities such as the socialite Paris Hilton, the model Heidi Klum, and the actor Chace Crowford.

Address: 355 West 16th St.

LAVO: A branch of the Las Vegas nightclub, is one of New York’s most traditional and well-known places. It plays electronic music, but there is a day that plays a little bit of everything. Almost one time per month there is a famous international DJ who plays there (Hello Tiesto!). Lavo is always crowded with people between 24-50 years old. The entrance criteria there are usually strict and the people that enter are selected by hand at the door (dress code alert!). Arrive a little early and have a drink in the Italian restaurant under Lavo, it has a fantastic lounge! For most events, it is possible to purchase tickets in advance and guarantee entry (W$20 and M $30).

Address: 39 East 58th St –btw Madison and Park Ave.

TAO DOWNTOWNTAO has two incredible environments: an Asian restaurant and the party enviroment. I recommend having dinner (around $80-$120 per person, depending on your choice, plus an alcoholic beverage) and go to the lounge. The nightclub is an area with a lounge and bars separate from the restaurant, super well decorated playing Pop and House Music. On the website, they say that General Admission (when you are not part of a VIP table) is at the doorman criteria (host/hostess).

Address: 92 Ninth Avenue at 16th St.

LE BAIN: This is a fun penthouse nightclub that is located at The Standard Hotel on the High Line in the Meatpacking District. In addition to the party with music, Le Bain has a rooftop with breathtaking views of NYC. It is possible to transit between the two environments by the stairs that give access to the rooftop. It’s also worth going up for a drink at sunset, and if it’s summer, having a crepe on the lawn of the rooftop or even enjoy one of the sunset parties that usually happen on Saturdays. They also have a small pool in the middle of the party during the summer. Believe me, I’ve seen many people actually going inside it, lol.

Address: 444 West 13th St.

WEBSTER HALLfrom all my suggestions, this is the least “chic” and “gossip girl” option, with different and younger people (mostly between 21 and 30 years old) who enjoy Hip Hop, Rock’s Roll, and also live music. Webster Hall is NYC’s oldest club and one of the largest ones (4 floors!) New York City nightclubs (hosts up to 2,500 people). It is a nightclub and concert house: names like U2, Sting and Tina Turner have already performed there. There are three different environments with different music style (Studio, The Marlin Room, and The Grand Ballroom). For the party, it is possible to put the name on the list by the website, and for the concerts, the tickets are sold online.

Address: 125 East 11th St.

The next two options below are trending in NYC. I still haven’t had the opportunity to check them, but they are on my “to go list” and I thought it would be interesting to post them here for you!

1 OAK (One of a Kind): A branch from Las Vegas, 1 OAK is a super known and famous nightclub. 1 Oak’s Halloween and New Year’s parties are very traditional and full of celebrities. New York’s elite usually frequents this chic place.

Address: 453 West 17th St.

MARQUEE: from the same Phd, Lavo, and TAO group, Marquee – another Las Vegas branch – is one of the newest, busiest, and liveliest nightclubs in NY. There are two rooms with modern decor and international DJs like Bob Sinclar, and other renowned artists playing Pop, Rock, and Hip Hop. It is also possible to buy tickets in advance through the website, which are usually $20 (W) $30 (M).

Address: 289 10th Ave.

NYC Nightlife checklist

  • Check when the nightclub is open  (not all of them are open every day);
  • Check the schedule of the clubs to see which DJ is playing in the week (it is common to come across names like Avicii, Calvin Harris, Bob Sinclar, among others);
  • Check if there is a VIP list on the website or if there are tickets available for purchase in advance (if there is not, put your best outfit and smile to get the hostess and the doorman sympathy).
  • Check the dress code (most of the time this is what will guarantee your entry without a headache!);
  • Don’t forget your ID!

Wow! It was a long post but full of tips! I hope you like it and have fun as much as I do when I go out in New York!

XOXO, Lary Temple.


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