An insider’s guide to nightlife in New York

Published August 29th, 2012

Though currently Sydney based, Williamsburg, Brooklyn local Tracey Taibe of nycgo.com knows New York like the back of her hand. Here she lets us in on her favourite places to party and old Willamsburg watering holes.


Known as the ‘city that never sleeps’, New York City lives up to exactly that, offering a night life playground with endless possibilities and sore feet from dancing all night long.


To completely sum up NYC nightlife I could probably write a thick thousand page book, so to make things snappy I thought I would just share with you some of my favourite spots. Starting with the Lower East Side. LES has always been one of my favourite neighbourhoods to party in as it has such a mixture of people, from been-there-done-that locals to plaid-loving hipsters, ready-to-party business types and visiting glamazons.

The Manhattan Skyline

The Manhattan Skyline


To experience the ultimate Lower East night out, start with dinner at one of the affordable sit-down options such as El Sombero, which offers margaritas and cheap beer all for less than $5.  Feel like French cuisine instead?  Try one of my old regulars Pink Pony or Jadi.


Next stop, or shall I say stops, are at the downtown watering holes. Milk & Honey and White Star is where guests can drink absinthe and champagne if they dare, The Back Room can only be accessed through an alley off Norfolk Street while The Box is where you can drink to R-rated circus-like performances. If art is your thing, head to Gallery Bar or if you feel like drinking $2 PBRs with all the other plaid wearing shirts, Welcome to the Johnsons is where you’ll want to be.


Honestly, take my advice and plan to party hop like every New Yorker does because you also won’t want to miss the hipster joints like Max Fish, The Magician, Lolita Bar and Sweet Paradise.


When the drinks hit you and it’s time for a dance head to the basement bars of Home Sweet Home, Chloe 81, La Caverna and Happy Ending Lounge which hosts a weekly dance party on Tuesday nights. Then again if live music is more your thing, some of my favourite places include The Delancey, Mercury Lounge and Rockwood Music Hall which welcomes a mix of well-known rockers and up-and-comers; Arlene’s Grocery has punk rock karaoke every Monday, while Pianos, The Living Room and Cake Shop—which are lined up three in a row – will make you feel as if you are a Triple J DJ scouting the next big thing.


The Brooklyn Bridge at night

The Brooklyn Bridge at night

For those of you that like the club scene, the Meatpacking District and Chelsea is where you will find the velvet ropes to some of the hottest clubs.  Cielo, Le Bain, Pink NYC, Marquee, Kiss & Fly, Electric Room, Norwood, The Penthouse at the Park and Gaslight are the ones not to be missed.


Away from Manhattan, take the L train to my old neighbourhood, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  My favourite haunts include Iona, The Cove, The Levee, The Woods and Union Pool.  If beer is your thing, then head to Brooklyn Brewery, Kent Ale house, and Spuyten Duyvil.  Cocktail lovers can sip till sunrise at Hotel Delmano, The Dram, The Counting room and Commodore, while Brooklyn Bowl, Glasslands, Cubana Social, Death By Audio and Legion are the places to hang out in if you’re in the mood for live music and dancing.


Lauren Burvill

Australian born but London based, I'm a sucker for big cities and small tropical islands. When travelling, I like eating like a local, dressing like a local, but staying in 5 star style. Have a travel story to share? Tweet me @laurenburvill.