You’ll probably regret it tomorrow when you wake up and reach for your phone in anticipatory embarrassment, but tonight, you’re not worried about that. After all, you’re only young-ish in New York for a short period of time. So you decide to get one last drink. You’ve already dealt with plenty of lines and crowded dance floors, so now you want someplace low-key - a dark bar that’s open late, not too crowded, and preferably staffed with bartenders who are used to late-night customers wondering where they could have lost their iPhones. Try any of these 18 spots.
A lot of bars on the lower LES are full of people who work in PR drinking vodka-sodas, and Australians in loose-collared T-shirts ironically drinking Budweisers. Those places can be fun up to a certain point, but when you want something a lot more casual, head to 169 Bar. Nobody will care what you’re wearing or how stained your shirt is, because they’re too busy having a good time. It’s hard not to have a good time at this century-old spot, where drinks are cheap, the space is kitschy in the best possible way, and the kitchen stays open until 4am every night.
Rocka Rolla feels like a holdout from a time when you’d go to Williamsburg because you felt edgy, and leave realizing you definitely weren’t. The dark space under the BQE plays loud punk rock and serves $6 shot and beer combos as well as strong cocktails in massive goblets. Indoors by the bar it can get pretty packed, but they have a back patio as well.
You want to get another drink, but once you do that, you’ll also want to eat something greasy. You could stop by a bar on the way home and then get a bodega BEC, or you could just go to Corner Bistro and take care of everything in the same place. This classic West Village burger spot is open until 4am every day, and you certainly won’t be the only person adding to and soaking up the night’s alcohol at the same time.
There are a lot of late-night bars on the Upper West Side, but if you’re not interested in bright spots full of groups playing beer pong or dark pubs with a few people squinting down at pints of Guinness, your options are limited. One good move is Dive 75, which always has crowds but is never rowdy. The big space has some couches and armchairs where your friends can take pictures of you fighting the good fight against nodding off.
If there were a shipwreck near a deserted island and someone with their priorities in order saved all of the alcohol, they’d probably store it in a space that looks like Lovers Of Today. This underground room in the East Village feels like a cave, which makes it a great option for a high-quality cocktail when you want to feel like you’re a lot more than a block away from St. Marks.
“Where Good Friends Party Hardy” is written on the awning in front of Call Box in East Williamsburg, and while we can’t say we’d have chosen that wording, the idea definitely feels accurate. This dark, cash-only spot has a small dance floor that tends to be packed with groups singing along to music playing from someone’s iPhone plugged directly into the speakers (if they don’t have a DJ that night). Sure, you may break a sweat and partially lose your voice belting out the chorus to ’80s and ’90s hits all night, but you won’t be the only one. And if you need a break, get a cheap beer and take some pictures in the photobooth that works about 60% of the time.
At the end of the night, you don’t want a bartender to judge you or tell you to remember to drink water. You want one who’ll take your drink order and then pretend you don’t exist until you ask for another round. Pete’s is an old-school tavern (it opened in 1864) in Gramercy, and neither the bartenders nor the long-time regulars will pay you much attention as you drink a house beer or whiskey-neat at the bar. If you decide you do need some food after all, you can get a big burger or some fried calamari.
For whatever reason, you’ve found yourself in Times Square at 1am. Rather than regretting the series of events that led to this moment, consider it water under the bridge, and go get a drink at Beer Authority. This bar across the street from the Port Authority has 90 beers on tap and another 100 by the bottle, and it’s open until 4am every day except Sundays (when it’s open until 2am). There’s a small bar on the ground floor that works if you don’t really feel like talking to anyone, and a huge second floor beer garden that’s the best spot in the area to drink with a big group.
If you want to take shots of Fireball with a bunch of NYU juniors, then the stretch of Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village has a lot of options. But if you just want a place to have a couple beers while you wait for the crowds of stumbling students to get back to their annoyingly nice apartments, head to GMT Tavern. They have a good draft beer list and an extensive whiskey selection, which you can sample in solitude in the dark indoor space, or outside on the patio.
The Upper East Side has plenty of 1am drinking options, like flavored vodka in railroad kitchens and crystal carafes of really old Scotch in mahogany cigar rooms. But if those don’t seem like feasible options for you tonight, there’s always Jack & Fanny’s. It’s a big cocktail bar with couches and booths, as well as a bocce court in case that vodka-Red Bull gives you a second wind.
After a set at Elsewhere (or being out at most places in Bushwick), you may want a low-key drink to wind down. The name isn’t low-key, but Hard Times Christmas Liquors at the Sunset Bar is actually just a small space that feels kind of like a cabin upstate. It’s open until 4am every day, and while they have cocktails, it’s really the kind of place you go with a friend and split a bucket of Natty Light (for $20) before heading home.
Shelby is a good friend, which is why you agreed to go dancing with her despite having plans with your significant other’s parents in eight hours. A fun option on the LES is Home Sweet Home. The dance floor in the basement space has DJs most nights and a disco ball, and the cheap drinks will help if you need a confidence boost.
Your babysitter charges a flat fee rather than an hourly rate, so you may as well stop for a drink on your way home from that Morrissey concert. One of our favorite late-night options in Park Slope is The Gate, a casual bar on 5th Avenue with more than 20 unusual beers on tap, and an outdoor patio that’s open until 4am every day but Sunday.
If you can’t take the obnoxiously loud laughter of the group right behind you on the first floor at Galway Hooker, continue on up to the second floor bar. And if you get annoyed with the looks you’re getting from the group wearing sticker-on fitted hats, just move into any of the three other rooms. This West Village bar has a ton of different seating and standing spaces, so you should be able to find an enjoyable place to have a few nightcaps.
Station House is a go-to whenever we’re looking for a drink in Forest Hills, and especially after midnight. It always tends to draw a crowd, which means you and some friends can walk in at 2am and not feel like you’re keeping the staff from closing up early. They also have a bunch of good beers on tap and some very solid bar food, so it works if you want to end the night with a beer and burger at the bar while watching post-game from another Giants loss on the TVs.
You could go for one or two more drinks, but you already have seven Venmo requests from your friends for drinks at previous bars, and you really don’t want to spend much more money. If you’re around the East Village, check out La Linea, which does half-off the whole bar from midnight-4am Sunday through Thursday.
Dutch Kills serves the best cocktails in Long Island City, and it’s open later than most other bars in the neighborhood, so it’s an obvious choice for your final drink of the night. Just know that they take their drinks seriously here, and they’re $15 each (so don’t come when you’re in the mood for a PBR or shot of well whiskey).