New York City has long been known as one of the nightlife capitals of the world, with world-famous live music, a thriving comedy club scene, awe-inspiring, over-the-top nightclubs, stunning lounges, old-style bars, and fine late-night dining.
Located in Greenwich Village, Garage Restaurant and Café has it all — great food, an outdoor cafe, two-story fireplace, and live jazz all night. Their multi-level dining area means every seat is the best seat in the house, whether you’re relaxing on richly upholstered banquettes or overlooking the entire scene from a cozy booth on the balcony. You can enjoy live jazz performances seven nights a week, as well as during their Jazz Brunches offered every Saturday and Sunday until 4pm. With 17 draught beers, an incomparable live entertainment schedule, fine seafood and steaks, late-night dining until 2:30am, and great people-watching, a visit to Garage a must when visiting the Village. 99 Seventh Ave. So. (Christopher St.), 212-645-0600; www.garagejazz.com.
If you want to go where New Yorkers go for great food and live jazz, head uptown to Broadway and 92nd Street. That’s where you’ll find Cleopatra’s Needle (named after the legendary monument in Central Park), a hot spot specializing in cool jazz and casual Mediterranean food. Happy hour runs every day from 4 to 7:30pm, with half-price martinis and glasses of wine, and reduced prices on all other drinks. Live performances begin every evening at 8pm; check their website for the upcoming schedule. 2485 Broadway at 92nd St., 212-769-6969; www.cleopatrasneedleny.com.
Understated elegance has returned to Midtown — specifically Rockefeller Center — courtesy of the upscale cocktail lounge Forty Eight. The plush, classic milieu is the perfect setting to enjoy inventive specialty cocktails — categorized on the drink menu under headings such as “Elegance,” “Wellness,” and “Wanderlust” — and a menu of some 48 small plates created by the legendary Blue Ribbon restaurant. It’s the perfect place to either mix with the after-work crowd or find a late-late-night snack and drink (they’re open until 2am Monday through Thursday, until 4am on Friday and Saturday nights, and midnight on Sundays), and live DJs spin on the weekends. 1221 Avenue of the Americas on 48th St., 212-554-4848; www.48nyc.com.
Bowling — it’s not just your grandfather’s sport anymore, and nothing exemplifies that more than 300 New York, a bowling alley that’s a trendy club, a hot new bistro, and upscale sports bar all rolled into one. With 32 state-of-the-art lanes, a spectacular light and video show, lounge seating, upscale decor, and other amenities, it’s the perfect place to have a fun night on the town. The eclectic, upscale menu features an array of tasty appetizers, hand-tossed flatbreads and pizzas, the 300 Steak Burger, empanadas, Asian BBQ ribs, and much more. Plus, their happy hour in the Loft Lounge features $3 drink specials Mon.-Fri. from 5-8pm, and the Tuesday Night Bowling Bash includes unlimited bowling for $28 per person from 9pm to close. They also recently opened “Game On,” a video arcade and gaming area featuring over 30 of the hottest games, along with a redemption room stocked with toys and gadgets. Pier 60, 23rd St. & West Side Hwy in Chelsea Piers, 212-835-2695; www.300newyork.com.
Sexy and sophisticated, the pan-Latin restaurant Agua Dulce is the perfect place to grab a late-night meal, offering dinner on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights until 3am. They also host a daily happy hour from 3:30 to 6:30 and 11 until 3am. The first element that draws you into Agua Dulce is the outdoor seating, which is whimsical and airy with park-style benches. The tower bar, complete with ladder, is the second spectacle and no less unique or inviting. Menu highlights include organic salmon citrus ceviche, skirt steak, grilled chicken with saffron scented Valencia rice and chorizo, smoked tea braised short rib, and yellowfin tuna with minted lychee salsita. 802 Ninth Ave. btw. 53rd & 54th Sts., 212-262-1299; www.aguadulceny.com. [NY Pudding]