The Most Fun Bars In NYC Right Now
Call them what you want. Happening. Cool. Busy. Lit. These are the most fun bars in NYC right now.
Sometimes you want a pint and, really, any place will do—like one that only plays muzak over the speakers or reruns of Westminster dog shows on a TV in the corner. But other times, you want to drink at a place with games to play, shows to see, and dancing to do. Head to one of these NYC bars whenever you’re looking for an exceptionally good time.
photo credit: William Jess Laird
Jac's on Bond
If you take a bar with celebrity owners, add a pool table and some nice earth tones, and plop it onto a cobblestone street in Noho, people are gonna show up. Exhibit A: Jac’s on Bond, a spot from the folks behind Ray's and Pebble Bar that’s currently the hypebeast capital of lower Manhattan. This place is a scene, but deservedly so. It has a nice-looking space covered with framed photos of old-school hip hop artists, and the bar snacks (from the Wildair team) are great. Get the crab dip, and wear something nice in case you wind up in the background of someone’s TikTok.
Looking for the next great dance party? You’ll find it at The Last Call in Williamsburg. On Fridays and Saturdays, this retro punk rock izakaya features a DJ spinning vinyl under a rotating disco ball. The space is dark, loud, and filled with vintage Japanese posters, and there’s a little dance floor in the back that gets crowded on weekends. Thursday through Sunday, there’s yakitori available, but you can stop by any day of the week for fun bar snacks like wonton nachos topped with tuna and spicy mayo.
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photo credit: Emilio Tamez
Outer Heaven is the ideal spot for anyone who loves house, disco, techno, anime, and manga. This Lower East Side “microclub” (i.e., very small club) has a minimalist Japandi look, a sound system designed by the founder of Cielo and Output, and a comic book stand at the entrance. It’s an interesting place, with a sleek wood-and-concrete space that’s divided into two rooms: a bar area for laid-back listening and a dance floor with a DJ booth. Check the schedule for upcoming events, and feel free to play a vintage arcade game when you need a break from dancing.
You’d never know from the relaxing atmosphere at Al Coro that there’s a straight-up dance club (with no cover) right downstairs. Discolo is basically two relatively small octagonal rooms—one with the bar and the other has tiny round tables. It's a dark space, except for the red, purple, and blue lights on the ceiling that’ll remind you of a sheet of candy buttons. The flashing lights are in sync with the blaring music, which leans more disco and house, less club remixes of Bieber tunes. They do take some reservations, but most of the space is for walk-ins—a lot of people here are in jeans and tees, so come as you are.
photo credit: Melissa Hom
Keys & Heels
When it comes to speakeasies, the more random the facade, the better. Keys & Heels is disguised as a locksmith and shoe repair shop that opened in 1971, and that’s pretty damn random. Inside, you’ll find lots of bistro tables, a disco ball, comfy couches, and well-made cocktails with names like Barefoot & Topless and Late Night Lover. The latter is an espresso martini made with whiskey, and it’ll keep you up and mess you up at the same time. It’s always busy here but you never feel packed in, and they occasionally host events like magic shows where someone will guess both your birthday and the code to unlock your phone (which will genuinely make you feel uncomfortable).
If you’re in the mood for beer and it’s freezing outside, head to SingleCut where you can hang indoors for hours with no shortage of things to do. Not only does this Astoria brewery double as a cool music venue, but they have a large collection of vinyl behind the bar, and they take requests. Nothing is ever too loud in the loft-like space, but there’s enough of a scene to have a fun Friday night out. If you come on a night without live music, you can watch a movie on their screen while you play some games. They have a ton of IPAs and a chocolate milk stout on draft, and you're welcome to bring your own food. (There's a pizza place and a Chinese restaurant on the same lot.)
photo credit: Spilled Milk Creative
The cool thing about Wiggle Room is that you can use it in a couple different ways. The main floor has a few nooks that surround a long bar where you can sit with a date and explain why you think marriage is antiquated—but the basement has a whole different vibe. It has squiggly pink neon lights, a disco ball, and a dance floor, although you should know that the DJ doesn’t get going until after 10pm. It’s also legitimately freezing downstairs, which you’ll appreciate when the room gets packed and you work up a sweat. If you’re planning to stay until this place shuts down at 4am, get a few of the espresso martinis they have on draft.
You can show up to Club Cumming on any given night and get something different: open mic night, drag show, musical comedy, or celebrity appearances. Don’t let the super popular, overcrowded nightly shows discourage you from trying to get in here. It might just look like a tiny East Village dive, but this is actually a place where anything is possible. You could come at 11pm on a Sunday and make a bunch of new performer friends, or end up singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" with shirtless men while one accompanies you on the piano.
You know a bar is committed to making sure you have a good time when they have Happy Hour every weekday, free popcorn on deck, and a bring-your-own-food policy. That's what you'll find at Judy & Punch, a cocktail and craft beer bar in Astoria that’s intent on being your neighborhood haunt. Making conversation with the stranger next to you is totally kosher here. Just be aware that this place could turn into a dance party at any moment, should the right song come on.
If you’re looking for a bar that has house-party energy, frozen dole whip cocktails, and a playlist that feels like it was made by your friend who’s a self-described “crate-digger,” head to Lullaby on the LES. It’s in a basement on Rivington (below a sushi spot), and it has couches, low ceilings, and lots of people dancing even though there’s no formal dance floor. Lullaby is the kind of place that feels like a compromise between going out to a club and going to a cocktail bar. You can drink something better than a watery vodka soda and hang out in a space that feels like a B-list celebrity’s birthday party that you happened to stumble in on.
photo credit: Tim Saccenti
Considering how many bars there are in the neighborhood, you would think that Williamsburg would be stuffed with places where you can dance. Not the case. Cafe Balearica is a great new option, though. This two-story spot on the corner of 11th and Berry has a ground-floor space with tropical plants, high ceilings, and a big vibrant mural in addition to a clubby downstairs room where you can dance beneath a disco ball with a bunch of people you’ve probably seen at the local Trader Joe’s.
If you often find yourself drinking in Brooklyn, we suggest you add Palmetto to your personal list of fun bars in Bushwick. This cafe-like spot near Maria Hernandez Park has plain white walls covered in art and seaside murals, and it mostly focuses on cocktails (although there’s a natural wine list as well). Keep in mind that Palmetto stays fairly calm during the day, in case you ever want to get a quiet drink in a chic leather booth. Come here starting around 11pm for a rowdier experience.
Most people’s idea of a fun night out in Park Slope plays out in the backyard of a brownstone. But ever since this gay bar from the people behind C’mon Everybody opened, the number of exciting things you can do late at night in this neighborhood has drastically increased. Good Judy has two floors with several booths, banquettes, and high-top tables where you can take jello shots and speak several octaves higher than usual with a group of friends. Plus, their event calendar is packed with weekly drag shows, karaoke nights, and other events where you’ll end up memorably embarrassing yourself on the dance floor.