Where To Go Out When You're In Your 30s

If there’s a line outside, it’s not happening.
A fancy bar with a chandelier, high ceilings, and velvet bar stools.

photo credit: Annie Schlechter

There are no rules for where you can and cannot go out when you’re in your 30s. If you’d like to chug White Claw on the Lower East Side with the class of ’25, have at it. And if you want to dance in a Bushwick warehouse alongside people who smell like Le Labo and cigarettes, do your thing. We just thought we'd provide some relatively low-key options for when you begin to suspect that standing in a line outside of Ray’s or Wiggle Room might not be the best use of your time.


photo credit: Annie Schlechter



$$$$Perfect For:Drinking Good Cocktails
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The Lobby Bar is appropriate for all ages, as long as you appreciate elaborate crown molding and perfectly cold martinis with imperceptible amounts of vermouth. The space consists of several interconnected rooms with rugs, chandeliers, and mismatched sofas, and it would probably seem stuffy if it weren’t located in the bottom of a buzzy hotel (Hotel Chelsea). This is a glamorous place, with a perpetual crowd that ranges from pre-gaming twenty-somethings to immaculately dressed parents checking in with their kids.

Since it opened in 2018, Primo’s has been a highly underrated spot to grab a well-made cocktail, listen to good music, and take in a scene without having to deal with a huge crowd. The Tribeca bar, with its chrome accents and velvet furniture, has a sort of Art-Deco-hotel-lobby-in-Milan thing going, and it’s the rare downtown establishment where you can pop in on a weekend and plausibly find an open seat. If you want to play it safe, make a reservation.

When in doubt, choose a wine bar. At Cherry on Top in Bushwick, you can sit in a little room with ambient red lighting and drink a pinot blanc blend out of the sort of stubby glassware that’s now a requisite at all places that serve low-intervention wine. There are often events like film screenings and themed nights with DJs, and there’s a spacious rooftop for warm weather outings.

If you’re wandering around the West Village and stumble into Bandits only to realize that you're the only one in the room who learned of the demise of Alexander Hamilton from a "Got Milk?" commercial, head to Little Branch across the street. One of the oldest and most pleasant speakeasy-style bars in NYC, the place is dark and subterranean, with quality cocktails and a 1920s theme. They don’t take reservations, and there’s usually a line outside, but there are much worse lines to stand in.

On the weekends, it’s also nearly impossible to find a bar on the Lower East Side that isn’t overflowing with people who stay out until 2am in order to avoid self-reflection. At Parcelle, however, you can make a reservation. The space is mellow and loungy, set up like a living room with corduroy sofas and coffee tables. They exclusively serve beer and wine, with lots of interesting bottles under $100, and they have a dinner menu featuring charcuterie, uni toast, and a fried chicken sandwich.

Public Records in Gowanus has three venues under one roof. There’s the ground-floor restaurant serving plant-based food, the clubby sound room where you can hang out on a dance floor, and the upstairs lounge (called Upstairs). For something fun and low-effort, choose the last option. Park yourself on a white leather sofa in the loft-like space, and catch a DJ playing interesting vinyl that you won't hear elsewhere. To guarantee a seat, be sure to make a reservation.

Greenpoint has a lot of good bars that seem to be geared toward thirty-somethings, like Bar Americano and Eavesdrop. Those are both fine options, but we especially like Lise & Vito, in part because they have a lava lamp, a Kit Kat Clock, and fancy jello shots. The aggressively quirky wine bar also has an extensive list of natural wines that start around $14 per glass, in addition to a full cocktail menu. Stop by for a DJ set, or bring a date and sit on a chartreuse banquette.

Tigre is from the folks behind Maison Premiere, although, unlike its Williamsburg counterpart, this place is less of a New Orleans-inspired absinthe house and more of upscale disco parlor. The employees wear flowy all-white uniforms, and the intimate room is filled with mirrors and gold accents. In addition to elaborate drinks made with ingredients like saffron and pistachio, there’s a menu of martinis, which you can customize on a scale from lots-of-vermouth to pretty-much-gin.

photo credit: Simon Brown

$$$$Perfect For:Drinks & A Light Bite


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The Crosby Bar is one of the most random scenes in Manhattan. It’s located in the bottom of the Crosby Street Hotel in Soho, and if you stop by on a Saturday night, you might see a bunch of undergrads in tuxedos drinking alongside wealthy divorcees. Spacious, bright, and filled with funky modern art, the place isn't very tough to get into, because very few people wake up and think, “I should go to The Crosby tonight.” You can order from a full dinner menu, but if you just want to grab an espresso martini and a slice of cake, that’s fine too.

If you’ve spent the past decade frequenting The Commodore, and their signature piña colada is starting to take its toll, switch to a new Williamsburg bar, like Hotel Delmano. It’s a little more civilized here, mainly because there’s no standing room. In order to drink at this charmingly distressed bar, you have to be seated at a table, either in the front bar room or the intimate back area that’s usually filled with dates. The cocktails are very good, and not too prohibitively expensive at $15.

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