146 Essex St., New York , NY
You better be beautiful if you want to enter this spot during the peak hours after 11:30pm. The door policy is tight on weekends. If you make it inside, it is worth the look. The dining room, staircase and over all feel of the bar stimulate another sensory. There is usually a good looking crowd here on weekends, so if the decor doesn’t grab you, the ladies and men certainly will. Make sure bring your wallet packed with bills because it is pricey.
168 Delancey St., New York, NY 10002
If you’re in the mood to get dirty (in a good way), The Delancey is a great place to start. There are three floors in this bar, and they will all be filled with locals coming from over the bridge. But in this case, the Brooklyn crowd brings good spirit and vibe to the lounge. When the weather is warm, the roof top also makes for a great place to relax and drink.
200 Orchard St., New York, NY 10002
The cocktail menu makes this place special. You won’t see any fancy “new” drinks, but the bartenders make even the predictable cosmo or martini taste better. It also doubles for a great sports bar, but that can also work against you in NYC. Do you really want to grab drinks and conversations with people screaming at the two giant screen TVs? The low lighting outside of sporting events gives 200 Orchard the feeling that you have discovered a gem. On some nights, you might be lucky enough to mix with a fun party or private group. 212Access can’t predict when that will happen but if you arrive on this night, you are sure to stay till it closes like we did.
167 Orchard Street
The Slipper Room has finally re-opened after a long hiatus. The building was torn down and rebuilt from the bottom up. We like the new theater but we secretly miss the old Slipper Room which felt authentic. Time changes everything though, so we will accept the new building even though it is slowly changing the face of the Lower East Side. The shows still remain the same, so prepared to be tittilated.
67 Clinton St., New York, NY 10002
You might think you are in Soho or even Meatpacking at Barramundi with their “private” second floor entrance. The lounge is a great spot for cocktails and conversation. The comfortable couches will also make it more difficult to leave as you get comfortable and unwind in the most energetic neighborhood in the City.
95 Stanton St., New York, NY 10002 nr. Ludlow St
This is just a classic Lower East Side spot. No fancy tables or drinks. Just beer and solid cocktails with a little Lower East Side attitude. This used to be a bodega but in 1995, the owner decided there was more money in a meat market than a market in meat. Now, you can see live music for $10 or as the owner sees fit. It’s a great bar if you’re looking for authentic NYC.
The Back Room
102 Norfolk St., New York, NY 10002
Take a walk into a speakeasy. The Back Room has a giant fireplace and mirrored bar, giving it that intimate feel. The chandeliers, wallpaper and tin ceilings make you feel like you are back in the 1920s. Their cocktails are served in teacups as well, reinforcing that prohibition aura in the room. The Back Room has a reputation for booking great DJs.
169 E. Broadway, New York, NY 10002
The owners of 169 Bar have tried to turn it into a hip neighborhood nightclub but at the root, it remains a basement bar. Still the crowds on weekends still bring authentic NYC spirit with various parties importing from Brooklyn, which is why 169 Bar is on this list. There’s also a pool table for those who work best with a stick in their hand.
120 Essex St., New York, NY 10002
Essex is best during the weekend brunch hours with their mimosas, screwdrivers, or horseradish-heavy Bloody Marys. When the weather is nice, and the economy is good, they do have waits for tables so make sure you make reservations if it’s more than two people.
302 Broome St., New York, NY 10002
Happy Ending used to be a spa and the owners kept the fixtures in their original place. It makes for a great scene when mixed with alcohol and sexual tension. You probably won’t get a happy ending here, but you will have a happy ending. The music, mixologists and DJ will keep you feeling jazzed until the music stops. You can also book the steam rooms for private parties if you have a larger crowd.
154 Ludlow St., New York, NY 10002
The Living Room is quintessential NYC. Every night of the week, you can listen to live music and throw back cocktails on comfortable couches. Just don’t try dancing on the couches, as drunk women will inevitably do on every Friday and Saturday night. The bouncers don’t like that.
249 Eldridge St., New York, NY 10002
Welcome to the 70s.. or 80s.. or 90s.. or.. you don’t quite know which music will hear at night. The DJs play disco, R&B, funk back-to-back. But everyone usually gets into the scene after midnight, regardless of the tune. The dance floor typically gets packed and moving. You might even get some bump and grind on if the rowdy crowd is in the mood.