Great Places to Go at Night in NYC (Off-Guidebook Experience)

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By Heather Ouida, co-founder kiddybites

Confession time – I did not come up with this list of recommended spots by myself. I wrote this with my husband during a 6-hour drive to Lake Placid last weekend (my hubby was doing the Ironman there, crazy kid that he is). Our boys were in the back seat alternating between listening to music, books on tape and watching “Howard the Duck” (remember that kooky “classic”)?

During the drive, I whipped out my laptop to write this article, all Sarah Jessica Parker-ish, and quickly realized, as hip as I pretend to be, I needed to call in reinforcements. Who did I think I was, a club kid? Julie the Cruise Director? I made a few calls to friends whom I consider “in the know” asking them “to which Manhattan nighttime spots would you send visiting friends?” By combining their answers, my hubby’s and my own two cents, here is the conglomeration of knowledge for all of us to share:

  1. The Meat Packing District: This is a fun area to walk around and “rubber neck”. Great people watching and tons of hip bars and restaurants have made this one of the most popular areas in Manhattan over the past few years. Some of the highlights include:
    • The Gansevoort Hotel has a great indoor/outdoor rooftop bar with super views of the city. Be warned – drink/eat/and be merry sparingly, as The Gansevoort can get quite pricy (ok, the merriment is included, but still.) We usually meet there for one drink before moving on.
    • Across the street is Pastis, a French bistro and local favorite. It serves some of the best steak frits in Manhattan (I mean crazy good. I have been known to order just these for my meal).
    • If you’re one of the lucky few (I’m not!) who knows someone who is a member of the nearby Soho House, make sure you get her to take you there and show you the rooftop pool while enjoying a Mohito.
  2. Hogs and Heifers Saloon: For those of you who are feeling a little more daring and want to experience some Coyote Ugly-esque action in the West Village, check out this hole in the wall bar. Non-natives be warned: you may find yourself late night dancing on the bar with the staff and hanging your bra on the wall on your way out (as Julie Roberts once famously did) next to the 11,000 other casually donated unmentionables on display there.
  3. Another fun place to walk around is Bryant Park, behind the Manhattan Public Library right in Midtown. In the summer they have a free Summer Film Festival where you can pack a picnic and watch movies outside on the lawn.
  4. Jonny Utah’s – smack dab in the heart of midtown is this Tex Mex restaurant come rodeo bar that is known for hosting Manhattan’s first mechanical bull. Weather you go to ride or just watch, you may never laugh harder. Yee haw fellow bloggers!
  5. If you have the time, check out the new Yankee Stadium or the iconic Shea Stadium/Citi Field. If you’re not a baseball lover and don’t want to see an actual game (which I most definitely am not even though I have convinced myself that Derek Jeeter totally has a crush on me) they offer really cool tours of both stadiums.
  6. For all you sushi lovers out there check out the trendy, infamous and delicious Nobu 57 (on West 57th Street, hence the name) which is as good as it is expensive (my fav is the rock shrimp tempura and chocolate bento box!). Be sure to make reservations; otherwise, you can hang downstairs at their happening bar, which serves their signature pineapple Cosmos.
  7. Madison Square Garden Total New York. A must see. I just saw Lady Gaga (see? I AM hip!) and even she commented on the significance of singing in one of the most famous “arenas” in the world.
  8. Pizza! What’s a trip to NYC without grabbing a slice? For traditional neapolitan try Keste Pizza (in the West Village) or Motorino (East Village) which has a great brunch style pizza with eggs! Some other good ones are Lombardi (on the Lower East Side), Veloce (East Village), Artichokes (East Village), and Joe’s Pizza which is my friend Chris’ all time favorite pizza joint (and this guy knows his pizza!).

Enjoy New York!

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