Do you experience sleepless nights wondering about alternative names for the artichoke, the number of stars on the European Union flag, or who invented the rabies vaccination?
For New Yorkers looking for a nerdy spin on the usual night out with friends, trivia is exactly what the doctor ordered. These five locales are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fact-filled nights on the town in all five boroughs. Study (and bottoms) up!
Indian Road Cafe
This rustic eatery is certainly uniquely situated–you’ll find it all the way at the northern tip of Manhattan, on the edge of Inwood Hill Park. 218th Street is home to one of New York’s most fun and fascinating trivia nights, with an appropriately colorful MC known only as Mr. Phil. Prizes for winners include t-shirts, free drinks, gift cards and more. A haven for the truly obsessed, Indian Road hosts a robust online presence for their trivia night, with a detailed scoreboard and standings.
This Chinatown hotspot might be best known for their creative cocktails and underpriced oysters, but don’t let the chic decor fool you. Every Tuesday this is the venue for one of the city’s most challenging and off-kilter trivia nights, complete with a $100 grand prize. Show up a little early to enjoy their unique happy hour selection before the Q&A crowd gets going.
Looking for even more gaming fun with your trivia? Parkside Lounge on East Houston Street may become your home away from home. Before or after the trivia rounds, partake in any of their other forms of entertainment like a photo booth, Pac-Man and foosball, an old-school jukebox and more. Bring 3 of your brainiest buddies, but no more than that–4 person teams are the strictly followed rule here.
Videology Bar & Cinema
If movies are your thing, arrive early to test your knowledge at Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s Videology: their trivia night is so popular that people are often turned away at the door. It might be tough to find a more appropriate place for movie trivia, as Videology functions as both a bar and an independent cinema, playing cult favorites and obscurities from every era of film. Winners of these trivia rounds can get rounds of free drinks or even a two-hour private party in the screening room!
The Strand Smokehouse
A neighborhood with some impressive future neighbors, Astoria in Queens currently hosts one of the most unique trivia spots in any borough. When the sun goes down, this hotspot for smoked meat and bourbon fills up with an audience hungry for the greatest sustenance of all: knowledge. Winners can earn a $50 tab, a round of shots or even a free day of rock climbing.
Want even more options? The city’s got tons, so you won’t have to rush to find a favorite.. There’s no shortage of quizzical fun to be had any night of the week, and no better competition than the multitude of minds in New York City. Better start studying!
Looking for more NYC nightlife? Read our guide to the Best Free Music Spots or keep it on the hush at one of the city’s Coolest Speakeasies.
Everyone loves a secret, especially New Yorkers, and speakeasies have been a not-so-secret tradition here since Prohibition. Back then, speakeasies were a necessity for anyone seeking libations in a dry town. Now, they are havens for those searching for an off-the-beaten-path cocktail experience. If you’re a New York local or visitor, here are just five of the many New York speakeasies that will ‘wet’ your whistle.
135 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn
Inspired by Marie Antoinette’s private chambers, this spot is a must-see! Guests enter via a secret bookcase and passageway beneath the restaurant Chez Moi. Le Boudoir offers seasonal craft cocktails in a rich Rococo setting. Each cocktail is a unique piece of art and the attentive service makes patrons feel like royalty.
The Raines Law Room
48 West 17th Street, Manhattan
Located in the Chelsea neighborhood, this venue is named after an 1896 law meant to curb New Yorkers’ liquor consumption. But in 2018, patrons are encouraged to consume away!
Venture past the discrete door buzzer and discerning host, and you will find a windowless space filled with a slightly garish flare–which pretty much nails the flamboyant twenties cocktail vibe. And speaking of cocktails! The Garden Paloma, made with tequila, jalapeño agave, Perrier, grapefruit, and a pinch of salt, will take you back in time.
Be sure to arrive early to secure one of the private tables with buzzer service that are surrounded by black gauze curtains for privacy.
Angel’s Share/Village Yokocho
8 Stuyvesant Street, Manhattan
Remarkably, Angel’s Share remains completely unknown to some of its neighbors, and that is part of its charm. Loitering and large groups are discouraged which makes Angel’s Share the perfect date spot.
Walk through the side door at the front of the Japanese restaurant Village Yokocho, and you’ll find yourself in the middle of a quintessentially East Village experience. Enjoy a view of Stuyvesant Square while sipping one of the city’s best Grasshoppers–served by a tuxedoed barman. Expert bartenders mix up classic cocktails but are also willing to surprise you with a custom-tailored creation.
Manhattan Cricket Club
226 W 79th Street, Manhattan
Enter through a green tufted leather door inside the restaurant Burke & Wills on the Upper West Side to find an atmosphere conducive to the oh-so-civilized conversation.
Keeping with the inspiration of Burke and Wills, the Manhattan Cricket Club is reminiscent of a colonial gentlemen’s clubs of the Old Empire, though ladies are allowed too. Replete with Persian carpets, bookshelves, rich leather chairs, dark wood and gilded sconces, you will find yourself transported to another time and place.
The bar offers a large variety of creative cocktails including a menu section called The Prime Ministers Selection. And if you’re in the James Bond mood, try the Martini service.
Note on etiquette: Guests are requested to dress in a manner that suits the atmosphere and rowdy bar behavior is very looked down upon.
49 W 27th Street, Manhattan
A neon sign reading Patent Pending will lead you toward an intriguing speakeasy behind an unassuming coffee shop in NoMad. It’s all housed in the Radio Wave building which used to be home to the famous inventor Nikola Tesla.
Through a heavy set of after-hours doors, you will come out into a dark, sultry, cave-like space. After making your way through an alcove full of low-hanging lanterns, you’ll find yourself in a dimly lit yet very comfortable bar.
The menu is divided into four Tesla-inspired categories: Energy, Frequency, Vibration and Descent. Drinks are equally compelling with names like the Hit By a Taxi (Japanese whiskey, Armagnac, sweet vermouth, Pu’erh tea, Curacao, star anise) and Radio Waves (tequila, mezcal, Agricole rum, basil, Thai chile, lime, and cucumber).
So, if you’re looking for the most unique and coolest speakeasies, rest easy—New York’s got you covered. For more ideas to enjoy NYC, check out some can’t-miss summer events or the city’s most enticing food halls.
New York. It’s a dog-eat-dog town. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. And if you own a dog, most likely, your dog can accompany you here, there, and everywhere. One walk down a main drag and it’s clear: New Yorkers love their mutts. From prize-winning Afghan Hounds in the UES to Shiba Inus in Brooklyn, New York is a pretty dog-friendly place–which is a good thing when dealing with the hustle and bustle of the city. So, let’s take a look at just 10 places your dog is welcome in the Big Apple.
1) Union Square – William Secord Gallery
If you love art as much as you love your pooch, you’ll appreciate the William Secord Gallery which is a one-of-a-kind space that sells nineteenth and twentieth century animal paintings. Founded by William Secord in 1990, it is a rare and popular destination for those looking to combine their love of the obscure, their dogs, and art–including paintings, sculptures and art on paper. To memorialize your visit, you can also commision a portrait of your pet.
2) Tribeca – Water4Dogs
If your dog is disabled or injured, swimming and hydrotherapy is great for bonding and healing for pets. This Tribeca doggie rehab center is a special place that offers a fully-equipped facility with a wide-range of services dedicated to the recovery of your wo(man)’s best friend. The team of highly experienced vets and physical therapists are knowledgeable in the latest rehabilitation techniques so your dog will be in good hands.
3) Williamsburg – Lucky Dog
You lucky dog! Now, you can combine the things you love: Mr. Peepers, games, and a place to whet your (dog) whistle. As the name suggests, dogs are more than welcome here. Known as a favorite neighborhood dive on Bedford Ave in Brooklyn, they serve dog owners as well as people with a great beer selection. The non-stuffy atmosphere and backyard make it a favorite for pooch-lovers.
4) East Village – d.b.a.
What’s in a name? The moniker, rumored to stand for “does business as” may be lowercase but this bar continues to be a big deal for dog-lovers. Open since the mid-90s, d.b.a.’s European and domestic microbrews is 20-deep in its draft selection. Beers like Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier from Germany and stateside Southampton Imperial Porter are a refined beer connoisseur’s dream. Add Fido for company, and all is good in the world.
5) Gowanus – Mission Dolores
Though you’ll still be safely in New York, the name is borrowed from the oldest Catholic outpost in San Francisco, California. Mission Dolores is an auto-shop turned beer courtyard and dog-friendly bar. Constructed like a glass greenhouse with rustic touches, this unique place is perfect for you and your unique dog.
6) Greenwich Village – Cornelia Street Cafe
The restaurant and bar with the same name as the street it resides on is a staple of Greenwich Village. Opened in the summer of 1977, the cafe is known as the birthplace of the Monday night songwriter’s workshop which became known as The Songwriter’s Exchange. With impressive past performers like folkstar Suzanne Vega, this place is a great way to teach your dog a little NYC history while you eat.
7) Kips Bay – Dog and Bone
Dog and Bone pretty much sums it up. With a dog named Winston for a manager and an outdoor patio, dogs and their persons are welcome to eat side-by-side though the meals are not for dogs. With casual fare like bangers and mash and other sausage-centric plates on the menu, you’ll flock to this place like a dog with a bone.
8) South Street Seaport – Fresh Salt
Inside the historic Smokehouse Building lays a restaurant and bar that is a fan of its furry friends. With outside service perfect for a spring or summer meal with your dog, Fresh Salt is a fresh take on American comfort food like mac and cheese, meatloaf sandwiches, as well as cocktails, wine, and beers.
9) Midtown East – Parnell’s Pub & Restaurant
Have a pint and a meal at this traditional Irish pub with dog-friendly outdoor seating. With an extensive menu, the welcoming establishment serves everything from mussels to marinated pork tenderloins—as well as crowd favorite fish and chips.
10) All Over NYC – Dog Parks
If there was any doubt that we love dogs in New York, just look at this list of dog parks all over the city in almost every neighborhood. So take advantage of it, and take your four-legged roommate for a run or a walk in the park.
To choose the top five speakeasies in New York, it’s probably a good idea to first define a speakeasy, since the term is perhaps too liberally applied to bars throughout the city. Speakeasies arose in the 1920s during the Prohibition era and served dangerously bootlegged liquor. Any alcoholic watering hole needed to be kept hush-hush: thus, the passwords, hidden entrances, and eccentricities commonly associated with speakeasies.
In a voyeuristic city like New York, where one can bird-watch one’s neighbors through the two-way mirror of parallel apartment windows, secrets and exclusivity rare, sought-after commodities. So it’s not all that surprising that, for the past decade or so, modern “speakeasies” have experienced a surge in popularity–so much so that composing a top five list requires setting certain criteria. Below are the best five speakeasies in New York City for history, entrance, location, atmosphere, and drink menu.
The Original: The Back Room
Lower East Side: 102 Norfolk St. between Delancey and Rivington
The Back Room is the real deal, because it actually was a speakeasy open during Prohibition. The entrance is a testament to its history: turn off the sidewalk, descend a staircase, traverse an underground alley beneath a storefront, emerge into a courtyard of fire escapes, climb a back set of stairs and enter a large, dimly lit room, furnished à La Belle Époque. Order a classic cocktail from the bar, which you will drink from a teacup, to give you plausible deniability in case of a police raid.
The bar is laid out in 2 levels: the bar strip is set slightly below a larger platform featuring a fireplace, a piano, bookcases, and cozy armchairs and couches. (And yes, one of those bookcases conceals a hidden room, giving double meaning to the bar’s name.) The Back Room can claim patronage by gangsters, thespians, and movie stars of the day. It has also been featured in Broad City’s “Hashtag FOMO” episode, where Abbi’s alter-ego Val makes an appearance.
Best Entrance: PDT
East Village: 113 St. Mark’s Place
PDT (Please Don’t Tell) is accessed through a phone booth within a Crif Dogs establishment in the East Village. Enter the phone booth, pick up the phone and dial ‘1’ to check in with the hostess on the other side of the wall. If granted entrance, your party will parade through the phone booth, to the confusion of Crif Dog patrons. For Doctor Who fans, just pretend the phone booth is blue and the experience takes on an added dimension: “It’s bigger on the inside!” On the other side, you’ll be treated to high-end cocktails accompanied by most excellent hot dogs – a winning combination.
Best hidden: The Campbell Apartment
Midtown East: 15 Vanderbilt Ave. entrance of Grand Central station
How can a speakeasy be tucked away in one of the most trafficked thoroughfares in New York City? Well, the best-hidden things are often hidden in plain sight. Perhaps you never knew of a gorgeous space located directly above the hustle and bustle of Grand Central Terminal: the Campbell Apartment.
This lofted bar is truly stunning, somehow resembling a medieval hall with its high ceiling, windows, and fireplace, along with the iconography and hieroglyphic patterning seen in the Egyptian wing of the Met. Formerly the office of 20s tycoon John W. Campbell, who had an “in” on high-end office space through his friend Vanderbilt, who financed the station’s construction, this space is a welcome respite from the hectic scene below. Also–and this is important–the Golden Age cocktail is served in a golden pineapple.
Best atmosphere: Gallow Green
Chelsea: Take the elevator at 542 West 27th St. for Gallow Green, or enter at 532 West 27th St. for the Manderley Bar
One thing you won’t usually get in a speakeasy is a view. Gallow Green is one of the most atmospheric bars in New York City: unsurprising, considering the creative forces behind Sleep No More are housed in the same building. Located on the roof of the McKittrick Hotel, Gallow Green boasts a beautiful view of the city and is decorated like an imagining of Midsummer Night’s Dream: a fairy garden complete with fairy lights. There’s also–inexplicably–a train car on the roof.
In the winter, take shelter from the cold in “The Lodge at Gallow Green,” redecorated to resemble a cozy, rustic winter cabin. If roomy rooftop bars aren’t secret enough (though many New Yorkers would beg to differ–a good rooftop bar is hard to find), check out the Manderley Bar a few floors down: a jazzy lounge at the entrance to the interactive, immersive performance of Sleep No More.
Best Cocktails: Raines Law Room
Chelsea: 48 West 17th St.
As a precursor to Prohibition, in 1896 New York City passed the Raines Law, which limited the Sunday sale of alcohol to hotels only. To bypass the law, bars hastily became slapdash “hotels.” Raines Law Room is named for such, but the name isn’t displayed outside the unmarked black door, behind which you’ll discover a sophisticated parlor with armchairs and couches, arranged to accommodate parties and cordoned off with curtains. Pull a lamp string on the wall to summon your waiter and order a delicious cocktail – everything on the menu is excellent.