The 10 Best Bars In New York City

Raines Law Room

Photo: Zagat

If there’s one thing New York City is known for, it’s the nightlife. Why else would it be called “the city that never sleeps”?From hipster havens in the Lower East Side to the celeb-studded Meatpacking District, bars in New York range from dive-y to über exclusive.

Zagat recently released its 2012/13 New York City Nightlife guide, with reviews of over 1,000 lounges, clubs, dives, and watering holes—and we have the breakdown of the top 10 spots.

Did your favourite make the list?

Zagat ranks restaurants on a 30-point scale based on food, decór, and service. Ratings of 26 to 30 are considered “extraordinary to perfection,” according to the company.

#10 Louis 649

649 East 9th St.

Atmosphere: 27
Decor: 26
Service: 26

Billed as 'your neighbourhood bar,' Louis 649 is beloved for its well-made cocktails and low-priced drinks. Though no longer featuring live jazz, you're still likely to see the house pit bull Hamsa.

#9 Cafe Carlyle

35 E. 76th St.

Atmosphere: 27
Decor: 25
Service: 26

Located on the ground floor of the Carlyle Hotel, this UES upscale cafe is all about old-school New York glamour. It was the haunt of the late Bobby Short, and boasts Woody Allen (yes, that Woody Allen) most Mondays on the clarinet.

#8 Plaza Athénée Bar Seine

37 E. 64th St.

Atmosphere: 27
Decor: 27
Service: 24

This amber-lit lounge has a decadent Moroccan-feel with leather floor, plush armchairs, and rich velvet curtains. Located in the five-star Plaza Athénée Hotel, the quiet atmosphere has been touted as perfect for a romantic evening.

#7 PDT

113 St. Marks Pl.

Atmosphere: 27
Decor: 27
Service: 23

PDT, or Please Don't Tell, is a speakeasy hidden inside the East Village joint Crif Dogs. You actually enter through a telephone booth, and once you're inside, you can enjoy cocktails from the drink list created by master mixologist Jim Meehan to your heart's content.

#6 Brooklyn Bowl

61 Wythe Ave.

Atmosphere: 27
Decor: 26
Service: 23

This Williamsburg bowling alley/venue/bar/restaurant seriously has it all. With 16 bowling lanes, a 600-capacity performance space, and food courtesy of Blue Ribbon restaurant, it makes for a fun night out in Brooklyn.

#5 King Cole Bar

2 E. 55th St.

Atmosphere: 27
Decor: 27
Service: 25

This St. Regis Hotel bar is the birthplace of the Bloody Mary, and features a pricey list of drinks plus a Maxfield Parrish mural behind the bar. Don't be surprised to brush elbows with famous faces like Bill Clinton while taking in the dim-lit, gentleman's club ambiance.

#4 Bemelmans Bar

35 East 76th St.

Atmosphere: 27
Decor: 27
Service: 27

Bemelmans Bar is the Carlyle Hotel's second bar on this list, and with good reason. The whimsical Ludwig Bemelmans murals set the scene for the high society-types who frequent this spot for the superb drinks and jazz-laced piano music.

#3 Raines Law Room

48 W. 17th St.

Atmosphere: 27
Decor: 26
Service: 26

Perhaps the best place to impress your date in the city, this Flatiron speakeasy is hard to find and even harder to get into. But once you do enter, expect expertly concocted drinks, as well as speedy service when you pull the lamp string nearest to your velvet sofa.

#2 Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola

10 Columbus Circle, 5th fl.

Atmosphere: 27
Decor: 26
Service: 23

Named after jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie, this club honours his memory with live acts from some of the best jazz musicians around. There's no bad spot in the house as every table has exceptional views of Columbus Circle and Central Park.

#1 Madam Geneva

4 Bleecker St.

Atmosphere: 28
Decor: 27
Service: 27

This NoHo backroom bar earns its number one spot with fantastic drinks, expert service, and a sultry atmosphere. Gin is their specialty, especially the Jam Cocktail served with a dollop of house-made artisanal jam that quickly dissolves into your drink.

There's more NYC nightlife where that came from.

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