Don't judge a bar by its cover (or name). With a crowded dance floor in back blasting popular modern tunes and a few oldies, this spot appeals to boozy twentysomethings who relish getting a little sloppy.
Looking for an understated night? Don't come to La Caverna. The kitsch factor of this bar, decorated like a Roman cave—yes, really—remains unmatched elsewhere in the neighborhood (or perhaps anywhere in NYC). The dance floor is packed cave wall to cave wall on Friday and Saturday nights.
On the larger side for the neighborhood, Hotel Chantelle's three different floors provide three different experiences. The club-restaurant-bar's top level, complete with retractable-glass rooftop, features tables with bottle service for big groups looking to party; the ground floor is appointed with banquettes and standing room to mingle; and the basement gets rowdy with a dance space and plenty of drinks.
Manhattan is full of theme bars that try too hard. Thankfully, the Whiskey Ward isn't one of them. The saloon's refreshingly laid-back vibe is complimented by a pool table in the back, dark wood paneling, free peanuts and approximately eleventy-billion whiskey choices.
Owners of this intimate underground cocktail bar are also behind the popular Death and Co. in the East Village. Here the playful menu is divided into sections like "Firewater," "Highballerz" and, of course, "Nightcaps." The sense of humor extends to the drinks; consider the See No Evil (Avuá Amburana Cachaça, Old Overholt Rye, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao, macadamia nut and cinnamon; $16), which comes in a cup shaped like an eye-shielding monkey.
There aren't any menus at this speakeasy-style joint, but that's fine: bartenders are well versed in the stirring art of cocktail-ology. The industrial-chic space is a bit small and becomes crowded easily, so expect a wait if you go during peak hours—there is a no-reservations policy.