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New York City is known for its abundant and crazy nightlife. The city has more nightclubs, bars, pubs, taverns, restaurants, and social clubs than you can shake a stick at. Suffice to say, the bar and club scene is as varied and diverse as the population of New York City itself. You can find a venue for every sub-culture imaginable going off at one time or another.

General Overview

Clubs get going from 10 or 11 pm and keep going off until 5am in many venues as last call can be as late as 4am. Clubs that are new and hot can go off until 6am.

Clubbing can be an expensive hobby (especially for men) with cocktails averaging around $13.00 a pop and covers averaging around $25.00 on weekends and around $10.00 to $20.00 on weeknights. Special events held on premium holidays like Halloween or New Year's Eve can demand covers as high as $150.00. Fortunately, the competition for bodies can be fierce if a club is not new and trendy and so many promoters and venue owners offer reduced covers prior to 11 pm or with their flyer and some venues will agree to offer drink specials.

Typically there are two key components that make a club happen:

  1. There is a venue which is the location where the club is being held.
  2. There is the club promoter who organizes the nightly events.

Venues like to spread their events to different musical genres to keep their demographics varied and their pool of promoters large. This way they don't put all their eggs in one basket. Like anything else in New York, competition is fierce. So venue owners do like to hang on to promoters that draw the most people to their events. Likewise promoters who are not successful in packing people in will not get the best venues to host their events. Usually promoters make money on the cover charges and the venue owners make money on the bar receipts. However, it's not unheard of for venue owners to give especially hot promoters a small percentage of the bar to keep the promoter's event at his venue. 

Nightlife Around Town

There is no one area designated for clubbing within the city. Venues and events come and go too quickly for any one neighborhood to be recognized as THE hot spot for clubs. However, there are a few key neighborhoods where the concentration of bars and clubs is notable.

The Meatpacking District This district features an eclectic mix of clubs ranging from trip-hop, jazz, trance, gothic, and industrial to the more racy BSDM and LGBT fare.

Midtown Mid town clubs are spread out and usually are more mainstream. However there are a few notable exceptions such as Albion Batcave.

SoHo and Houston Street – Houston Street has a line of venues along it that host events from different promoters from a number of scenes such as fetish, gothic, industrial, retro, swing, trance, and techno.


The East Village The East Village has several venues that cater primarily to live and local acts. The most famous venue there is CBGB.

The Village The Village has several jazz, blues, and swing clubs as well as a nice selection of specialty clubs.

QueensThe mix of venues is very eclectic and most are ethnic. There are a lot of Hispanic and Jamaican clubs.

Brooklyn A range of clubs from rock and live acts to Russian social clubs in Little Odessa.

Harlem and The Bronx Huge RnB, hip-hop, and rap scene.

Jersey City and Hoboken An eclectic mix of primarily mainstream clubs and sports bars catering to yuppies. There are however a couple hip-hop and techno clubs in the area.

Staten Island Too sleepy to have much more than karaoke night at the local Irish pub.

Rave Scene – There is a healthy underground scene in the area. The best raves have their locations closely guarded until the last possible moment, but a favorite and large event is hosted from time to time under the Washington Bridge.


The minimum drinking age in New York City is 21. Characters that are underage can be expected to be turned away by staff in all clubs. It simply isn’t worth the loss of a job or a fine to just look the other way. Some clubs are more difficult than others to weasel one’s way into. However, note that minors will be at a +2 difficulty in their social rolls when dealing with an adult – especially an authority figure (that includes bouncers).

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