Exotic bars

Escape to a swim-up bar, Bondi Beach or Rio.

  • The Grace Hotel Swim-Up Bar

  • Carnival

The Grace Hotel Swim-Up Bar

Perched atop Bowlmor Lanes, this just-opened hot spot brings the best of Vegas’s retina-burning flash to Manhattan (with a nod to Coney Island’s dearly departed Astroland). It’s a family-friendly spot by day and an adult playground after sunset, but both versions will test your skills at the dunk tank (or your guns at the bell-ringing strength game). Then feast on corn dogs and pulled-pork sliders while watching the clowns and jugglers that occasionally perform. 110 University Pl at 13th St (212-255-8188, carnivalnyc.com)
Vacation trade-in: Night at Circus Circus Hotel, Las Vegas: $34.95; Blue Cotton Candy Martini, made with Absolut Vanilia, blue curaao, pineapple juice and sweet-and-sour mix: $14

The Grace Hotel swim-up bar
An equal mix of tourists and locals splash around in this modern boutique hotel’s pool, flanked by a sunken swim-up bar, making it a refreshing retreat in the midst of Times Square’s grubbiness. The mellow neon lighting adds to the Miami-ish feel. Nonguests have to shell out $10 to swim and drink, which includes a towel rental. Stop by on Wednesday nights at 9:30pm for Drip, the weekly gay pool party, at no additional charge. 125 W 45th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-354-2323, room-matehotels.com)
Vacation trade-in: Round-trip flight to Miami: $203; green-tea martini with vodka, green-tea infusion and lemon juice: $15

Bondi Road
This Lower East Side joint does its best to emulate its namesake, a surfer beach in Sydney. Not only is the staff from Down Under, but the beer is too. Sip a cold one while sampling the fresh fish, cooked any way you’d like it, and you’ll almost feel the sea breeze ruffling your hair. 153 Rivington St between Clinton and Suffolk Sts (212-253-5311, thesunburntcow.com)
Vacation trade-in: Round-trip flight to Sydney: $1,055; Sand in Your Pants drink, with mango vodka, pineapple juice and Midori: $6

Step into this petite, sleek West Village space and you’ll be transported to the souks of Morocco. The chic design, with traditional Middle Eastern colors and patterns, attracts well-heeled Manhattanites, and the mix of authentic native tunes and hip-hop makes for a packed dance floor; even pro belly dancers join in. 162 Bleecker St between Sullivan and Thompson Sts (212-777-4555)
Vacation trade-in: Round-trip flight to Marrakech: $2,112; apple-flavored hookah: $15

There’s no need to pick just one warm-weather vacation destination: This dimly lit bar offers quite the global fusion of Latin America, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Africa. These myriad cultures are represented via beverages, music, and a crowd of locals and international visitors. A DJ spins every night, accompanied by live percussionists on Wednesdays through Saturdays. 81 South 6th St at Berry St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-387-5389, bembe.us)
Vacation trade-in: Round-trip flight to Rio de Janeiro: $706; rum punch, with three kinds of rum, guava, pineapple, lemon and orange juice: $7

Relive those days of summer camp seated on tree-trunk stools next to a roaring fire. A mounted deer head, archery gear and log-cabin decor complete the woodsy kitsch. You can even roast marshmallows while playing a round of Jenga. 179 Smith St between Warren and Wyckoff Sts, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (718-852-8086)
Vacation trade-in: Round-trip train to Ticonderoga, New York: $124; Dirty Girl Scout, a mud slide with crme de menthe: $9

Jade Island Restaurant
Totem poles, a waterfall, fake palm trees, shrunken heads carved from coconuts, an overload of bamboo and a Buddha statue leave no doubt that you’re in a tiki bar. Munch on traditional fare, like sesame chicken and shrimp in lobster sauce, alongside a clientele that spans three generations of islanders (the Staten kind). 2845 Richmond Ave at Platinum Ave, Staten Island (718-761-8080)
Vacation trade-in: Round-trip flight to Tonga: $2,566; Pineapple Paradise, a variation of a pia colada served in a hollowed-out pineapple: $8.25

Bring your harem to this opulent lounge for its ancient-Egyptian ambience. The namesake pharaoh is everywhere—a life-size King Tutankhamun coffin even guards the entryway. The scene is complete on Friday and Saturday nights, with belly-dancing shows, and the tunes flit among Middle Eastern melodies, international dance and NYC bar staples. 196 Orchard St between E Houston and Stanton Sts (212-961-7507, tutsny.com)
Vacation trade-in: Round-trip flight to Cairo: $3,589; Tut’s cocktail with Absolut mandarin, Stoli Razberi, Malibu rum, fresh lime, and pineapple and cranberry juices: $10

Winter drinking guide
It's getting darker and chillier outside by the minute. Just thinking about it makes us want to toss one back.