As the location of two of the city’s few big dance clubs, Pacha and XL Nightclub, Cabaret & Lounge, Hell’s Kitchen draws crowds of late-night revelers both gay and straight. But some of the best nightlife in the neighborhood takes place in small cabaret venues and lounges like Don’t Tell Mama and Fairytail Lounge.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Hell’s Kitchen
What good is singing alone in your room when you can sing along with show tunes at a Theater District cabaret? Cabaret performers often congregate in the bar area before and after their numbers, and best of all, there’s no cover charge there, just a two-drink minimum. Sip a bourbon, hum a few bars, and soak up the Art Deco chic.
This Hell's Kitchen watering hole packs a lot of glittery, pseudo-Victorian personality into a small space. Patrons can sip cocktails off the backs of sexy centaur mannequins, or park at the bar while bopping their heads to tunes from various DJs during weekly theme nights.
The worldwide glam-club chain Pacha, with outposts in nightlife capitals such as Ibiza, London and Buenos Aires, hit the U.S. market in 2005 with this swanky joint helmed by superstar spinner Erick Morillo. The spot attracts heavyweights ranging from local hero Danny Tenaglia to big-time visiting jocks such as Jeff Mills and Josh Wink, but as with most big clubs, it pays to check the lineup in advance if you’re into underground beats.
Drinks like the Freudian Sip (Ketel One Citron, fresh ginger and lemonade), served in a nice big tumbler, are sure to leave you feeling blissfully worry-free at this cocktailcentric space. But it’s the impressive venue that draws young neurotics: two levels of slate floors connected by a dramatic staircase, crowned with a massive skylight. Mellow pop, house and techno play at the perfect level, allowing for both conversation and grooving.