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All About New York City Bars
By Ryan Bifulco

OK, let's establish some ground rules. It's called the City, not Manhattan. And under no circumstance should you ever say New York City. Yes, we know some New Yorkers do take things a bit too far and say they are from the City even when they are visiting relatives in Tulsa - where the nickname really loses its luster.

Whatever it is you are trying to do while you're in the City, do it quickly and get out of the way. That applies to ordering at the deli (where do you think the Soup Nazi idea came from?), riding the escalators, crossing the street or buying a paper. Things have a faster pace up here and people like it that way. This City will eat you alive if you don't prepare properly.

But even with all of the millions of people scurrying around, you can still blend into the madness and fit right in. That's because everyone is too busy to notice you as they race to the subways, run to catch the ferries, or fight for a cab. New York has a "kick you in the teeth" attitude that can make you feel satisfied when you actually accomplish something. And, you know you earned it because you've just navigated thru all the madness. Here's a local tip so don't sound like a tourist when you are downtown- it's pronounced "How-Stin" even though it is spelled like Houston. SoHo means south of Houston - now go figure out NoHo on your own.

Immerse yourself in the City, with all it has to offer, and you'll understand why it's like no other place on earth. The diversity, the energy, the attitude - you can find anything and everything in the City that never (EVER) sleeps. There's always a new neighborhood to explore, another restaurant to try, another club to dance at, and another bar to drink in.

Dreams have been realized here since the first settlers and you can feel that same spirit as you walk the streets of each neighborhood. Where else can you see millionaires mingling seamlessly with the working class? From munching on their morning bagels to singing along with Frank Sinatra at the end of the Yankees game, New Yorkers share the local pride. Maybe it's because everyone has one thing in common - they've all lived in that 300 square foot studio apartment and paid $2000 a month for it. And why does everyone say their address like it's the most regal location in the known universe?

NYC was built (and still runs) on its neighborhoods. You'll find that each has its own character, so get out and explore. People from all walks of life are really what make this place so special.

Bars & Nightlife

The City comes alive at night (and its usually when most are tucking themselves in for a good night's sleep!). Times Square has more lights than a sound stage and feels like midday even at 2:00 am. With so many people in town each and every night (and I mean, each and every night) there are plenty of special occasions that must be celebrated. Whether you're out for a birthday, promotion, or the eminent "Girls Night Out" - here are some journeyPod Picks:

Maritime Hotel: Yes, we are listing a hotel as a pick for our Nightlife category and it's not because of what goes on behind closed hotel room doors. The entire city block is just one big open air extravaganza right out of South Beach. Located at 363 West 16th St. (at Ninth Ave.), this place was once the headquarters for the National Maritime Union. Now, it's a glamorous Chelsea Hotel that draws a trendy nightlife scene. Among its hot spots are Matsuri - sushi restaurant, a Japanese-themed nightclub called Hiro and La Bottega - a bar/trattoria which extends outside into a 6,000 square foot patio. Ah, and how can we forget to mention the party cabanas on the terrace?!

Pacha: Talk about a high energy import that lets you explore the vibe of Ibiza without stepping foot outside NYC (located at 618 W. 46th St. - between 11th Ave. and West Side Hwy). This international nightclub transports club-goers from NYC to the steamy tropics, featuring four floors (and 30,000 square feet) of options. Navigate a maze of staircases, palm trees, mirrors and tarp canopies. You'll find drop down projection screens, staging runways, and intimate retreats (check out the Jacuzzi-style booths).

Passerby: Screwdrivers are back and somehow they made the Greyhound even cooler. Their juicer will freshen up your cocktails and their glowing "Saturday Night Fever" dance floor will liven up your evening. A stylish little hole-in-the-wall that features great drinks and an easy, laid-back crowd. Passerby is located at 436 W. 15th St. (between Ninth & 10th Aves.).

White Horse Tavern: A super-popular West Village institution, White Horse Tavern is quiet, literary, and features lots of wood - a former haunt of Dylan Thomas. Good for a few laid-back Happy Hour pints with old friends and colleagues. Just make sure you're not watching your waste line if you decide to order grub - the big juicy burgers and slab-cut fries are worth the calories! White Horse Tavern is located on Hudson & 11th Street.

Bungalow 8: With so many luxuries offered at this honeymoon-suite locale, who has anytime for sleep? If you're looking for great drinks and interesting snacks, this mini-resort provides it. A hospitality-themed lounge, Bungalow 8 offers everything but the mint on your pillow. Perfect for night-owls who have trouble turning in. Bungalow 8 is located at 515 W. 27th St. (between 10th & 11th Aves.).

Gypsy Tea: Despite the name, there's no Stevie Nicks vibe here. But what you will find is a two-level hip-hop destination where you'll often see sections full of A-listers from the fashion and celebrity world. With four unique lounge settings (and over 10,000 square feet) of banquette-like seating, cushy pillars, a grand aquarium and room to dance, most flock to Gypsy Tea for its VIP section and bottle service. Make sure to taste the house specialty - The Gypsy Cosmo! Rated 2005's Hottest New Lounge, Gypsy Tea can be found at 22 W. 24th St. (between 5th & 6th Aves.).

Pink Elephant: Bring a few credit cards and your swankiest shoes when you visit this luxurious bottle service venue (located at 527 W. 27th St., between 10th & 11th Aves.). With a pheromone-shooting scent machine, you'll find your libido-sparking hormones at full attention and the scene completely intoxicating! The door can be tough, but worth the trouble for the crowd AND staff you'll find when you enter the gates. Pink Elephant boasts a kinetic lighting system, argon lasers and a liquid nitrogen gas tank catapulted from the ceiling (for those moments when the dance floor gets too heated).

Tortilla Flats: There's a party every night at this small Tex-Mex joint. Great for food and margaritas (try the strawberry one - you can get them by the pitchers), Tortilla Flats is a cheap and fun cantina that's always crowded with post-work folks looking for a good time. Its located on Washington Street & 12th.

Trailer Park Lounge: Located at 23rd Street (between 7th & 8th Avenues) this place is an ode to an old trailer park - screen door, unmatched vinyl chairs, velvet pictures of Elvis, Marilyn and more. This is the place to be if you want good comfort food (try the sweet potato fries, tator tots and mac n' cheese) and big potent drinks (the margaritas are the size of your head!) after a hellish day with the boss. With its kitschy decor, Trailer Park is a great place - sans pretension or attitude.

Dive 75: A dimly lit watering hole with four TV's, 19 beers on tap, a free Wi-Fi connection, a 155-gallon fish tank, board games up the kazoo (Uno, Monopoly, Connect Four) and friendly waiters that make you feel like home - who needs anything else? Dive 75 (located at 101 W. 75th St. - between Columbus and Amsterdam Aves.) is no dive at all!.

BLVD: If you want a lounge, a dance-floor and food under one roof - this is the place that delivers all three (and with class). Located on Bowery (at Spring Street) BLVD is a mega one-stop shop that you can check out for a pre-dinner drink or to spend the entire evening. Great for a first date and when you're not sure where the night is going to take you (no need for an "emergency phone call from a friend") - its easy to get lost in the crowd in this tri-level complex.

b.e.d. N.Y.: Manhattan, we'd like you guys to meet South Beach. Beautiful people, beautiful space - this bi-level penthouse located at W. 27th Street, is the city's first downtown restaurant that offers two dining floors, a 360-degree rooftop view of the midtown skyline and beds for dining, drinking, and just chillin. The beds invite everyone to be a wee bit more "free spirited." Whoever said you can't dress up to go to bed?

Sutton Place: This laid back, yet hip bar is your multi-option destination. Whether you're meeting your BF for some late night drinks or just watching the big game, Sutton Place is where it's at. The venue features 15 televisions with four large-screen projectors, a separate lounge with a fireplace and a 46 foot rooftop retreat. Sutton Place is located at 1015 2nd Ave. (between 53rd and 54th Sts.).

230 Fifth: Planning an after-work soiree with your colleagues or a weekend nightcap with your new guy? This expansive (can accommodate nearly 1,000 guests) deco-style penthouse lounge and tropical wraparound rooftop have views that even Trump should envy! Where else can you find almost 360 (unobstructed) degree views alongside palm trees? 230 Fifth is located where else but, 230 Fifth? (At the corner of 27th St.).

Le Bryant Park Cafe: A trendy outdoor bar perfect for singles and people watching during those balmy summer nights in NYC. Sitting at this place in the warmer months can make you feel like you're in Paris. They host free jazz and other performances throughout the week (with free outdoor movie nights on Mondays). During off season, the singles scene travels indoor to the Bryant Park Grill. The Cafe is located at 476 5th Ave. (at 41st St.).

Shopping

It's the only city in the world where you can forget to pack your little black dress and you're not out of luck. Just simply run across the street and buy anything you need with ease. That brings us to a journeyPod Pick for all you shopaholics out there. Century 21 (which is way downtown, but worth the cab fare or subway to 22 Cortland St., between Church & Bdwy.). No, not the real estate moguls - Century 21 is a retail store with great deals on top designers and a bargain-hunter's dream. If brand names are your weakness, you'll savor every moment while pawing through the medley of racks of designer duds. Where else can you pick up an Armani suit at 50% off or save hundreds on that dress that's all the rage?

journeyPod.com is the only place you need to visit for information on the trendiest bars and restaurants, the most luxurious hotels, and the most exclusive parties and shops for discriminating travelers. Visit journeyPod.com for the lowdown on where to go in Atlanta, New York, Miami, LA and other major cities around the world, and listing to our monthly travel podcast for the best in upscale travel and entertainment. If you like the finer things in life, journey to journeyPod.com!

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