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Gotham After Hours: Live Music, Cocktails, Comedy All in the City That Never Sleeps

From torch-song cabarets to cutting-edge dance clubs, from neighborhood bars to velvet-rope lounges, plus world-class comedy clubs and establishments with all manner of live entertainment, New York City is a world capital of nightlife. Here you can find libations from beer and wine to elaborate cocktails and high-end champagne, often accompanied by great food.

One of the best early-evening hotspots on the midtown scene is Bombay Palace, which is earning notice for its “cocktails & Indian hors d’oeuvres” happy-hour festivities. The array of appetizers offered Mon.-Fri. from 4 to 7pm are complemented by signature drinks: Bombay Rum Punch (Carabaya mango rum mixed with pineapple and orange juice); the Plaid Martini (Ketel One Citroen, melon liquor, drizzle of Chambord); the Blue Sky Martini (Ketel One Citroen vodka, splash of blue Curacao); the Ultimate Cosmo (Ketel One Citroen vodka, triple sec, lime juice, and a splash of cranberry); the Ultimate Dirty Martini (Ketel One vodka, olive juice, and olives); and the Dark Chocolate Martini (Ketel One vodka with Mozart dark-chocolate liqueur). 30 W. 52nd St. btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves., 212-541-7777

Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, Café Wha? was the original stomping ground for greats such as Dylan, Hendrix, Pryor, Cosby, and many others. Their legendary house band covers everything from the Beatles and the Stones to U2 and Nirvana Wed.-Sun., and the club showcases New York’s best comedians early in the evening on Fri. & Sat. Brazooka, a terrific Brazilian band, performs Mon., and Tues. nights feature local R&B/funk band disFUNKtion. The club also offers a full bar and food menu. 115 MacDougal St. btw. Bleecker & W. 3rd. Sts., 212-254-3706

Club Groove is the only place in New York City where you can hear the best live R&B and funk music seven nights a week. Every night at 9:30, the club features great house bands performing favorites from artists such as Earth, Wind & Fire, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder through Mary J. Blige, Usher, and Jay-Z. Club Groove also has a full bar and food menu, and offers one of the best happy hours in the city—all food and drinks are only $4. There is no cover charge except for Fri. & Sat. after 9:30pm ($5). 125 MacDougal St. at W. 3rd St., 212-254-9393

Co-founded by Rodney Dangerfield in 1969, Dangerfield’s is the longest-running comedy club in the world. It features top comedians straight from other leading clubs, motion pictures, and TV shows such as “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” “The Late Show With David Letterman,” “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” and Comedy Central. Stars who have performed here include Jay Leno, Jim Carrey, Tim Allen, Andrew Dice Clay, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and others. Dangerfield’s features no drink/food minimum that is rare for comedy clubs, making it an inexpensive place to get your laughs. 1118 First Ave. btw. 61st & 62nd Sts., 212-593-1650

Voted a top-rated comedy club by the Daily News and best comedy club in NYC by NY Press, Gotham Comedy Club is one of the city’s most elegant and upscale venues. It hosts seven shows a week with today’s top talent, such as Lewis Black and Colin Quinn. Even legends like Jerry Seinfeld drop in on occasion. Upcoming performers include Jim Mendrinos (10/5-6), Robert Kline (10/7), and Judy Gold (10/12-13). 208 W. 23rd St. btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves., 212-367-9000

A magical presentation awaits you at Ninja New York. It’s an eye-catching place—in fact, it’s a pitch-perfect recreation of an 18th-century Japanese ninja village, and magicians visit each table to perform illusions. There’s an extensive sake list, including several exclusive to Ninja (one even freezes as it lands in the glass). Ninja serves traditional Japanese dishes such as sushi and shabu shabu, while adding a French or Italian spin to others. Only the freshest ingredients are used at Ninja, as wasabi is prepared tableside and even the ginger is homegrown. 25 Hudson St. btw. Reade & Duane Sts., 212-274-8500

At Sofrito, an aromatic mix of authentic Puerto Rican cuisine, the magnificent sounds of music from around the world, and a Caribbean atmosphere takes you back to la Isla del Encanto. It’s also the new restaurant from Jimmy Rodriguez, of Jimmy’s Bronx Café fame. Mí casa, tú casa …Sofrito. On Sun., Carmen Carrasco sings in eleven languages; on Mon., Fri. & Sat., there’s a live Latin band. 400 E. 57th St. btw. First Ave. & Sutton Pl., 212-754-5999

Eat, drink, and be famous at Spotlight Live, a new dining and entertainment venue. Combining live performances by restaurant guests with a menu featuring inventive American cuisine created by Iron Chef Kerry Simon, Spotlight Live boasts four floors of interactive dining, private performance booths, and paparazzi. Guests can perform live onstage, assisted by make-up artists, choreographers, and professional back-up singers, and their performances are broadcast on a JumboTron live on Broadway as well as in real time on the Internet. The winners will have a chance to perform in front of major record-label executives. Enjoy frozen drinks, cocktails, panoramic views of live performances, and toast to your impending fame. There’s also an after-hours lounge experience with a patio. 1604 Broadway btw. 48th & 49th Sts., 212-262-1111

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