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

January 5, 2007 - by City Guide
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Across from Madison Square Garden (and near Macy’s and the Empire State Building), Joe O’s is the best place in the area to stop in for a drink while unwinding at a handsome, 50-foot-long copper bar and watching your favorite teams on plasma TVs. There’s live music and a late-night bar menu until 2am. Joe O’s offers delicious contemporary American food with intriguing accents of Italian and Irish classics for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week from 7am. 136 W. 33rd St btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves., 212-290-9200

Ha! Comedy Club is an inexpensive place to see good comedy in a laid-back atmosphere. The award-winning hosts, famous comic veterans, and even the eager newcomers are hilarious. Factor in some cheap drinks and finger food, and you’ll be set for a fun night. 163 W. 46th St. btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves., 212-977-3884

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

Situated just off Union Square near Greenwich Village and a downtown staple for eight years, Bar 13 is a lounge, bar, and dance club that offers cocktails and dancing with no attitude. 13 serves delicious cocktails, including the 13-ini (featured in Shecky’s “151 Coolest Cocktails from the Hottest Bars”), plus a wide selection of beers and premium liquors. There are three floors and different nightly themes, plus live music and guest DJs. 35 E. 13th St., 212-979-6677

Located in the heart of the Theatre District, Bill’s offers an experience from another era -- it originally opened as a speakeasy during Prohibition in this brownstone built in the 1860s. The decor features stained glass, chandeliers, turn-of-the-20th-century theatre posters, playbills, prizefighters, and racehorses. The menu offers hearty fare with a variety of seafood, excellent steaks, and filet mignon. There’s also live piano music Mon.-Sat. beginning at 8pm. 57 E. 54th St. btw. Madison & Park Aves., 212-355-0243

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. and Sat. Brazooka, a terrific Brazilian band, performs Mon., and Tues. nights feature local R&B/funk band Dysfunktion. The club also offers a full bar and complete food menu. And you never know who might make an appearance -- John Mayer (pictured) recently took to the stage and jammed with the house band. 115 MacDougal St. btw. Bleecker & W. 3rd. Sts., 212-254-3706

Anything else would be “just bowling” compared to Harlem Lanes. There’s something for everyone: 24 lanes of bowling located on two floors, each with its own distinct flavor. The family-oriented first floor includes a private party room and kid-friendly activities; the second floor is more sophisticated, with a stylish lounge. There’s also a modern cafe, sports bar, and arcade, just for starters. Harlem Lanes is one block from the 2 and 3 trains, and three blocks from the A, C, and D lines. 2116 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. btw. 125th & 126th Sts., 212-678-BOWL

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