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Zagat's Picks Top Manhattan Bars and Clubs

The Hottest Bars in New York City

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Zagat Survey, publisher of the top NYC restaurant and nightlife directories, just released their new 2009 guide to New York City bars and nightlife. The new Zagat's guide is based on the opinions of 6,121 local late-night partygoers. These intrepid nightlife reviewers checked out 1,265 bars, lounges, clubs, and pubs this year.

For those worried that Zagat's is too old-school, have no fear that these nightlife reviews were written by your boss. Zagat's reports that 75% of their Nightlife Survey respondents are in their 20s and 30s. On average, survey participants go out two times per week and puts away three drinks on a typical night out.

And the winners are....

Here are the big winners in some of the top categories.
  • Most Popular: Pastis is #1 for the second year in a row.


  • Top Appeal: The posh King Cole Bar at The St. Regis Hotel reigns in the appeal category.

  • Top Decor: The dramatic interiors at Megu blow away the competition
  • .

  • Top Service: The service at Daniel was the most tip-worthy.


  • Beer Specialist: Otheroom in the West Village impressed with its brew selection.


  • Gay Bar: The Zagat's experts ranked Therapy as the #1 gay bar in New York.


  • Cocktail Expert: Milk & Honey, the discreet invitation-only speakeasy on the Lower East Side, seems to have been discovered by the masses. The decadent specialty cocktails received well-deserved high marks.


  • Dive: The top honor among dive bars goes to Jimmy's Corner in Times Square.


  • Rooftop: Head to the top of the Ritz Carlton in Battery Park for breathtaking views and refreshing cocktails at Rise Bar.


  • Strip Club: The best place in New York to see some skin is at Larry Flynt's Hustler Club.

Hot Neighborhoods

Survey respondents picked the Meatpacking District as the hottest nightlife neighborhood and also as the most over-hyped. Survey also shows (a la Family Feud) that the East Village has the most new nightlife spots this year and the Lower East Side also continues to heat up with newcomers including The Box. West Chelsea, the former center of the NYC nightlife universe, has declined with the closings of BED and Spirit and too much police attention.

NYC Nightlife Trends

New wine bars are opening up all over town. Survey respondents say they prefer to drink wine during the week and save the mixed drinks for the weekends. Eleven new wine bars have opened in the past year to meet the need for vino.

In Memoriam

With this guide, Zagat's also notes the passing of old favorites like the Roxy, CBGB's, and Tonic. Pour a 40 down the gutter to mark their passing.

More Fun Nightlife Facts from Zagat

  • The average drink now costs $10.12, an increase of 7% over last year's prices.
  • 77% of New Yorkers say the best bars and clubs also serve food.
  • 65% of New Yorkers say bar service is a rip-off.
  • 62% say they would go out less if the smoking ban were lifted in bars, clubs, and lounges.
The 2009 Zagat New York City Nightlife Survey is available online and at bookstores and other retail outlets.

Also see the latest Zagat picks for Best New York Restaurants

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