New York City, the birthplace of hip-hop music and the concrete jungle where dreams are made of, has been Ground Zero of the rap/hip-hop musical genre for four decades and counting. Grandmaster Flash and SugarHill Gang in the 70s. Run-DMC and The Beastie Boys in the 80s. LL Cool J, Jay-Z , Notorious B.I.G., and Nas in the 90s & aughts. A$AP Rocky, Nicki Minaj, and Cardi B in the twentyteens. With the turn of the Roaring 20’s Part Deux seeing electronic dance music tapering off slightly and hip-hop demonstrating a resurgence, it is no surprise that New York will continue to enjoy another decade as the shining lighthouse beacon for the freshest and hottest hip-hop nightclubs on the planet.
Without further adieu, here is our updated list of today’s top hip-hop venues – both the upscale and the ratchet ones – in the city that never sleeps.
1. Tao Downtown
Tucked away within the grandeur of the downtown location of Tao Group’s eponymous restaurant is a hidden nightlife gem and “in the know” oasis (not so surprisingly) called… Tao Downtown. Separated from the restaurant, the 2500 square foot drinks-only nightlife space has steadily kept a low-key profile while attracting wealthy Manhattanites and celebrities for late night/wee-hour cocktails, music, and dancing. A lot of newbs don’t even know there is nightclub there, as it is tucked away in the corner of the huge Tao complex away from the larger dining area. The opulently decorated club room is located one staircase down, and the ambiance is so intimate and dark that the place almost feels like a speakeasy. For those in the know, Tao Downtown remains one of the Meatpacking hotspots these days – especially on Tuesday nights when the fashion models come out to play – and it is a grand undertaking to gain entry on weekends. It is important to note that dining at the restaurant does not guarantee entry into the club; only a VIP table reservation or a personal invitation from Tao Group’s management team will suffice.
2. Avenue NYC
Tao Group has done it again. A trendy crowd, stunning tapestries and paintings, and of course luxurious no-expenses-spared VIP bottle service makes Avenue one of the most desirable nightclub/lounges in all of New York City.
Meet Avenue, its velvet rope, its guest list, and its polite but firm bouncers: it should feel like you’ve earned something when you make it past these burly gatekeepers. And give Avenue some credit: although it may not come off as inviting, it does make the door rigmarole worth it. The self-described gastro-lounge is festooned with wood paneling, aristocratic portraits, tarnished mirrors and other trappings. Guests sashay on the enormous dance floor downstairs while a DJ spins pop and Girl Talk-inspired remixes up top. There’s a surprising menu of eclectic comfort food—everything from waffle fries to Kung Pao Chicken Satay to Pretzel Dogs. It’s oddly homey for a place like this, but don’t let the menu fool you: although reservations aren’t required, signing up for bottle service makes it a lot easier to get in, you can book bottle service at Avenue NYC here.
3. Up & Down NYC
Every floor of Up & Down is an adventure, night by night and room by room. The upstairs maintains a high energy club atmosphere, while the downstairs takes on the role of a chill lounge that has the ability to go from chill to wild in 0-60, creating a back alley club feel. Balance is key when programming the club so that both floors are both vibrant.
“The music upstairs provides the atmosphere of a modern day nightclub, a mixed format of current hits and surprise performances while the downstairs is more of a musical scavenger hunt, covering all spectrums, from classics’ to music that is just a bit ahead of the curve.” Make the night special and easily book VIP bottle service reservations at Up & Down.
4. The Blond
A lot of clubs in the Meatpacking District and downtown are full of college kids and tourists who want to get plastered. The Blond started as one of those cool, super-chill spots for locals and has blossomed into a hotspot for well-heeled regulars and celebrity sightings. It’s got a good-looking fashionista crowd and everyone dresses the part, and hip-hop is always on the record. The venue boasts modern décor with burnished mirrors, velvet couches and bronze sculptures of people wearing masks in homage to the iconic “Eyes Wide Shut” movie. Atop the long bar are mushroom-shaped lamps made of copper, and coasters are printed with portraits of famous blond celebs like Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman and Candice Swanepoel.
After 11:30pm, the lines to get into The Blond typically spill around the corner, overseen by a couple of intimidating but professional bouncers. Though there’s no official dress code, it’s typical NYC: guys will get turned away for wearing shorts and t-shirts, while pretty girls in skimpy dresses and tight ripped jeans can magically move to the front of the line. The crowd there is a common NYC sight well: younger well-dressed model types trying to make it in the concrete jungle against older well-dressed gentlemen throwing around money and on the hunt like they’ve already figured out the law of that same jungle. While other exclusive ultra lounge in NYC can feel super stuffy, packed, and claustrophobic, the Blond is refreshingly spacious and airy, and decorated in comfort-inducing exquisite tones and textures.
5. Jane Ballroom
The Jane Ballroom, with its grand and eclectic décor, has hosted countless events and film shoots. The Ballroom is versatile and can accommodate smaller events on the Mezzanine level or larger functions in the entire space. Fridays and Saturdays are lively and the line can be long, but Thursday nights here are one of the best nightlife scenes in Lower Manhattan. The stunning Hudson River views from the Roof are unparalleled, and the interior Roof Bar is ideal for a more intimate gathering or to take a break from the heat on the dance floor. VIP bottle service requests for Jane Ballroom can be submitted here.
6. 1 OAK NYC
After passing through a coat-check anteroom where lines of cursive are engraved in the wall, patrons find themselves in an expansive room with a ceiling of raw oak slats and a zigzagging black-and-white floor that sets an El Morocco tone. It’s official, you’ve made it to 1 Oak. The room is divided by a central black lacquered bar doling out $20 mixed drinks, and, in one corner, a VIP-type area with a roaring fireplace and giant artwork by Roy Nachum (designer of Southern Hospitality and Saucy) of a sexy nude flanked by buffalo. Beyond that area is a cruise-y outdoor smoking lounge partially enclosed by mirrored walls. Ostrich-leather banquettes line under lit brick walls covered by metallic gold curtains, offsetting a bizarre centerpiece—another large artwork of a young blindfolded boy with two horses. In the front of the room there’s a D.J. podium outfitted with what looks and sounds like a very pricey sound system and in the back, risers for those happy to sit without silver Dom Pérignon buckets in front of them. Be sure to make a VIP table reservation and book bottle service at 1 Oak NYC here.
Not actually a hotel, Ravi Patel’s LES spot is named after a French World War II safe house. Hotel Chantelle is retro in design as unmarked doors transport you into Patel’s version of 1940’s Paris. The room exudes warmth as dark mahogany wood panels blend with the black leather pin tucked banquettes under the glow of flickering exposed bulbs, candles, and a gold floral pattern that bounces off dark wallpaper. Cozy up in the banquettes or sit at the bar, where friendly bartenders are happy to explain the cocktail list, which features modern twists on old-school classics. They’ll lead you towards three concoctions: The Pineapple Express (jalapeño-infused tequila, pineapple, and pomegranate), Libertine (gin, cucumber, lime juice), and the Kir Yvette (sparkling rosé, lemon juice). Mix up your night with the attached rooftop restaurant or underground dance club. Be sure to book your VIP table and bottle service reservations at Hotel Chantelle here.
For over a decade, Goldbar has been a top nightlife destination in New York City. Famous for it’s golden skulls, 12’ vaulted gold leaf ceilings and crystal chandeliers, Goldbar embodies sophistication. The standout team behind Goldbar is dedicated to offering an exceptional and genuine nightlife experience. The décor, fit for royalty, sets the mood for lavish indulgence. With an impressive cocktail menu, created by renowned mixologist Tim Cooper, Goldbar is devoted to innovative drinks, with only the freshest ingredients and top-notch spirits. You can book bottle service at Goldbar here.
9. The DL
The DL is one of the friendliest, least pretentious, and high-energy nightclubs not just in the Lower East Side, but across all of New York City. This bass-rattling multi-level venue is fully equipped with an outdoor rooftop wood deck patio with retractable roof where the main dance floor congregates around a DJ spinning popular open format tunes.
Down below, the second level of the DL is a darker, grimier no-frills hip-hop sweatbox that has become the calling card for LES nightspots over the years; the entrance level first floor is an inviting bar/lounge with modern tunes playing in the background. Views of the New York City skyline, strong drinks, great music, and a younger crowd full of college students – mostly from NYU, Hunter, Baruch, & the Manhattan fashion schools – early twentysomething Tri-State area professionals looking to blow off steam, and visiting tourists gone wild make the DL a must-visit option for weekend fun. Be sure to book this hot spot in advance, you can submit a bottle service request for The DL here.
10. Sky Room
Occupying the 33rd and 34th floor of the Fairfield Inn & Suites Times Square by Marriott and the Four Points Times Square by Sheraton, the bi-level ultra lounge transports guests to a high energy oasis atop 40th Street. Sky Room offers five distinct spaces: the North Terrace with its retractable roof, the South Terrace with its private cabanas, the Times Square Lounge, the Cube Balcony, and the Candlelight Lounge.
The North Terrace on the 34th floor provides a comfortable environment all year round with a fully retractable glass roof cover and panoramic glass walls, offering stunning views of the Times Square area. One standout highlight of the venue is the South Terrace on the top level, which features plush furniture and soothing ambient lighting amidst a lush landscape, set up to offer a luxurious space where guests can truly enjoy being in the heart of Manhattan, with views of the Hudson River and the Empire State Building. Enjoy sweeping city views and book bottle service at Sky Room here.
Want to discover everything New York nightlife has to offer? See the latest clubs, events, and pricing in the Discotech Mobile App. Or you can call/text us at +1 (415) 735-6716 for help planning your party weekend in the Big Apple!
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Failure to plan ahead – even if it’s just days or hours ahead – is one of the biggest mistakes that we see countless NYC customers make on a weekly basis, and it inevitably results in financial and logistical headaches – and embarrassing moments at the velvet ropes of entry – that could easily have been avoided.