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6 Essential NYC Nightlife Experiences to Try in 2020

In the city that never sleeps, the center of gravity for the city's nightlife scene is truly ever-shifting. A neighborhood that was the "it" place to party last year may well be a nightlife dead zone in the following year. In addition, nightlife trends come and go at an alarming rate. 2019 saw the closure of a number of once-iconic New York nightlife venues, with the most significant casualty undoubtedly being the Brooklyn Techno temple Output, which shuttered its doors for good at the start of the year. However, the impermanence of New York's nightlife is part of what gives it its energy and appeal. If you're in town in the year ahead and need to know where will be good to party, read on to find out the absolutely essential NYC nightlife experiences for 2020.

joe's pizza night village

Photo by Matteo Modica on Unsplash.

1. Pool Party in the Meatpacking District

There are plenty of venues that have failed to live up to the hype in this city, but there are those select few that you can immediately tell will withstand the tests of time. Although it was undoubtedly one of the most hyped-up nightlife spots of 2019, the rooftop club Le Bain, perched atop the Standard Hotel's Meatpacking District outpost, has consistently surpassed expectations. This sprawling, effortlessly stylish spot comes complete with an indoor pool, flawless cocktails, unbeatable bookings, and the most heart-stopping views in the city. This is the place to watch the sunrise in 2020.

2. Channel Your Inner Nighthawk

While New Yorkers have once again rediscovered the joy of dancing into the wee hours, the classic American past-time of the all-night diner has recently come back into vogue. While iconic diners such as the Empire Diner in Midtown were once under threat from developers, the resurging popularity of these classic venues has kept the gentrifiers at bay for now. For an exciting night spent jamming to the jukebox and gorging on some American classics, make sure to work a diner-crawl into your schedule. There are countless venues to choose from, but the absolute essentials on your itinerary should be the Georgia Diner in Queens and Daisy's Diner in Brooklyn.

3. Boogie in the Bronx

The historically overlooked and neglected borough of The Bronx is finally coming into its own, as partygoers and insomniacs flock to experience the lively and diverse nightlife scene. The riverside area of Highbridge is widely recognized as the place to party in the Bronx right now, so make sure to explore the local bar scene once you're here. There are plenty of places worth hitting up, with Sam's, Krystal Bar, and the Bronx Draft House all being seriously worth a look-in. If you do one thing on your night out in the Bronx, make sure to hit up a Latin club if you want to dance like the locals.

slot machines

Photo by Benoit Dare on Unsplash.

4. Try New York City's Only Real Casino

New York City may not be much of a destination for gamblers, but if you're a fan of the slot machines and don't fancy a detour to Nevada, then you're still in luck. The Resorts World Casino in Jamaica, Queens, is the only venue offering casino gaming in the entire city. Given the surging popularity of online casino games in the past year, this spot will likely become a must-visit for locals and visitors alike in 2020. Many of the slots supplied at this site can be found online at Amatic, which is one of the most popular suppliers of online slot games in the United States. Try being a high roller in 2020.

5. Head to a Sunday Afternoon Rager

For the past couple of decades, the city has been struggling to live up to its global reputation as the city that never sleeps. Years of toughening licensing laws and NIMBYism have meant that many nightclubs barely stay open past 3am. However, this is finally starting to turn around, thanks to the hard work of a couple of pioneering and determined venues. One of these is the EDM venue Nowadays in Queens, which has taken inspiration from European techno clubs and has begun offering weekend-long parties that truly don't stop until Monday morning. For an unforgettable experience, hit up Nowadays during their Sunday afternoon sets, where you can sip a beer and shake it to some lighthouse on a sun-kissed New York afternoon.

6. Catch a Late Movie

Those nightcrawlers looking for something a little more mellow can always catch a late movie in a quintessential New York institution. The Film Forum in the heart of Greenwich Village has been offering all-night screenings of indie movies since opening back in 1970, and very little about the original experience has changed since. Soak up the nostalgia in 2020 by grabbing a ticket to a 1am movie screening, some buttery popcorn, and a big gulp.


These are the unmissable nightlife experiences any visitor to New York needs to try in 2020. Add them to your itinerary before anything else.

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