The Standard High Line Rating: 4.0 Pearls
It didn't take long for The Standard to rocket to the top of the New York party scene after its summer 2009 opening. It has bars to fit any taste: the casual Biergarten; the slightly hipper Living Room, where live DJs spin; and the Top of the Standard on the 18th floor, which includes a celebrity hot spot lounge (formerly known as the Boom Boom Room and, briefly, QT) and a not-yet-open night spot (nicknamed the "Black Room," "Black Bar," or "Tub Club") that features a huge, four-foot-deep Jacuzzi and roof terrace. Keeping up with all the names is almost as exhausting as waiting in line to get in. (If you're not on the guest list, arrive early -- or expect to wait all night.)
Gramercy Park Hotel Rating: 5.0 Pearls
The Gramercy Park Hotel's velvet-heavy Rose Bar is one of the hottest places in the city for the hip, beautiful, and famous to meet over drinks. Just don't casually stroll into the Rose Bar after 10 p.m. and expect to get a table -- unless, that is, you've been on the cover of a fashion magazine or won a Grammy in the past year or so. Hotel guests do at least have an edge: They're entitled to jump the line if people are actually waiting to get in. And they can book reservations for a table through the concierge -- which is strongly suggested if you hope to sit down, though even that isn't a guarantee.
Gansevoort Park Avenue Rating: 4.0 Pearls
After tremendous success with the original property in the meatpacking district, the idea with Gansevoort Park Avenue is to bring a slice of glamor and nightlife to an otherwise sleepy (at nighttime) neighborhood. It's hard to say just how many bars this hotel has, because many of the nightlife areas run into one another, but suffice it to say there's an impressive amount of space in which to party -- the Plunge lounge that runs across the top floor of the hotel and out onto the pool deck; the rooftop sundeck-cum-event space; the Blue Room and the Red Room -- the list goes on. The hotel has been hosting A-list events since before it even fully opened.
Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC Rating: 4.0 Pearls
60 Thompson Rating: 4.0 Pearls
A60 is one of the city's most exclusive rooftop bars -- its open only to card-carrying members (read: celebrities, fashion types, and other bold-named scenesters) and hotel guests. Unlike some supposedly members-only clubs, it actually isn't that easy to get in without a connection, and those lucky few who do can enjoy the city views in a low-key, surprisingly unpretentious atmosphere. Thom Bar, which has a minimalist, dark-wood interior and and attractive, black-clad staff, also draws a happening scene and stays open until 2 a.m.
Soho Grand Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The music at the Soho Grand gets upbeat and loud in the evenings, as the lounge fills with twenty- and thirty-something scenesters -- men in dark skinny jeans, women with chic bobs -- and you often have to push your way to the bar. The scene is particularly frenetic on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, when a DJ spins.
Thompson LES Rating: 4.5 Pearls
DJs spin regularly at Above Allen, a scene-y lounge with a deck area and retractable roof. It's supposedly members only, but anyone willing to wait long enough in line can usually get in. Once you're past the velvet rope, you can rub elbows with the hip and beautiful and take in stunning views of the Manhattan skyline.
Room Mate Grace Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Formely Andre Balazs' Hotel QT (the same man who now owns the Standard, listed above), Room Mate Grace has maintained the philosophy of affordable rooms and a fun party atmosphere near Times Square. The Grace's four-foot-deep, 24-hour pool features the city's only swim-up bar -- and you'll pay for the privelege (drinks, like the lychee martini, run about $16). Club lights and a DJ spinning five nights a week help create a club-like vibe, and organized parties, such as the Wednesday gay pool party, sometimes take over the space.