One of the best things about a night out in New York City is that anything can happen. The city abounds with lively people and exciting places, which could cross your path at any turn. And then there are those spots where you’re guaranteed a surprise or two throughout the evening. The next time you find yourself in the mood for something out of the ordinary, here are five fun bars in New York City where you can expect the unexpected.
Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleeker St
Billed as a multimedia art cabaret, music venue, bar, and gallery, Le Poisson Rouge has all the prerequisites for an upbeat and unique experience. Lady Gaga, Beck, David Byrne, Iggy Pop, and Yoko Ono start an all-star list of artists who have performed here. And every Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm, legendary drag queen Linda Simpson hosts Linda Loves Bingo. This highly entertaining game show is a glamorously fun romp where you play for prizes, merchandise from the Le Poisson Rouge store, and even cash! Admission is free and bingo cards are $10 for 5. As you can imagine, seats fill up fast so be sure to arrive early.
Johnny Utah’s, 25 W 51st St, #3
Are you a person who gets a little courage after a couple of drinks and is up for the next challenge? Well, head to Johnny Utah’s in Rockefeller Center where you can ride New York City’s only mechanical bull. After glancing over the “ride at your own risk” policy and signing a waiver, you climb up on the mechanical beast that has been designed to simulate the actual bull riding experience! Hilarity and laughs are sure to ensue as you and friends are bucked one by one into the pit. Hopefully, you’ll leave with no real injuries other than hurt pride. Cowboy boots and a hat are not required, but highly recommended.
Trailer Park Lounge, 271 W 23rd St
With a tag line like, “The place to meet your next ‘ex,’” the Trailer Park Lounge promises a night where anything goes. The interior is like a museum dedicated to celebrating the glory of kitsch. Get lost perusing a floor-to-ceiling display that includes everything from plastic pink flamingos and Dolly Parton dolls to the side of an actual trailer and a bathtub full of beer bottles. House margaritas pack a serious punch and the menu takes cue from ‘backyard’ favorites such as the double-wide burger, sloppy joe, tater tots, and moon pie.
Barcelona Bar, 923 8th Ave
You know you’re in for a real treat going to a bar that boasts a drink menu of over 100 shots. And let’s be honest, you down shots to get silly and have fun. Drinking at Barcelona Bar obliges you to get into character with props. Monica Lewinsky comes with a black wig to wear and a required, and highly suggestive, drinking method. Order The Return of the King and be honored with a gold gown. The Top Gun instructs you to sport aviators like Maverick when going down the hatch. Needless to say, events that unfold during a drinking session at Barcelona Bar are unpredictable, but full of good cheer.
Coyote Ugly Saloon, 153 First Ave
Boasting 14 locations in the US and more around the world, Coyote Ugly Saloon first opened its original location in New York City in 1993. Founder Liliana Lovel’s business model of “booze + beautiful girls = money” is nothing new. What was new was Lovel’s execution. She put her bartenders in the driver’s seat – they were calling the shots and barking orders, not the patrons. We’ll save the feminist discussion that usually arises right about here for another time. After garnering major buzz, the bar went on to inspire the movie “Coyote Ugly.” This is a place you’ll be surprised, offended, and entertained all in one night.
The next time you’re in Williamsburg, try these bars.