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Best Theme Bars in New York City

January 12, 2011 3:03 PM

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If you’re into sipping cocktails while playing trivia, listening to poetry or getting a manicure then check out some of our favorite theme bars.

Beauty Bar

beauty bar2001 Best Theme Bars in New York City
231 East 14th Street

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Gather under the chrome-drome hairdryers of yesteryear and sip on a cocktail. New York’s Beauty Bar opened in 1995 at the site of the original “Thomas Beauty Salon.” Today’s eclectic crowd can get a manicure and a martini for $10. Make sure to visit Beauty Bar’s sister location in Brooklyn — the newest addition to the Beauty Bar family (921 Broadway).


kgb bar Best Theme Bars in New York City
85 East 4th Street
New York, NY

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Writers gather at this bar that has become somewhat of a literary institution since it opened 17 years ago to read their works for free to an always grateful crowd. Sunday evenings are fiction, and Mondays most Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are poetry. Oh and the drinks are cheap and strong!

Zombie Hut

zombie hut Best Theme Bars in New York City
273 Smith Street
Brooklyn, NY
718 875-3433

Put on your grass skirt and get ready to party–island style. This tiki-bar is quite a standout among its Carroll Gardens neighbors and in a good way. It’s not often that you find a tropical escape in the city but if that’s what you’re looking for, then you’ve come to the right place. Sip on a Scorpion Bowl or guava mojito in a cabana hut or if you’re in a daring mood, roast a marshmallow over a flaming shot. From the plethora of bamboo, to the tribal masks, you feel like you’re somewhere in the middle of the pacific, making this a perfect stop on your staycation.


camp Best Theme Bars in New York City
179 Smith Street
Brooklyn, NY

The rustic log cabin interior is full of just about everything you’d see while away at summer camp, but not necessarily at a  bar: A bullseye, canoes hanging from the walls, lots of retro board games (Connect Four!) and even a deer mounted head above a fireplace give this a summer camp meets ski lodge feel. Try one of their specialty drinks (the dirty girl scout) while you munch on one of the smores you’ve just made over an open fire.

Trailer Park Lounge

trailer park lounge Best Theme Bars in New York City
271 West 23rd Street
New York, NY

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Tacky? Yes! Campy? Of course! Fun? Absolutely!! I bet you’d never think you’d find a trailer park in Manhattan, but that’s exactly what you’ll find when you walk into this 18,000 square foot bar and lounge in Chelsea. Cluttered with enough white trash memorabilia to last a lifetime (Tonya Harding pictures adorn the walls–need we say more?), the fun and friendly staff are there to make you feel right at home–even if that home feels like it’s in the middle of a cornfield somewhere. Try Jim Bob’s I.Q. at the fully stacked “tacky tiki bar” and don’t forget to drop your business card in their mother-in-law’s urn for a chance to win free dinner and drinks for two!

Flight 151

flight 151 Best Theme Bars in New York City
151 8th Avenue
New York, NY

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Who says airplanes aren’t fun? Adorned with all things aeronautic (airport signs are plastered on the walls; a hangar door hovers above the front entrance; a mural depicts a plane navigating its way through the skyscrapers and canyons of Manhattan). If you hangar around this sports bar, make sure it’s on Tuesday’s “flip night.” Pick a beer and flip a coin. If you call it right, the beer is free. If not, you were going to pay for it anyway! Thursday trivia nights and $4 margaritas on Mondays makes Flight 151 soar.

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  • Sarah Robison

    The designs these bars seem very unique. Having a theme for your design helps with creativity staying focused. These seem like fun places.

  • kate

    The Ninth Ward on Second ave btwn 11th and 12th is an amazing New Orleans themed bar restaurant circa 1820s. The interior is really well done and feels like you have left the city. The food is super and spicy too.

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