Forget the corkscrew. At The Bubble Lounge, a long sword is the most spectacular method of opening a bottle, and the staff here executes this saboring ritual every night of the week. It's just an added dash of entertainment to the regular lineup of live DJs.
So, just how many bubbles are at The Bubble Lounge? It would take a team of scientists or a very verbose toastmaster to answer that particular question. Bartenders pour more than 300 champagnes and sparkling wines by the glass and bottle?not to mention cognacs, scotches, and signature cocktails such as the Bubble Truffle: champagne, raspberry liquor, and dark Godiva chocolate.
These drinks are served to patrons lounging on plush couches and chairs, which line exposed brick walls supporting shelf after shelf of champagne bottles. To complement the drink and conversation, chefs prepare shareable small plates such as crispy crab cakes and mini cheeseburgers.
It should come as no surprise that the bartenders at Manhattan Proper know how to make a proper manhattan. They start with Basil Hayden’s small-batch bourbon and an exact blend of sweet and dry vermouth. After mixing in a dash of bitters, they add the finishing touch: a bourbon-soaked cherry. The care with which this drink is crafted finds its reflection in the bar’s impeccably designed interior, where lofted ceilings and minimalist, industrial-chic decor create a space that can accommodate huge crowds without feeling too packed. The extra elbow room is fortunate, since guests arrive in droves on the weekends to feast on burgers, catch live sports games on the bar’s flat-screen televisions, and obsessively count the buttons on the dining room’s tufted leather sofas.
Spirit Cruises specializes in showing off New York Harbor with its luxurious, three-deck cruise ship. With a 600-person capacity, this Coast Guard–approved vessel lets passengers relax and engage in the convivial delights of a dinner cruise. Delicious comestibles, an interactive DJ, live performances, and dancing spicy up evenings that might otherwise be spent on a couch or petting Pat Boone's hamsters.
For more than 30 years, the captains and crews behind Manhattan By Sail have been giving visitors and locals alike the chance to view the city from an entirely new perspective. Their 158-foot Clipper City vessel is a replica of a 19th-century cargo schooner that was constructed in the 1980s using plans purchased from the Smithsonian. Clipper City can hold more than 130 passengers between masts and rigging that tower as high as 120 feet above the deck. The vessel can set sail on daytime, sunset, and evening cruises, including specialty excursions that allow passengers to enjoy a champagne brunch, a wine tasting, or an impromptu sea-shanty sing-along.
The resident guides at Uncle Sam's New York Tours masterfully navigate the city to give sightseers a smattering of historic sights, hip bars, and chic shopping locales. Leisurely strolls allow tourists to savor the sights of each stop, as opposed to whizzing by on a tour bus or being launched past from a trebuchet. Engaging guides steer guests down Wall Street and dive headfirst into the Greenwich Village digs that have been frequented by creative geniuses for decades. After dark, pub crawls traverse the entrances of some of New York's most hallowed watering holes, and nightclub tours lend tastes of the New York nightlife, along with glimpses of reticent celebrities in rare chicken-dance performances. Uncle Sam's sightseeing sages also conduct private luxury tours, ferrying guests about town in private SUVs and stretch limos.
A cluster of crystal chandeliers hangs over the sunken dining area, and jet-black tables sit against a wall emblazoned with the name RSVP in a variety of differently sized type. Even with this interplay between classical and thoroughly modern touches, RSVP unwaveringly commits to a timeless spirit of sophistication and elegance. This spirit helps bridge the gap between the low-lit club ambiance and the selection of refined international cuisine that the New York Times described as "a menu of comfort dishes dressed for a party." Chef Seth Levine deftly puts a spin on certain classics while leaving other dishes to the rules of tradition. Beef-tartare tacos invite diners to load miniature taco shells with raw, ground filet mignon, capers, and onions. The 12-ounce filet mignon arrives grilled and simply adorned with a humble red-wine-shallot reduction. Even the all-day brunch menu features a bit of modern flair, with unexpected elements such as flatbreads with smoked salmon, mascarpone, and dill. The common denominator is that every dish includes ingredients from local farms and markets whenever possible. Scattered collections of tables may seem more fitting for dinner than for the post-meal nightlife, but bartenders keep spirits high by mixing as many as 20 different specialty cocktails for patrons to sip and share. Themed nights, live DJ sets, and cabaret performances take place from time to time and keep the atmosphere as entertaining as working at a bubble-wrap factory.