For those who haven’t heard, there’s a new social media aesthetic that’s making headlines, and it may come as a bit of a shock. By now you’re well familiar with the “wellness girl” aesthetic that has dominated the scene for the past several years, and especially over the pandemic. We’re talking about the homemade green juice drinking, daily ab workout crushing, smoothie bowl eating, journaling, skin care routining girl. The girl who practices self care, prioritized her mental and physical health, who eats with balance, and who generally seems to be an all-round perfect wellness goddess.
But now that the days of work from home and lockdowns are over, there seems to be a brand new “it girl” vibe that’s taken over the scene. While it hasn’t been officially christened yet, TikTok has unofficially coined this the “night luxe” aesthetic. Now if you’re not up to date yet don’t panic, we get into what this really means, and suggest some of the hottest night luxe bars in New York to indulge yourself and your socials.
What is night luxe?
If you’re confused about where this whole night luxe thing came from and what it represents, let’s take a quick history lesson and think back to the early 20th century. The 1920’s or the “Roaring 20’s” as they were popularly known marked a decade defined by abundance, extravagance, and glamor. This was reflected in almost every part of life, but particularly in the social scene with elite and opulent parties, drinking, dance clubs, and new music. If you’ve read the Great Gatsby, this is exactly the kind of over the top wealth and soirees that we’re talking about. There was no such thing as too much.
Back to 2022, the night luxe aesthetic represents a kind of modern renaissance of Gatsbian ideals. It’s no longer about simplicity and balance, indulgence is in again. The night luxe lifestyle includes glamorous bars with costly cocktails served in the finest glassware, and decadent dinners at restaurants serving up oysters, seafood, steaks, and all sorts of pricey plates. When it comes to fashion, the days of going out in Lululemon or athleisure are numbered. Now it’s about luxury and bling once again – from diamond-studded designer bags to silky and sparkly dresses with jeweled heels to match. While the mood may be dark, the fashion, jewelry and accessories are bright, flashy, and most importantly extravagant.
Now once you’ve nailed down the whole night luxe fashion and have a killer outfit planned, you need somewhere appropriately lavish to be seen at. As we said, glamorous bars are basically second nature to a night luxe girl. If you’re still new to this whole thing and not quite sure where to go, check out any of these splendid spots…
Night luxe bars in New York City
Located by the refined lobby of the Iroquois Hotel in Midtown, the Lantern’s Keep is the ultimate spot to enjoy a high-class drink. The location itself is very unique – not quite a lobby lounge and not quite a cocktail bar – which only adds to the mysterious and hidden-gem nature of the place. Fitting perfectly with the night luxe aesthetic, the Lantern’s Keep specializes in the artful enjoyment of luxury cocktails, with each bartender bringing a unique flair to their hand-crafted drinks. The menu features a carefully-selected slate of creative cocktails, served in the most intimate and elite environment. Their menu offers a long list of drinks with options including drinks served up, served on a rock, or served tall. Some of our favorites include the fruity signature Iroquois #2 with cognac, lemon and pineapple flavors, the Regal Gold Rush with bourbon, honey, and grapefruit, or the Trouble Maker mixing up gin, sweet vermouth, cucumber, and strawberries. And let’s be clear, these drinks are as Instagramable as they are delicious. Whatever you go for, have your camera and your pose ready.
The Top of the Standard
Found as the name suggests at the top floor of the Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District, this opulent penthouse lounge is in reality anything but standard. The venue offers a stunning and expansive view of New York’s gorgeous High Line, and is particularly unmissable at sundown when live Jazz tunes also start to play. And as one of the city’s most sophisticated lounges, you can expect that the dress code is far from open – instead expect to wear your nicest smart casual attire, focusing on form-fitting dresses and sparkly heels. In other words, this is the perfect spot to show off some of your glitzy and glamorous night-luxe looks. Once you’ve taken in the view and settled in, enjoy some of their speciality cocktails and their small-plate menu.
The Campbell Bar
This iconic and artfully renovated New York institution can be found in Grand Central Terminal just off 43rd street. Once the office of a rich American financier, the space was restored to its original grandeur by a world famous design firm, and today it’s one of the classiest New York locations to enjoy a drink. The Campbell Bar preserves the property’s historic architecture while combining it with design elements of modern luxury, creating an atmosphere of ultimate refinement. The bar itself is curated with elegance and opulence, including quartzite accents, bold brass finishes and custom wood, mohair, and leather furnishings. The color scheme itself screams old money, with deep and rich tones of hunter green, midnight blue and regal red. As soon as you step in, you’ll understand why the Campbell Bar is the epitome of night luxe. At the bar you can choose from their selection of classic and modern cocktails prepared with bold and fresh ingredients, as well as locally brewed craft beers, and a top quality wine list. To fit with the refined night luxe aesthetic, the Campbell Dirty Martini or the Cold Brew Martini are absolute classics. For red wine girls, they offer several beautiful cabernet sauvignons from California, as well as of course stunning coupes of French Veuve Clicquot.
Raines Law Room
For an evening of slightly more laid-back luxury, which still befits the mystery and glamor of the night luxe vibe, head to Raines Law Room in Chelsea. In this speakeasy your drink is served with a side of history – the spot is named after the 1896 law to curb New York’s liquor and is therefore appropriately hidden and exclusive. Once you’re past the door buzzer and host, this windowless space will transport you into the 1920’s with its Chesterfield furniture, wall hangings, and antique decor pieces. And if you’re planning an ultra-intimate evening, choose one of their private tables, circled by velvet couches and black gauze curtains, as well as a personal buzzer for your server – it can’t get much more refined and mysterious than this. Their menu divides their drinks by flavor profile, including Garden Fresh cocktails with bright and floral mixes, Spice Rack drinks with a kick, Stirred and Strong mixes blending spice and spirit, as well as many other classics. If you’re particularly lucky, try one of their Reserve Cocktails, made with limited edition and small production spirits – get them while you can. And if you’re feeling peckish, their nibble tray is pretty fancy too, with gourmet olives, gruyere, sopressata, and other tasty bits.
For another high glamor and high up cocktail lounge, visit the exclusive Ophelia Lounge at the top of the Beekman Tower. Being on the 26th floor, it’s no surprise that this spot, with a 360 degree greenhouse style terrace offers some of the most breathtaking views of Manhattan and Brooklyn. And on the inside, the jewel-toned decor and elegant and dim lighting make it one of the city’s prettiest bars. While you may have come for the views, there’s no doubt that you’ll stay all night for the drinks. Ophelia boasts a crafted two-part cocktail menu which celebrates reinventions of classic and signature drinks inspired by the glory days of the 1920’s and 30’s – you see why we’ve deemed this place as night luxe. Some of their artsy and flavorful concoctions include White Lightning with moonshine whiskey and lychee notes, and the New-Groni which combines gin and campari with tonka bean, strawberry, cacao, and black forest tea. Or else you can’t go wrong with the signature Ophelia’s ascension, with smoked Jamaican pepper-infused mezcal, palm sugar, cedar smoke, and habanero pepper. With drinks this bold and innovative, you’ll hardly be able to stop yourself from downing one after another – just keep an eye out for the sake of your bank account! In any case, for the night luxe aesthetic, Ophelia is the place to see and be seen!