Nightlife

Palm trees and lush, brightly colored potted plants…huge sun and rain umbrellas…an outdoor bar…am I dreamily sipping a Mai Tai on the island of Antigua?

As it turns out, New York City’s underground art party scene is still alive and kicking—thanks much in part to Susanne Bartsch. The nightlife and gay culture fixture is putting the McKittrick Hotel on the map as a destination not only for the performance Sleep No More, but a bi-weekly performance art party aptly named Shhh!

When I told a friend I was headed to Green-Wood Cemetery last Thursday evening for my birthday, he accused me of trying to make a point about the cycle of birth and death. But the real reason I was going was much more glamorous: There were to be drinks and music in the beautiful stained-glass dotted cathedral on the grounds, which meant I could not only drink Brooklyn Brewery beer in a church (a lifelong goal) but wander the beautiful grounds with a drink in hand and music in my ears.

I hate beer. I only drink beer that doesn't taste beery -- those fruity Belgian Iambics, say, or the shandy, a traditional British drink that's half-brew, half-lemonade. But the latter, alas, is usually only found in Britain or the occasional British-channeling pub. So, imagine my delight the other day at DBGB, when a glance at the bar menu revealed a whole section of shandies.

The McKittrick Hotel is rather famously known for playing host to the interactive theater production Sleep No More. You've probably heard rumors about it floating amongst chatter of your coolest friends. But what many people have not been informed of is that the hotel is also home to a lovely roof garden and bar, Gallow Green, as well as periodic musical shows in the Manderley Bar below, which you can visit without the costly entrance fee to the play.

As much as I am a fan of contemporary rock (Black Keys, Rihanna, Coldplay), I have to admit I am also a classic rock and roll dinosaur, having come of age in the mid 1970s and 80s. In college, even though it was post-breakup, I was still a bonafide Beatles fanatic, complete with card-carrying fan club membership and appropriate tears and screams when I blasted “Meet the Beatles” or “Revolver.” So, naturally, I went gaga for “Let it Be,” the Beatles “concert experience” currently on Broadway, through Dec. 29. The show was designed to celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary (an import from London’s West End).

What do you get when you mix a famous purveyor of fine cigars and cigarettes with a hip whiskey distillery slash chocolate factory connected to a chic bar in Red Hook, Brooklyn? The coolest pop-up shop that ever was. Nat Sherman has opened up a discreet pop-up library of the finest smokes right around the corner from a little known bar named Botanica, which is also carrying the cigars for its delicious pairing specials.

The heart of Times Square is an unlikely locale to find a charming, intimate drinking venue. But The Rum House, tucked into the side of the Edison Hotel, proves that New York City, at every turn, has tricks up its sleeve. This cozy space is complete with all the ingredients one desires in a cocktail bar—leather banquets, romantic lighting, nightly entertainment at their in-house piano, and of course, strong cocktails.

Ding-dong!, DOMA is dead. The clouds part and Supreme Court Justice Kennedy's voice booms from above: "The avowed purpose and practical effect of the law here in question are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States … DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution."

I must have been born out of my time. My favorite music is swing, and what I wouldn’t give to have lived in the era of the big bands (roughly 1925-45), and heard Benny Goodman’s rendition of “Sing, Sing, Sing,” culminating in that sexy drum solo, when it debuted. Well, recently I did get a sense of those days at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Swinging with the Big Bands concert.

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