I have lived, worked, and traveled in NYC for well over thirty years. So, I know where to find fun restaurants in NYC.
This way I can cut loose and enjoy delicious food paired with incredible ambiance. Yeah, this is exactly what I need when I am looking to unwind during the weekend at some of the coolest restaurants in NYC.
However, not all restaurants are created equally. Some are massive tourist traps that you’ll want to avoid at all costs.
But, if you’re not from the area then it’s hard to know which places are awesome and which NYC eateries are awful.
So, use this local guide to figure out which unique restaurants in NYC are worth a visit.
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Fun Restaurants in NYC – Manhattan
1. Beetle House
Easily one of the coolest themed bars in NYC, you’ll love the chaos and eccentric decor of Beetle House.
Yeah, think The Nightmare Before Christmas meets Beetlejuice with surgical equipment adorning the walls.
However, what elevates Beetle House to the next level are the innovative cocktails, with crowd-pleasers like “This is Halloween!” and “The Witch’s Brew”.
There’s even a food menu that you can dig into if you’re hungry and looking for one of the most unique things to do in NYC at night.
Just be forewarned that this place will be packed and the drinks are way better than the food IMHO.
You will also have to make a reservation and they offer a pre-fixe menu only.
But, the mac and cheese is good and the smoky atmosphere with creepy music and costumed performers makes it one of the coolest things to do in NYC.
Afterward, check out some of the cheapest clothing stores in Manhattan since they are all over this part of the city.
Address: 308 E 6th St, New York, NY 10003
Hours: Open Sunday and Wednesday from 4:00 pm to 12:00 am and Thursday through Saturday from 4:00 pm to 2:00 am.
Price: Drinks start at $14.00 each.
How to Get There: Take the 6 train to Astor Place or the R/W train to 8th Street Station and walk from there.
2. The Elgin
This sauve yet sophisticated restaurant in Midtown West is a top pick for one of the fun restaurants in NYC.
No, they don’t have dinosaurs dancing across the room or a cauldron where you can brew wizardly potions.
But, this vintage-inspired restaurant does have a MASSIVE whiskey menu and does modern reimaginings of classic American comfort food with the cheeseburger egg roll.
Yup, so stinking good. So, go back to the early 1900s at this epic spot and order a killer egg roll for me. It’s one of those foods you must eat in NYC.
Address: 64 W 48th St, New York, NY 10036
Hours: Open Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 am to 12:00 am, Saturday from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm, Sunday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm, and Monday from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm.
Price: Cocktails are $18.00 and Mains are $26.00+ each.
How to Get There: Take the B/D/F/M to Rockefeller Center and walk from there.
3. The Dead Rabbit
The name of this spot in the Financial District always reminds me of the Gangs of New York.
Thankfully this is one of the fun restaurants in New York City where you won’t find any dead rabbits.
You’ll just discover a traditional Irish pub with wooden countertops, green bar stools, ceilings filled with vintage cups, and walls lined with lots and lots of alcohol.
It’s a cozy spot in NYC where you can order Irish staples like a corned beef sammie or chicken pot pie.
All in all, the staff is great, the drinks are awesome (try all of their epic Irish coffees), and the portions are BIG. So, be prepared to take something home with you.
Local Tip: Do a bit of budget shopping afterward at some of the best thrift stores in Manhattan.
Address: 30 Water St, New York, NY 10004
Hours: Open daily from 11:00 am to 2:00 am, except Friday/Saturday when they are open until 3:00 am.
Price: Cocktails are $16.00-$20.00 each.
How to Get There: Take the 1/R/W to South Ferry and walk from there.
4. Trailer Park Lounge
The Chelsea neighborhood may be posh AF but this epic NYC bar is not. So, this is one of the coolest things to do in Chelsea if you love a good dive bar that is filled with quirky, trailer park-themed decor.
So, think of it as kind of like a Texas roadhouse type place where you can get greasy spoon-inspired fare that includes tater tots, wings, burgers, etc.
There’s even a photo booth and cool jukebox playing golden oldies to create a more nostalgic mood.
You’ll also find neon signs, checkerboard tiles, and seats from bowling alleys. Just grab a table and nibble on the Grilled Fat Dog and some epic moon pies.
Pair all this with a Paradise cocktail from their on-site tiki bar (yup, there’s a tiki bar here too) and you’ll finish off your 24 hours in NYC with a BANG!
Address: 271 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011
Hours: Open daily from 4:00 pm to 12:00 am.
Price: Cocktails start at like $11.00 each.
How to Get There: Take the 1/C/E train to 23rd Street Station and walk to the restaurant from here.
5. The Cabin
Tucked away in the East Village is this one of the best restaurants in NYC to visit if you want to feel like you’re in the Adirondacks without actually driving there.
As the name suggests, The Cabin makes you feel like you’re dining in the woods.
So, expect giant portraits of bears, a tree with colorful leaves in the middle of the dining room, and vibrant blue booths to sit in.
Yeah, it’s one of those eateries that makes for a cool Instagram spot in NYC.
In terms of drinks, get the Old Fashion or the Dirty Snowman. Both were awesome. It’s also one of the few brunch places in NYC where you can show up without a reservation.
Order the BLT (the bread is epic) and the Amish fried chicken and waffles. Yup, the star of that waffle plate is the EPIC cinnamon butter. So good.
6. Don Antonio
So, what makes Don Antonio a fun restaurant in NYC? Well, they have killer pizza and decor that makes this place feel slightly upscale – kind of like you’re doing a wine tasting at a wine vineyard near Rome.
So, expect white-washed brick walls, dark wooden floors/tables, and giant wood-framed pictures of people making pizzas.
It’s also one of the best restaurants in Midtown. So, stop by and order the deep-fried pizza with smoked mozzarella.
Just push really hard on the door since it can be difficult to open and take some time to enjoy all of the old-school photos of NYC.
Address: 309 W 50th St, New York, NY 10019
Hours: Open daily from 11:30 am to 10:00 pm.
Price: Pizzas are $21.00/$23.00 each.
How to Get There: Take the C/E/1 to 50th Street and walk from there.
Located in Gramercy Park, this place is overflowing with Christmas cheer that makes it look like Santa’s Workshop but on roids.
Yeah, every nook and cranny is filled with bulbs, tinsel, trinkets, and lights that dangle overhead. So, wear some killer shades and embrace the ambiance since the decor starts popping up in May!
Now, I don’t like the food here. It’s not that it’s AWFUL but there are just much better places to eat in NYC.
I mean, if you’re visiting the Upper East Side then dine in Yorkville instead since the German food is epic.
So, I would order a drink (like the mulled wine), hang out at the bar, take pics of the over-the-top decor, and go eat somewhere else.
Local Tip: Be sure to visit early on a weekend since this place gets PACKED with people.
Address: 281 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010
Hours: Open daily from 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Price: Entrees start at $25.00 each.
How to Get There: Take the 6/R/W train to 23rd Street Station and walk from there.
8. La Caverna
If eating Mexican food inside a cave filled with stalactites appeals to you then stop by this fun restaurant in NYC.
After all, La Caverna has been a part of the Lower East Side restaurant scene since 2002 and looks like something straight out of the Stone Age since the ambiance rocks (literally)!
As a result, this unique NYC restaurant has captivated customers with its craggy interiors, crunchy nachos, and zesty veggie tacos.
Additionally, if you love an NYC date night that revolves around dancing then get ready for an electrifying club experience here once the sun sets, with a live DJ spinning the latest hits.
Get ready to mingle with fellow party-goers, as this place is a magnet for fun-loving crowds.
Local Tip: Visit for Taco Tuesday so you can get tacos for $3.00. Also, make a reservation to bypass the brontosaurus-sized lines.
9. Max Brenner
Visitors to this unique chocolate-themed restaurant are in for a real treat. You’ll be surrounded by epic decor that blends modern chic with a dash of cocoa-inspired whimsy.
The aroma of chocolate is ever-present, a sweet promise of the culinary delights to come.
From the moment you’re seated, you’re encouraged to give in to your chocolate cravings, with a menu that skillfully weaves this beloved ingredient into both sweet and savory dishes.
The playful nature of chocolate is celebrated with each creation, from the starters to the indulgent desserts.
Highlights include the chocolate hazelnut milkshake and the chocolate pizza.
I love that you can get this unique, Instagram-worthy food in NYC as either a full or half pizza.
It also comes with milk/white chocolate, as well as marshmallows and your selection of other toppings.
Yeah, I feel like it is a must-try. Just be sure to make reservations since this place is regularly packed with people.
Address: 841 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm, and until 12:00 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Price: Entrees start at $16.00 each.
How to Get There: Take the L/4/5/6 to Union Square and walk from there.
10. Serendipity 3
I think this place is one of the biggest tourist traps in NYC. But, most people LOVE it which is why it made it on this list of fun restaurants in New York City.
As you probably already know, this Hollywood-featured diner has been in many movies (One Fine Day/Serendipity) and is known for its frozen hot chocolate.
They also have over-top desserts that I would not add to my list of the most delicious desserts in NYC. But, I am the exception, not the rule.
Most people adore this NYC restaurant for its candy shop vibes, big portions, and unique desserts.
If you have to visit, skip the food, order the dessert, and be prepared to take some home since portions are enormous.
I would also make a reservation since this place gets PACKED and expect to pay big $$$ for what you get.
Address: 225 E 60th St, New York, NY 10022
Hours: Open daily from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm, except on weekends when they open at 10:00 am.
Price: $19.95 for a frozen hot chocolate.
How to Get There: Take the 4/5/6 to 59th Street and walk from there.
11. The Cauldron
If you love Harry Potter then you cannot miss the chance to visit this wizard-inspired bar in NYC.
As you step through the doors, you’ll be whisked away into a captivating world where your favorite Hogwarts classes come to life.
In particular, the potion-making class is a standout since it is a fun, hands-on experience where you can conjure up delightful concoctions with the flick of your wand to atop your own cauldron.
But, if potion-making isn’t your style then indulge in a wizard-themed afternoon tea in New York City.
Additionally, this popular bar in the Financial District also hosts a variety of weekly happenings like spellbinding karaoke, nights a glamorous Drag Show, evening DJs, and more.
Remember, some of these magical events may require a visit to one of their other locations but they are a whole lot of fun and one of the coolest indoor activities in NYC.
Address: 47 Stone St, New York, NY 10004
Hours: Open Tuesday from 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Wednesday from 3:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Thursday/Friday from 3:00 pm to 12:00 am, Saturday from 12:00 pm to 12:00 am, and Sunday from 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Price: Tickets for potion-making start at $45 per person for off-peak tickets.
How to Get There: Take the 2/3 train to Wall Street or the 4/5 train to Bowling Green and walk from there.
I’m gonna be real with you, there’s nothing refined or fancy about Cowgirl.
But that’s okay since this rustic, Texas-themed eatery is known for chandeliers made out of antlers, wood-paneled walls, and tables with red checkered tablecloths.
However, the only thing better than the decor is the Tex-Mex-inspired cuisine. Highlights include the French toast sticks and tater tots.
The Frito Pie is a personal fave that is perfect when paired with their fresh strawberry lemonade. It’s also super family-friendly and one of the best things to do in NYC with kids.
Just be sure to check out their website and try to stop by for a fun live music night.
Address: 519 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014
Hours: Open Monday and Tuesday from 11:30 am to 10:00 pm, Wednesday from 11:30 am to 11:00 pm, Thursday/Friday from 11:30 am to 11:00 pm, Saturday from 11:00 am to 11:30 pm, and Sunday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Price: Dishes start at around $15 each.
How to Get There: Take the 1/2/3 train to 14th Street or the A/C/EB/D/M to Washington Square and walk from there.
13. Highkey Rainforest Rooftop
This rooftop brunch spot in NYC is open all year long and is known for its lush greenery and large, gray seats accented with vibrant pillows.
You can also take lots of cool Instagram photos with tons of vibrant pink and purple flowers in the background before admiring the view from the 29th floor.
If you can, stop by for an awesome bottomless brunch in NYC. You’ll need to make a reservation but the drinks aren’t watered down.
The flourless chocolate cake is also great but the scrambled eggs were MEH. I’d get the yogurt and granola instead.
Additionally, this fun NYC restaurant has tons of themed events like game night, R and B night, and Taco Tuesday.
Local Tip: You can also do Hookah here and watch out for sometimes high reservation fees.
Address: 6 Platt St 29th floor, New York, NY 10038
Hours: Open Tuesday through Thursday from 5:00 pm to 1:00 am, Friday from 3:00 pm to 4:00 am, Saturday from 12:00 pm to 4:00 am, and Sunday from 12:00 pm to 1:00 am.
Price: Brunch entrees are around $20.00 each.
How to Get There: Take the 2/3 to Fulton Street and walk from there.
14. The Folly
Channel your inner pirate and head over to this nautically-themed gastropub for an experience to remember at one of the most unique restaurants in NYC.
Once you step inside this wood-filled restaurant you’ll feel like you’re in the belly of a pirate ship since the ceiling has curved wooden beams with cute little portraits and candles lining the walls.
The service is also stellar and they serve a killer Cubano with roast pork, ham, Manchego cheese tapenade, and mustard.
Pair this with a refreshing Queen’s Anne Revenge (raspberry/hazelnut flavor) and you’ll keep coming back for more.
Local Tip: Don’t leave without checking out the “Peg Leg Chart” in the restroom. They also have a nice happy hour until 8:00 pm.
Address: 92 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012
Hours: Open daily from 3:00 pm to 12:00 am, except on Friday/Saturday when they are open from 1:00 pm to 4:00 am.
Price: Cocktails are around $16.00 each.
How to Get There: Take the B/D/F/M to Broadway/Lafayette and walk from there.
15. Oscar Wilde
So, there are a few things that make Oscar Wilde one of the coolest restaurants in NYC.
First of all, this place has the longest bar in the entire city. This marble bar tops out at an insane 118.5 feet.
The second thing is that this watering hole pays tribute to the literary titan of the same name.
Therefore, expect over-the-top opulent decor that includes statues of the literary great as well as ceiling murals, velvet seats, grand clocks, and marble columns.
There’s even a statue that you can take photos with outside. Plus, they have excellent Christmas decor too and afternoon tea is available.
You also can’t beat the lobster roll with fries and the cider. Both were delish and the service was very attentive. The Lost in Love cocktail is also fruity and nice.
Address: 45 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001
Hours: Open Monday through Wednesday from 2:00 pm to 1:00 am, Thursday/Friday from 2:00 pm to 2:00 am, Saturday from 11:00 am to 2:00 am, and Sunday from 11:00 am to 1:00 am.
Price: Cocktails are $17.00 each.
How to Get There: Take the 4/6/1/2 to 28th Street and walk from there.
16. Lillie’s Victorian Establishment
Not gonna lie, when I visited Lillie’s I was a bit disappointed. I went to the Union Square location and the decor wasn’t as over-the-top as the one in Times Square.
Yes, you felt like you walked into a Victorian-era mansion with red velvet seats, tall ceilings, large white columns, and a giant fireplace.
But, there wasn’t insane, Insta-worthy decor dripping from every crevice of the restaurant.
I was also a little disappointed that the brunch menu at the Union Square location is much smaller than the one in Times Square (like four or five items small).
That being said, my truffle omelet with salad was good. I wish it had come with bread and the potatoes were not tasty at all. But, overall the meal was decent.
So, if you want to stop by one of the fun restaurants in NYC then hit up the Times Square location.
Address: 249 W 49th St, New York, NY 10019
Hours: Open Tuesday through Thursday from 12:00 pm to 1:00 am, Friday from 12:00 pm to 2:00 am, Saturday from 10:30 am to 2:00 am, and Sunday from 10:30 am to 1:00 am.
Price: Cocktails start at $17.00 each.
How to Get There: Take the 1/2 to 50th Street and walk from there.
17. The Ear Inn
Believe it or not, The Ear Inn is actually on the National Registrar of Historic Places since it sits inside a historic building from 1817.
This spot also has the distinction of being the oldest bar in NYC to continuously serve alcohol.
Rumor even has it that this dive bar is home to a resident ghost or two. So, stop by, grab a martini, use crayons to draw on some paper tablecloths, and see if you meet any specters.
The food also isn’t bad. I had the burger and garlic shrimp and both were good – not great but good. The staff are also lovely so this is a solid spot if you wanna chill at a dive bar.
You can also stop by and listen to some live music which is always nice. Check the schedule here.
Address: 326 Spring St, New York, NY 10013
Hours: Open daily from 11:30 am to 4:00 am.
Price: Cocktails are $15.00 each.
How to Get There: Take the A/C/E to Spring Street and walk from there.
18. Grand Central Oyster Bar
I don’t know what all the fuss is about. I ate here a couple of times and it was okay, but I wasn’t blown away.
However, the Oyster Bar has been around FOREVER so I am putting it on this list of fun restaurants in NYC since my opinion is just one person’s.
So, step inside and take a seat at a lunch counter that looks like it’s out of the 1950s. You can also watch them cook behind the counter as you dine.
The place isn’t fancy and seafood is the name of the game. So, order something from the raw bar.
Afterward, head to the whispering gallery right outside of the restaurant. You can go to one corner of the area and your partner can go to a spot that is diagonally across from you.
You will then both face the wall and whisper to one another. It works. We tried it and it’s fun to listen to your partner from that far away. One of the more romantic things to do in NYC.
Address: 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017
Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 11:30 am to 9:30 pm.
Price: Most entrees are $30.00+ each.
How to Get There: Take the 4/5/6/7/S to Grand Central and walk from there.
This is one of those fun restaurants in New York City that is so un-hip it’s cool. I mean, there is no dance floor and people at this Cuban restaurant in Midtown still dance the night away.
The walls are also a slightly faded yellow and there are palm trees, bananas, and musicians all over the place.
Additionally, the air is filled with a heady mix of garlic, lime, and mint, hinting at the culinary delights awaiting you.
Here, the Cuban sandwiches are pressed to perfection, with layers of savory ham, roasted pork, and tangy pickles, each bite promising a fusion of flavor and tradition.
The mojitos are also delicious and strong. So, stop by and enjoy live Cuban music every night of the week.
Address: 939 8th Ave, New York, NY 10019
Hours: Open Sunday through Thursday from 12:00 pm to 12:00 am and Friday/Saturday from 12:00 pm to 1:00 am.
Price: Entrees are $25.00+ each.
How to Get There: Take the N/Q/R/W to 57th Street and walk from there.
20. Ellen’s Stardust Diner
This place is no hidden gem. So, you will be packed into the dining room like a sardine and will have to wait in line for a table (even if you arrive early) since reservations are not accepted.
However, once inside you’ll be treated to servers dancing on tabletops and belting out their favorite Broadway tunes – all in the hopes of one day making it big on Broadway.
Yeah, this is an incredible Broadway-themed diner where the performances are the highlight.
Sure, the food is okay and you can’t go wrong with pancakes dosed with peanut butter, chocolate, and whipped cream. But, the food is 100%, not the star. I would also skip the coffee since it sucks.
Address: 1650 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
Hours: Open daily from 7:00 am to 12:00 am.
Price: Expect to pay upwards of $15 for diner food.
How to Get There: Take most subway lines to Times Square and walk from there.
Fun Restaurants in NYC – Brooklyn
21. All Night Skate
Full disclosure before we continue with this list of fun restaurants in NYC. This epic spot is a rollerskate-themed bar and not an actual roller rink.
So, don’t show up with a pair of skates because you won’t do any actual skating.
However, this is a fun place to have a birthday party in NYC since you can rock out to tunes from a jukebox beneath a disco ball while inhaling pop rocks cocktails.
There’s also a food stand where you can grab some tacos and just enjoy the good energy since this is a very inclusive place.
Pro Tip: Bring some skates to get 10% percent off on your drinks.
Address: 54 Rockaway Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11233, United States
Hours: Open Monday through Thursday from 4:00 pm to 1:00 am, Friday from 2:00 pm to 2:00 am, Saturday from 12:00 pm to 2:00 am, and Sunday from 12:00 pm to 1:00 am.
How to Get There: Take the J/Z to Chauncey Street and walk from there.
22. Action Burger
Love burgers with a side of superheroes? If so then this is one of the coolest restaurants in NYC for you.
It’s basically like a vibrantly colored diner that pays homage to video games and superheroes.
So, expect superhero posters and action figures all over the place as well as vintage game consoles and tabletops filled with vintage games.
It’s nothing fancy but makes for a cool date night in NYC since you can order the ravioli burger and the mac and cheese bacon burger.
Local Tip: Stop by before/after you visit the Brooklyn Museum since it is nearby.
Address: 292 Graham Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Hours: Open Sunday/Wednesday/Thursday from 4:00 pm to 1:00 am and Friday/Saturday from 4:00 pm to 3:00 am.
Price: Burgers start at like $14.00 each.
How to Get There: Take the L to Grand Street and walk from there.
Fun Restaurants in NYC in Queens
23. Instant Noodle Factory
Go back in time to the glorious days in college when you rolled out of bed, grabbed a pack of ramen, went to the cafeteria in your PJs, and used pure, hot water to make yourself some lunch.
Because that’s basically how it is at Instant Noodle Factory. Just select your pre-packaged ramen from a buffet of global options on the wall and use the in-house machine to set the time and add the water.
You can also add sides like marinated and regular soft-boiled eggs since I cannot eat ramen without an egg inside. #sorrynotsorry
Address: 24-11 41st Ave, Queens, NY 11101
Hours: Open daily from 11:30 am to 9:30 pm.
Price: Most are around $6.00 each.
How to Get There: Take the 7/N/W to Queensboro Plaza and walk from there.
Map of Fun Restaurants in NYC
Fun Restaurants in NYC FAQs
Where Do Celebrities Eat Dinner in NYC?
Celebrities in NYC eat dinner at:
- The Spotted Pig
- Catch NYC
- Polo Bar
- The Grill
What is Famous to Eat in NYC?
Some of the famous things to eat in NYC are pizza, bagels, cheesecake, hot dogs, corned beef sandwiches, black and white cookies, pastrami sandwiches, Matzo ball soup, etc.
What is the Name of the Famous Restaurant in New York?
The name of the famous restaurant in New York is Katz Deli. It has sat on East Houston and Ludlow Street since 1888. They have a large cafeteria where you can order giant pastrami sandwiches.
How Do I Find Good Restaurants?
I find good restaurants by checking the most recent reviews on outlets like Google. I also check overall scores on Google before dining somewhere.