Events

How to Throw the Best Bachelorette Party in NYC for Brides of All Kinds

bachlorette party
Mint Images/Getty

She’s engaged! You know what that means: Double-tap that ring pic, start that LAUREN’S BACHELORETTE!! Google Sheet, gird your Venmo account, and prepare to hold back your college friend’s cousin’s hair.

New York has as many ways to celebrate getting off Bumble as it has women still on Bumble (so, a lot). While trying to plan the perfect party, make this your mantra: I cannot possibly please everyone. And that’s okay! Free yourself from the stress of planning the Best Night Ever for the group and focus only on the bride. The truth is, after you slurp enough cocktails through long, pink straws, everybody’s going to have a great night. And a terrible morning.

This guide is organized by type of bride, so you can follow any itinerary to the T, or mix-and-match your favorite spots. That Google Sheet is going to be clutch for getting a headcount -- almost everywhere requires a reservation for big groups, so try to get the numbers in ASAP. And no matter what, make sure you order some penis-shaped gummies. Everybody loves those.

FOR THE BRIDE WHO'S BEEN EVERYWHERE

You first learned about your favorite bar through one of her Stories, and you’re still not sure how she scored a reservation at that restaurant that isn’t even open yet. Her name might be on the list wherever you go -- but you can still find a way to surprise her with something new. ​​​​​​

Spend a spa day at Bathhouse

Williamsburg
This recently opened (and literally named) bathhouse boasts dry and tropical saunas, thermal pools, marble hammams, a steam room, and a sensory deprivation tank. It’s designed to be a “social space,” so you can chat with your girlfriends while you let the pre-wedding stress soak off of you. If you get a little hungry, slip on a “dining robe” and head upstairs to the restaurant (also named, um, Bathhouse), where you can brunch on chia pudding, grain bowls, and bone broth.

Design your own cake at Milk Bar

Flatiron
At Milk Bar’s new flagship location, you can build your own cake, design a gigantic cookie for six, or even learn how to bake a Milk Bar sweet-and-salty pie. Pre-book your time (if you’re going with a group, make sure to book one for everybody!) or just wander the 4,000 square feet of if-Willy Wonka-planned-a-10-year-old-girl’s-slumber-party aesthetic. There are millions of Instagrammable moments, and they’re all going to look great with a pink and white outfit.

Say “Oui to the la robe” at Le Crocodile

Williamsburg
This French restaurant inside the Wythe Hotel serves up très chic escargots, steak frites, and four kinds of pâté -- the perfect place to toast to the magnifique bride. The classic cocktails, including martinis, Sazeracs, and Vieux Carres, are stiff, and the dessert menu, featuring creme brûlée and pot de crème, is long enough for everyone at the table to try something different. The menu might be old school, but the space is as new as the bride’s 2-carat emerald cut.

Do the hula at Tiki Chick

Upper West Side
This elevated tiki bar has a drink menu that bachelorette party dreams are made of: frozen strawberry margaritas, a Fish Face with absinthe and guava served in a ceramic koi, a very blue Blue Hawaiian served up, and even a “Jungle Juice” punch bowl. The space, which features a grass ceiling and bamboo tables, is intimate and surprisingly low-key for a spot that slings Zombies made with 151-proof rum. The food options are limited (mostly to Spam-based sandwiches), but you’re not here to eat. You’re here to get the bride so tipsy she cries in the bathroom about how much she loves you!

FOR THE ALT-BRIDE

She’s so low-key, she’s getting married at City Hall and throwing a party in an abandoned Greenpoint pencil factory three weeks later. She doesn’t even have bridesmaids, so you can wear whatever you want. As long as it’s blue.

Get your aura read at Magic Jewelry

Chinatown
Head to Chinatown’s Magic Jewelry for ’Gram-worthy headshots obscured by a hazy rainbow glow. The staff will read your aura, pour you some oolong tea, and soft sell you on some healing crystals. Crystals probably don’t do anything but let you feel some semblance of control over a malevolent and chaotic universe, but it couldn’t hurt to spend a couple bucks for some good marriage juju.

Sing your heart out at Insa

Gowanus
The Korean fried chicken at this Gowanus karaoke restaurant is sweet, sticky, and spicy -- plus, you can scream-sing “From This Moment On” in the privacy of your very own karaoke room. (You’ll thank me when you’re not listening to a stranger belt out “Rolling in the Deep” like a talent scout is in the audience.) Rooms start at $60 an hour for parties under 10 and you can reserve space for up to 22 of the bride’s closest friends for $160 an hour. Order a few punch bowls and load up on carbs, because you’re gonna need ‘em to get through the night.

Friends and Lovers
Courtesy of Friends and Lovers

Have a dance party at Friends and Lovers

Crown Heights
Leave your dick straws in the punch bowl -- this low-key Crown Heights bar has cool kids, killer DJs, and well-priced well drinks. And everybody gets way down at its rotating dance parties. If you want to go dancing with your girls but can’t stand bottle service or creepy club guys, it’s definitely worth the price of the Lyft.

Recover at Spa Castle

College Point, Queens
Plan to show up at noon, then adjust for hangovers as needed. The all-female baths are the optimal place to sweat out last night’s vodka and celebrate the last days of singlehood. Once you get over the initial surprise of seeing all your friends naked as jaybirds, you can float in the pools and bask in your feminine power. Once you’re pruny, don the provided pink PJs and hop from sauna to sauna. Expect candid conversations about childhood traumas, first loves, and pubic hair -- the Spa Castle just does that to you.   

FOR THE BOUGIE BRIDE

She’s sophisticated. She carries a Céline bag. She works in marketing and her fiancée works in finance. She’s been on a GOOP-approved cleanse since her engagement party -- doesn’t she deserve to have a little fun?

Punch out the pre-wedding jitters at Rumble

Multiple locations
The bride might be a lover, not a fighter, but everybody’s got a reason to nail a punching bag. The caterer can’t do gluten-free lobster rolls? Uppercut! His mother wants to wear an ivory jacket with beading? Right hook! Rumble’s boxing classes are fast (they only last 45 minutes) high-energy, and expensive -- it costs $36 a class, plus $3 for glove rental -- so they’re beloved by every VP of PR in NYC.

Get a makeover at John Barrett Salon

Midtown East
This salon near the southeast side of Central Park offers a rom-com-montage level of beauty services. Anti-frizz conditioning treatments, ponytails with clip-in extensions, manis, pedis, brow shaping, a full face of makeup... Originally opened in the penthouse of Bergdorf Goodman, John Barrett’s salon is beloved by celebs, Upper East Siders, and Bergdorf Blondes. It’s a little bit of old New York glamour combined with the new New York sensibility of Drybar.

Get a coveted table at Bohemian

Noho
Part of the fun of this Japanese restaurant is its exclusivity -- you’ll need a reference from someone who’s dined there to make a reservation. Hit up your group chats to find a name (it’s not that hard), score a rezzie, and then head to the hidden door on Great Jones Street, which leads you into the former studio of Warhol and Basquiat. Sure, it’s a lot of fuss and bother, but the food really is good.

Dance until they turn the lights on at Paul’s Cocktail Lounge

Tribeca
Once you settle up the tab at Bohemian, she’s gonna wanna hit the club. If you’re still riding the high of exclusivity, head to Paul’s Cocktail Lounge (aka Paul’s Baby Grand), where the famously tough doorman is almost as hard to win over as the bouncer at Berghain. If you’re worried about getting in, show up early -- and definitely leave the bridal veils at home. The eponymous Paul is Paul Sevigny (brother of Chloë), who packs this intimate dance floor with the young, the beautiful, and the B-list.

FOR THE BASIC BRIDE

She’s rocking a tiara that says BRIDE. She’s been sending group emails about this night for six months. She wants a bachelorette party, goddamnit, and she wants it now.

Get buzzing at Babeland

SoHo
Browse the shelves of this woman-friendly sex shop for the perfect thing to pack in a honeymoon carry-on. With expert clerks and candy-colored merchandise, the temptation to giggle and gawk might just be outweighed by the urge to buy a little (or big) something special.

Take in the sights at Hunk-O-Mania

Hell's Kitchen
It’s real, it’s in Times Square, and it’s filled with every bachelorette party in the tri-state area. It’s only fair to go, um, tit-for-tat with the bachelor, and this will certainly fulfill any and all of the bride’s Magic Mike fantasies. Prepare yourself for oodles of abs, ear-piercing screams, and a strictly necessary two-drink minimum.

Get shocked at The Box

Nolita
If Hunk-O-Mania was a little too sexy, you’re going to want to skip The Box. Starting at 1am, this club-cum-burlesque space features acts ranging from the kinda tame to the truly outrageous. The smallish space is famously tough to get into, so head in early, reserve a table if you can, and expect a wait at the door.

Roll up hungover to Lips

Midtown
What better place for some hair of the dog than a boozy, campy Sunday drag brunch? If you can peel yourself off the floor and make it uptown, these queens will show off their charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent while you soothe your hangover with a mimosa and a pile of waffles. Just try not to get #sickening in the bathroom, OK?

FOR THE BROOKLYN BRIDE

She used to live in the East Village, but now she lives off the L train. Sorry -- she doesn’t go into Manhattan on the weekends.

The William Vale
Courtesy of The William Vale

Check in at The William Vale

Williamsburg
Rent a few rooms and spend the afternoon getting sunned (and rummed) by the pool. You can splash out for a cabana, but the regular deck does a fine job of getting you tipsy and tan. If the weather’s not cooperating, order room service, don some matching robes, and spend the afternoon swapping your most embarrassing stories about the bride.

Head for cocktails at Fresh Kills

Williamsburg
This local-fave bar serves up classic cocktails (plus low-ABV options for the overly enthusiastic pre-gamers -- oops!). The space isn’t huge, but if the bride’s got a small bridal party, five of her closest friends can easily squeeze into a booth in the back. The space is classic North Brooklyn -- far from a dive, but not too fancy -- and the perfect place to toast to her future while keeping your day-drinking buzz alive.

Maison Premiere
Courtesy of Maison Premiere

Eat up at Maison Premiere

Williamsburg
This intimate spot will reserve a portion of the bar so you can slurp oysters, sip mai tais, and order the absinthe chocolate chip ice cream. If you want to go full-on Moulin Rouge, they’ve got 25 kinds of absinthe, all served with the customary sugar cube and chilled water.

Get weird at House of Yes

Bushwick
Good thing you had that absinthe! With burlesque shows, fetish nights, and seriously sweaty dance parties, House of Yes brings the sexy without the strip club. Most parties require costumes, so make sure to Amazon Prime some candy-colored wigs and bodysuits well in advance. The music and live performances go all night, so dance until you can’t and then crash like a pile of puppies back in your hotel room.

FOR THE DIY BRIDE

She’s getting married in a barn that she basically built herself. She’s stuffing Christmas lights into mason jars and watching YouTube videos on how to grow your own corsages. There’s definitely burlap involved. She’s on a budget, and since you’ve spent (approximately) $40K on other people’s weddings this year, you’re so into that.

brooklyn bridge park
E Frossard/Brooklyn Bridge Park

Head to the park to eat pizza

Brooklyn Bridge Park
Here’s what they don’t want you to know: All pizza is good pizza. You can choose a famous spot like Grimaldi’s, but in this city, a couple of takeout pies from the closest place to your Airbnb will get the job done. It’s not legal to drink in NYC parks, but I’m just saying, apropos of nothing, that many people, in their infinite wisdom, have designed water bottles big enough to hold an entire bottle of wine. What you choose to do with that information is entirely up to you.

Drink up at 169 Bar

Lower East Side
This dive bar’s been getting New Yorkers blotto since all the way back in 1916. With a leopard-print pool table, frozen piña coladas, and all the White Claws you can guzzle, it’s the perfect place to wear your “Bride’s Bitches” tank tops. The space is great for big groups, so you can get every single one of her sorority sisters (and her real sisters, and her cousins, and her friends from summer camp) a bar stool.

Dance it out at The Woods

Williamsburg
If you want to keep your White Claw-fueled night going, head to The Woods. With cheap drinks and a big dance floor, you can let loose without worrying about a snooty bouncer or $27 cocktails. On a Saturday night, the place gets packed, so be prepared to sweat through your clothes and shout your vodka soda order to the bartender. If you need to cool down (or makeout with some cutie you just met), head to the big backyard.

Try to make it to a free yoga class at Hub Seventeen

Flatiron
Lululemon’s Hub Seventeen space offers free community yoga classes so you can relax, recharge, and try not to puke in downward dog after a long night of drinking and dancing. If you’re feeling optimistic about your hangover when you leave the dance floor at four in the morning, go ahead and set your alarm. But if you keep hitting snooze, don’t stress -- there’ll be plenty of yoga classes to take together when she’s a married woman.

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Rachel Pelz lives and writes in Brooklyn.