Although the Murray Hill area of New York City is a residential neighborhood, and somewhat insulated from the more touristy sections of Manhattan, it offers a good number and variety of nightlife options.
The nightlife options in Murray Hill fall into three broad categories: bars and pubs, a movie theater, and restaurants.
The following are the best options in each for Murray Hill nightlife:
Bars and Pubs
One thing that Murray Hill does not lack for are post-college bars. Mercury Bar, located at 493 3rd Avenue, between 33rd and 34th Streets, is probably at the epicenter of the recent graduate scene. It features big screen televisions to watch the sports, but has a nightclub feel at night. It also has the some of the best chicken wings in all of Murray Hill.
Bar XII, located at 206 East 34th Street, offers a slightly older and slightly more sophisticated crowd than Mercury Bar; the emphasis at Bar XIX is on music, both live and by a deejay. While it too doubles as a sports bar, it has the biggest and hippest crowd in Murray Hill late night.
The Rare View, at 303 Lexington Avenue, on the corner of 37th Street, is one of the most spectacular outdoor bars in all of Manhattan. It is located on the 16th floor on top of the Shelburne Murray Hill hotel, and provides breathtaking views of midtown Manhattan, including the Empire State Building, which seems just a stone’s throw away from that height.
While Murray Hill is not a big theater area of Manhattan, it does have arguably the best movie theater in all of New York. Kip’s Bay Movie Theater, at 570 2nd Avenue is spacious, new and clean. Each of its thirteen theaters has stadium style seating and the crowds are much more subdued and polite than most other midtown area movie theaters.
It is a bit out of the way, as it’s a ten minute walk from the nearest subway stop, but in many ways, that is what makes this a truly local theater while still having all of the big time amenities.
While Murray Hill is not known as a serious foodies’ paradise, the fact is, the neighborhood has some fun and very good quality restaurants. Caliente Cab at 488 3rd Avenue (on the corner of third avenue and 33rd Street), offers excellent Mexican food with outdoor seating…a very popular destination for Murray Hill nightlife aficionados during the spring and summer months. It is known for its frozen margaritas and sexy and stylish crowd.
Diagonally across 2nd Avenue from the Kips Bay Movie Theater is the Benjamin Restaurant (603 2nd Avenue) which serves up reasonably priced comfort food ranging from basic pub food to more elaborate seafood and pasta dishes. While it is nowhere as ‘trendy’ as Caliente Cab, or as young as Mercury Bar, it can feel as the place to be for older southern Murray Hill locals.
Wolfgangs Steakhouse is a top flight steak house and, given its location on the ‘other side’ of Park Avenue (4 Park Avenue and 33rd Street), it could be argued that it’s not technically even in Murray Hill. But it attracts a predominately Murray Hill nightlife crowd nonetheless. It offers one of the best steaks in New York City (some say it’s the best), and it’s located in a low tiled ceiling that adds to the ambience.
While people coming to Manhattan generally don’t visit Murray Hill for its nightlife, its residents know that there are some great options in their little enclave of the Big Apple.