Imagine being a celebrity. Not only would your name be known throughout the world, but you'd have to strategically plan any public appearances since fans would instantly recognize your face. For celebs around the world, even just going out for dinner can be daunting. They'll immediately be swamped by fans and probably won't have the luxury of enjoying a night of peace and quiet, unless they choose to stay in. While some celebrities love this attention, especially initially, others have remarked that they find it hard to live a balanced life.
It can be especially difficult to be someone famous in a large city, such as L.A. and New York City. Because these areas are hubs of art, theater, music, and film production, celebrities find it hard to escape constant attention from fans. Many celebrities live in both of these cities, but those who choose to reside in New York seem to live their privacy a bit more. Luckily, New York is a massively varied city that has tons of little hideouts for celebrities who just want a night of peace and quiet. Check out these top 10 places celebs go to hide out in New York and the top 10 places they head to when they're up for having a night in the spotlight.
20 The Backroom Bar (Secret): A Modern Day Speakeasy
Take a walk on Norfolk Street, just between Delancey and Rivington, and you’ll pass by the rickety bars that encase the entrance of the Lower East Side Toy Company, otherwise known as the secret bar, The Backroom. The once-confidential bar worked as a speakeasy, dating as far back as Prohibition. The bar still remains a whispered-about home of drinks, however the bartenders no longer have to fear being arrested for serving a beer (at least, as far as we know!).
While the Backroom Bar is slowly becoming more popular with New Yorkers throughout the city, it started off as a completely hidden, low-key bar that celebrities would frequent to get away from the masses. Today, it has managed to somewhat maintain this status and still attracts celebrities looking to have a chill night out. The Backroom Bar serves its finest liquor in antique teacups and beer in pale brown bags to New York’s most popular individuals, including Julian Lennon, Robert Plant, and Paul McCartney.
19 Hotel on Rivington (Secret): Have an Obscure Party in Secret
If you want to live (and party) like a celebrity, the Hotel on Rivington in New York, New York is the place to go. With a stunning view of Manhattan, the rooms feature balconies, steam showers, and floor-to-ceiling glass walls designed by famous NYC architects Grzywinski and Pons.
Jay-Z recently held a birthday party for rapper Fabolous in the three-level penthouse at the hotel. Faces such as Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, and Edward Norton have also attended glamorous events here. At the same time, celebrities are always assured of absolute privacy, making it an ideal location for stars who want to escape their fans for a getaway.
18 Fig 19 (Secret): Get In If You Can Find It
Never judge a book by its cover, or in this case, a bar. The property is concealed by a dark curtain and the sidewalk in front of Fig 19 shows no evidence of the warm welcoming atmosphere hidden just behind the art gallery that forefronts the bar. Once past the curtain, Fig 19 is a sight to behold with its dark woods, lit candles, and large chandeliers just shy of being gaudy.
The once-private bar is known to draw the artistic crowd, giving inspiration to all those who enter. The bar is so obscure and dark that a celebrity spotting usually doesn't happen until after the star has already left, making it a great location for a star who wants a quiet night out.
17 The Pierre, A Taj Hotel (Secret): Privacy in Luxury
History surrounds the walls of this elegant hotel just across the way from Central Park. With 189 renovated rooms, The Pierre is ready to house any resident who can afford it, whether it be a commoner or a celebrity.
Natalie Wood and Elizabeth Taylor have been spotted walking the halls of this antique hotel. Saturday Night Live cast members Kristen Wiig and Seth Meyers once attended an event at The Pierre. The historic hotel isn’t just for sleeping: Romano Singer from the show Real Housewives of New York City held her vow renewal ceremony in one of the hotel’s most stunning rooms. Celebrities are always assured of privacy and it's well-known that stars can stay at The Pierre if they want a relaxing vacation.
16 Angel’s Share (Secret): Small and Exclusive
For over 22 years, Angel’s Share bar has been quietly sitting on Stuyvesant Street in New York City. Although its place on the map has been mostly secret over the years, it has been rated as one of the best places to drink in downtown New York, if you can find it.
Even the best hidden places are found eventually, especially by celebrities, who love the intimate vibe that Angel's Share provides. Because there's a limited amount of space, your best bet is to arrive early with a small group if you want the chance to sip on US-style cocktails with a Japanese twist in the dim-lit bar of Angel’s Share.
15 Employees Only (Secret): Where Celebrities Blend In
Seated on Hudson Street in Manhattan's West Village, the Prohibition-style bar, Employee’s Only, welcomes all who can find it, despite its name. The vintage bar got its name from the idea that the employees have more fun than its guests, but it allows its patrons to join the fun without the labor.
Even in modern day New York City, Employee’s Only keeps its history within the bar’s walls. Bartenders are suited in their finest white chef jackets and the men's outfits are complete with parted hair and dapper mustaches. Look up and you’ll see a pressed-tin ceiling surrounded with overhead luggage racks. Celebrities are easily able to blend in with the obscure uniforms. If you’re looking for a place to relax among the elite, join the staff at Employees Only.
14 The Bowery Hotel (Secret): A Hot-Spot For Celebrity Privacy
The Bowery Hotel has many things to be proud of, and its list of visiting celebrities is one of them. Some of the well-known celebrities, such as Ashley Olsen, Rachel Bilson, and Blake Lively, have all slumbered at the rustic hotel. Kiefer Sutherland even will leave his main post at the White House to stay in one of the Bowery’s sophisticated rooms. Comedian Sarah Silverman often floats among the celebrities, telling jokes in the dark wood-encased common rooms.
Your stay may include a celebrity sighting, but you’ll also receive high-class service, style, and rooftop views while staying at the Bowery Hotel. It's no surprise that the hotel is a hot-spot for celebrities because of its quiet luxury and gorgeous architecture.
13 Raines Law Room at the William (Secret): Gorgeous but Intimate
If you have ring a bell to enter a speakeasy-style bar, you know it must be among the best. The original creators of Raines Law Room recently opened a new location at The William in Midtown. The intimate bar holds seating for no more than six, unless you reserve a private room.
If you’re lucky enough to land a spot at the bar, either by walk-in or reservation, you’ll be served Prohibition-era cocktails like nothing you’ve ever tasted. Desperate to take a cocktail home? The Raines Law Room offers a cocktail class, led by one of their Master Bartenders, that teaches you how to make some of the bar’s favorite classic and house recipes. Celebrities love the tailored elegance that Raines Law Room offers and privately frequent the bar often.
12 Battery Park (Secret): For Locals and Stars Alike
Situated just along the Hudson River, Battery Park City is one of New York’s most upscale neighborhoods. However it’s not the apartment buildings that are drawing our attention: it’s the formerly known Ritz-Carlton hotel.
Since renamed to Wagner on the Battery, the old hotel no longer looks its age. Traditional furniture and modern wood have replaced the formerly historic vibe, creating a spacious and sleek look without and without the hotel. Despite the Wagner’s view of some of New York’s best sights (The Statue of Liberty, the New York Holocaust Memorial, and Battery Park), the hotel and bar remain fairly quiet, allowing for a subtle yet memorable atmosphere that stars flock to.
11 Hotel Delmano (Secret): Stay In Luxury But Keep Your Privacy
If you want to experience old New York, Hotel Delmano is the place to go. The décor itself speaks to its history: large chandeliers, smoky mirrors, and an impressive marble bar all create a truly decadent yet private vibe. Even the staff wearing suspenders and wingtips suggest history and sophistication.
Aside from its visual aesthetic, Hotel Delmano serves a wide array of specialty spirits, including a seasonal menu and a 100-bottle wine list. The bar also includes a raw menu, offering dishes such as oyster, shrimp, caviar, and crab. Comfort is also guaranteed, as the seating is incredibly plush and comfortable. Stars such as Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez have been spotted at Hotel Delmano, although the staff keeps the area very private for visiting celebrities.
10 The Polo Bar (Lively): Made By a Celebrity For Celebrities
The Ralph Lauren logo is easily distinguished in stores with its signature polo-match rider in mid-action. However Ralph Lauren isn’t only found in premium stores: the designer also created a handsome yet elegant bar named The Polo Bar. Lauren’s first New York restaurant serves seasonal American classics, complete with cocktails and light fare at the bar before you’re seated in the main dining room downstairs.
Famous individuals such as Tom Hanks, Bradley Cooper, and Martha Stewart have all dined among the sophisticated equestrian atmosphere. Do note: reservations are required and the cashmere-styled bouncers at the front door are quite strict about only allowing in those who have maintained the reservation-first rule. Once you're inside, you'll experience one of the fancier, livelier dinners you've ever had that is somehow incredibly delicious and fun at the same time.
9 The Spotted Pig (Lively): Famous Food, Famous Clientele
Located in West Village, The Spotted Pig is known for its British and Italian menu, made up of local ingredients whenever possible. Since its opening in 2004, there has rarely been an empty seat in the house. There’s a handful of reasons why: their famous menu, their no-reservation policy, and their constant celebrity sightings.
The Spotted Pig holds the title for one of the world’s most famous burgers: the Chargrilled Burger with Roquefort Cheese and Shoestring Fries. Unlike The Polo Bar, the robust restaurant accepts no reservations, ever. If you’re willing to wait, you’re likely to see a celebrity or two enjoying a burger and cocktail. Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Jay-Z and Beyonce, Ryan Gosling, and Jake Gyllenhaal have all dined at the famous Spotted Pig.
8 OAK (Lively)
Looking to hit up one of the best clubs in New York City? OAK is your place! It's known for its exclusive celebrity sightings and sees more stars than almost any other establishment in the city. Because of this, the prices for entrance, drinks, and tables are even more astronomical than usual. While this normally isn't a problem for celebrities, it may be more tricky for those in search of their favorite stars.
If you can manage to swing a night out at OAK, you'll probably see some of the biggest names in the music industry, such as Rihanna, Kendall Jenner, and even Beyonce. It's a lively, upbeat nightclub that promises to be a crazy fun night.
7 The Rainbow Room (Lively): Historic and Well-Known
Rockefeller Center in New York City holds one of the most iconic Christmas trees in the world during the merry season. While you're in the famous Rockefeller Center, you’ll also find a landmark restaurant known as The Rainbow Room. Located on the 65th floor, The Rainbow Room has a map full of history, beginning with its grand opening in 1934.
The restaurant (and bar) has seen its share of historical events: actress Joan Crawford made her last public appearance in the grand building, Tony Bennett hosted the first opening act at Rainbow & Stars, a club adjacent to the Rainbow room, and Joan Rivers and former president Jimmy Carter once walked the historic halls. In 2018, you can see new heights out of Bar SixtyFive at Rainbow Room, the city’s highest outdoor terrace bar, as well as a slew of celebrities celebrating nightly.
6 Beautique (Lively): The Best Private Parties in the City
Known as New York’s “playpen for millionaires," Beautique has a long history that is peppered with celebrity sightings. Originally influenced by Coco Chanel’s Paris apartment, the sophisticated US restaurant is anything but low-class.
Suited best for private parties and date nights, Beautique has served an incalculable number of guests, but the most famous guests include Kendall Jenner, A$AP Rocky, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
After a unique dinner, guests can dance the night away while sipping their signature cocktails and waiting for the next celebrity to walk through the high-class doors. If you can manage to get a reservation, you could see quite a few celebrities in one night, especially if you can get in on the weekends!
5 The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel (Lively): The Party Isn't Sacrificed for Privacy
You’ll know you’ve reached The Carlyle hotel when you’re standing below two massive US flags that hover above the doorway. Only a block from Central Park, The Carlyle is incredibly stunning. Once inside the popular hotel, you’ll never find yourself bored. Live entertainment jazzes up the elegant atmosphere. Exquisite food awaits guests at The Carlyle Restaurant, Café Carlyle, The Gallery, and Bemelmans Bar.
The one downside is that you can't plan on taking many photos during your visit. The hotel prides itself on its discretion with banning all forms of photos in restaurants when there are people present. Because of this, the hotel has been known to hold some of New York’s biggest secrets, even rumored to vault the history of JFK and Marilyn Monroe. It is also famous for hosting massive blowout parties that are celebrity only.
4 A Knicks Game (Lively): One of the Best Spots for Sightings
New York is quite famously home to the NBA team, the Knicks. Photos are frequently captured between hoops of celebrities cheering on their home team. Grey’s Anatomy actress Ellen Pompeo was seen watching the Knicks battle the Charlotte Hornets in 2017. Caleb McLaughlin from Netflix’s original show “Stranger Things” sat at a game between the Knicks and the Grizzlies.
John Oliver and Justin Hartley (most recently known as the heartthrob actor on “This Is Us”) were seen cheering on the team in November 2017. Most famously, Taylor Swift often catches a game with her posse of friends. The list of celebrities spotted at a Knicks game is literally endless and you're almost sure to spot someone famous at any given game.
3 Bagatelle (Lively): The Meatpacking Star Hotspot
The name most likely gives away the scene of this famous New York restaurant. Located in the Meatpacking District, this esteemed restaurant serves some of the finest French Mediterranean cuisines in all of New York. Its signature dishes currently include the Poulet Roti Entier a la Truffe and the Gnocchi Truffles a la Parisienne de Nicolas, served fresh by Chef Andrew Riccatelli.
Many celebrities have enjoyed the delicious menu at Bagatelle including Serena Williams, Helen Mirren, and couple Jay-Z and Beyonce. As fancy as the menu sounds, Bagatelle is also known for its traditional nightclub setting and booming parties!
2 Rao's (Lively): Small, Exclusive, and Incredible
If you want to enter this exclusive restaurant, you must know someone who holds the key to entry. The ten-table Italian eatery is anything but quaint and stands as one of the toughest restaurants in the country to land a reservation. It's also known as one of the best "party restaurants" despite its tiny size. Originally a saloon, the one-room diner is decorated with Christmas lights, photos of Frankie Valli and Frank Sinatra, and a jukebox along the wall.
Rao’s does have its regulars, but not in the way you’d think. Table assignments were given decades ago by the owning family. These assignments are held by 85 members that come weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, or during Christmas. When one of these 85 owners passes, their families inherit their table. The tiny restaurant may see limited faces but they're famous ones, including Billy Joel, Celine Dion, Jimmy Fallon, Hillary Clinton, and Donald.
1 Avenue (Lively): Dance Next to the Top Celebrities in the World
One of New York City’s most sought-after late-night haunts, Avenue is an old-world-style two-story lounge, complete with DJs and bottle service. Located at the intersection of Chelsea and the Meatpacking District in NYC, the club has hosted private events for numerous models and celebrities, including Marc Jacobs, Kim Kardashian, and Derek Jeter.
The dance floor is never empty: you’ll be bumping elbows, bums, and sides with fellow dancers under high-powered colored lights. Live music is usually playing alongside full-on live performances; Avenue’s performance calendar is full of up-and-coming artists of all genres. If you’re looking for Avenue, you might hear it before you see it, but you'll definitely spot a star eventually!