NEW YORK does not lack for hip bars that drip with beautiful people sipping $12 drinks, being assaulted by thumping music and feeling that they have found the center of the nightlife universe.
But that's a universe ruled by the under-40 crowd (and haunted, despite laws to the contrary, by quite a few under-20s). So does that mean weekend visitors who own a graying mane or, the horror, receive a regular Social Security check, must head from a pricey meal, Broadway show or Lincoln Center concert and straight to bed without even a cocktail?
Of course not. They just have to look for the tip-offs that indicate that a bar attracts a more mature crowd, the kind that doesn't trust anyone under 40.
Those helpful hints include an upscale, old-school setting (though downscale, old-school Irish bars work pretty well, too); background music that stays where it belongs — in the background; and closing hours earlier than the city-prescribed limit. There's no need to stay open till 4 in the morning if a good part of your clientele wakes up at 7 without an alarm clock.