NYC's Most Kickass Barre Classes (And Nearby Bars)

SHAKTIBARRE | © Diego Bazan
Photo of Esme Benjamin
Wellness Editor28 October 2016

We all know we should be exercising regularly, but post-work it’s often booze that beckons most insistently. The solution? We made a list of the top barre studios in various NYC neighborhoods and paired them with a nearby bar (under 10 minutes walk), so you can have the best of both worlds.

Williamsburg: SHAKTIBARRE & The Commodore

The latest studio to join Williamsburg’s ever-expanding fitness scene is SHAKTIBARRE — a lady-centric space complete with health food cafe. At the front a large communal table hosts family-style dinners for the growing community. Further back there’s a workspace and a light, airy studio where SHAKTIBARRE’s signature workout takes place.

Classes are a barre-yoga hybrid that’s just the right amount of tough. You “pulse” ballet-style until your muscles shake, then counter the burn with asana stretches.

Here, the teachers do a great job of building camaraderie in the room (high-fives abound) and the vibe is empowering rather than competitive. There’s even a little pot of body glitter among the bathroom sundries if you want to sparkle while you sweat.

A seven minute walk away you’ll find The Commodore, a retro dive bar that serves southern fare and the kind of icy blender drinks you’d normally associate with vacations. Pick a tune for the jukebox and order a piña colada or NoLa-strength hurricane.


Brooklyn Heights: Xtend Barre & Long Island Bar

Situated in the heart of brownstone Brooklyn, Xtend Barre offers classes inspired by Pilates and dance in three spacious, bright studios. The sequencing is very balletic, but don’t let the graceful studio regulars fool you — this workout is a real burner.

If you like a little more cardio with your barre, try the Circuit 7 class — a HIIT workout incorporating seven circuits performed for seven minutes each, that will push you to the point of breathlessness (i.e. where the magic happens).

There’s a genuinely welcoming atmosphere at Xtend Barre, from the way you’re greeted at the door to personalized encouragements from the teacher, right when you need it most. Also, you might want to take advantage of the foam rollers, because you’re gonna feel this workout tomorrow morning.

Long Island Bar is a convenient eight minute stroll away, on Atlantic Avenue. It’s been serving drinks to locals for 55 years, and still maintains a decidedly old-school feel, with dark, polished wood and art deco-inspired details. Pull up a stool and become buddies with the bartenders.

Xtend Barre Brooklyn Heights

East Village: FlyBarre & Mayahuel

FlyWheel, one of the city’s most successful spin chains, also offers barre — the perfect toning accompaniment to the intensive cardio of studio cycling.

FlyBarre is a full-body workout that aims to sculpt lean, super strong muscles. There are several different class formats, but if you’re looking for something quick and effective then Power 45, with its plank variations and jump squats, will have you dripping sweat after just 10 minutes.

The teachers here really know their stuff, so expect lots of helpful alignment cues. Plus, it’s hard to slack off when you’re being cheered on by name.

After burning all those calories you earned yourself some a martini. Grab a stool by the mahogany bar at Flatiron Lounge, like Frank Sinatra used to. Jazz-age music and Art Deco design details set the scene.


Upper West Side: Pure Barre & Jacobs Pickles

Pure Barre is a New York fitness success story. There’s a studio in every neighborhood — perhaps testament to the chain’s claim that it’s “the fastest, most effective way to change your body.”

As the name suggests, the method really is barre in its purest form — a low impact workout that focuses on toning the hips, thighs, seat, abdominals and arms (i.e. the areas women care most about) using small, repetitive movements that exhaust the muscles. Exertion is followed by all important stretching, which supposedly keeps muscles long and prevents bulking.

Jacobs Pickles is the most exciting new opening on the residential Upper West Side in a long time. The joint specializes in Southern-style comfort food; think beer, buttery biscuits and pickles. Artisanal pickles to be precise.

Pure Barre

NoHo: Flex Studios & Bar Primi

This NoHo based studio is the second location from Flex, which prides itself on making clients work hard.

There are three classes to pick from: Reformer Pilates (that’s the one with the machine), TRX suspension training and, of course, barre.

Expect a fast-paced, high-energy workout that feels a little bit like a barre bootcamp. Classes are small and intimate, so that you get personalized direction on proper form, producing the greatest burn for your buck.

There’s no shortage of good bars in this part of the city, but there’s only one that serves frosé (frozen rosé), and that’s Bar Primi. There’s also an extensive menu of silken pasta dishes to help you refuel after your workout.

Flex Studios

Financial District: Physique 57 & The Malt House

Visible results after just eight classes. That’s the promise from Physique 57 — an international barre studio that’s renowned for offering some of the most lauded sequencing in New York City.

Trainers are cherry-picked for their extensive experience and ability to motivate you at the end of a side plank hold, when sweat is dripping and your core is shaking.

Happily, classes encompass varying levels of difficulty, so you can build your fitness level incrementally without getting discouraged.

A mere six minute walk downtown is The Malt House, a large American-style tavern with a list of craft beer the length of a short story. Food-wise expect the usual pub grub with a high-end spin: wagyu beef burgers, truffled fries and hickory wood-smoked chicken wings.

Physique 57

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