Your friend says, “Let’s grab a quick drink” or asks “What’s a good bar around…?” and you draw a blank. We know there are mixologists opening up great bars and lounges, but sometimes it’s tough to keep up with the ever changing drinking landscape. Sometimes the name and location of the place you “totally had the best Negroni” gets lost in the depths of your brain after the second and third Negroni… along with all the dish you shared and didn’t mean to. So here’s your cheat sheet for the next time you wanna just grab a cocktail or give a recommendation that will impress out of towers and friends.
The New Kids on The Block
Opened at the beginning of this year, it’s not super new, but still sort of under the radar. Suffolk Arms is a classy cocktail spot from mixologist Giuseppe Gonzalez who’s been in the NYC drinking game for a long time (Pegu, Flat Iron Lounge, and more). The large menu will please any cocktail nerd (he has an always-growing library of references for you to learn from on his website), and the space is perfect for the person who loves to know about the little, chic, hole-in-the-wall places that feel so NYC.
269 E Houston St. New York, NY 10002
This new Brooklyn spot in Bergen Hill is an Italian-inspired bar that’s beautifully designed with a simple, sophisticated lean on cocktails.
387 Court St. Brooklyn, NY
Opened by the same people as long time Long Island City favorite Dutch Kills,this new Williamsburg spot is perfectly dim and feels fancy, but in a hip Brooklyn kind of way, and serves up the same great cocktails as the original.
161 Grand St. Brooklyn, NY 11249
You May Know ‘Em, So Don’t Forget ‘Em
This Prospect Heights and Tribeca cocktail lounge, which also has a menu of interesting small bites, is perfect for grabbing a seat at the bar pre-date or post-work. It’s a classy and classic downtown establishment that we keep returning to.
159 Duane St. New York, NY 10013
You’ve probably been there “at some point in the last 5 years” or maybe it’s the spot that “everyone knows about,” but this 15-year-old speakeasy-esque lounge is a classic in the downtown scene because they have great drinks, a good ambiance, and somehow they make it feel like a place that is as exclusive as the latest opening.
22 7th Ave S. New York, NY 10014
The reverse speakeasy that opened last fall in the East Village is a great place to meet for a drink but has now opened a 20-seat speakeasy style dining room in the back of the bar. So there’s that, in case your “let’s get drinks” turns into a “let’s get dinner” sitch.
296 Bleecker St. 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10014
These two bars are part of restaurants in the same building, but they’re not the same. The Nomad Bar is the slightly more relaxed brother of The Bar at The Nomad, which is right off of the hotel’s uber chic restaurant. Don’t get stressed or confused: both are great places to grab a drink with a pal.
10 W 28th St. New York, NY 10001
Downstairs of the West Village bar and restaurant Happiest Hour is this subterranean cocktail lounge with small bites that has become the drinking darling of the village. From a team of guys formerly associated with Acme and The Nomad Hotel, Slowly Shirley is chic and cool and feels old school Hollywood, with its art deco design, jazz music, and serious cocktails. This place is a favorite (i.e. there may be lines_ but worth checking out if you’re in need of said sophisticated lounge in the area.
121 W 10th St. (Downstairs) New York, NY 10011
Garfunkel’s is a Prohibition Era themed bar above The Burgary on the LES. We aren’t always lovers of themed places but this is definitely a cute place to bring friends or go on a blind date. The mixologists and servers are serious about the sauce they’re slinging, and it translates into super-yummy-cocktails. When you’ve had too many, soak them up with a burger from downstairs.
67 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002
The Cubans know how to let loose and enjoy life over a cocktail that has been made with love. Blacktail–from the Dead Rabbit Team–reflects that love for a bygone era in a beautifully designed space that transports you away from our gritty city and to another, elegant time.
2nd floor, Pier A Harbor House
22 Battery Place New York, NY 10004
This favorite casual bar doesn’t feel grimy and has some fancied up bar food we wouldn’t say no to. The Mother Ruin’s team isn’t trying to outdo the next great mixologist, which kind of makes us keep coming back. This is a failsafe spot on Spring Street that you almost don’t want to tell your friends about because then you might not be able to keep coming back.
18 Spring St. New York, NY 10012
This Tribeca bar is handsome and mature in an “I’m still downtown” kind of way. Come for a drink with a girl friend, when your parents are in town, or on the weekends for their brunch cocktails (and great food).
134 W. Broadway New York, NY 10013
This Japanese bar with super-yummy small bites is the perfect place to impress a date or meet for a long catch up session. A sophisticated gem in the depths of the LES where there are too many bars and too many 21-year-olds (read: jealous we aren’t 21-year-olds anymore), it’s the perfect nook to get away from the scene. But this place can get packed on the weekends so come early or late.
245 Eldridge St. New York, NY 10002
Looking for more places to eat and drink? Check out our Restaurant Rolodex