Bar Recommendations by Neighborhood
Just visiting or a long-time resident of New York City? Enjoy some of my favorite haunts, organized by neighborhood! Hyperlinks to Yelp (some places take reservations!) below!
Union Square / Gramercy / Flatiron
55 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003
A new, swanky speakeasy brought to you by the people behind The Raines Law Room and The Peacock & The Shakespeare. There are four distinct rooms. Naturally, I prefer the room with the bar. I love to see the action!
What to order? If you like sweet, the Espresso Martini is a favorite. The Gibson is better for those seeking a classic cocktail.
1170 Broadway & 28th St, New York, NY 10001
The vibe at The NoMad Library is uber-hip without being uber-pretentious. I love the reclined leather seating and back-lit bookcases. It creates a warm ambiance that lends itself perfectly for dates (I may have gone here multiple times for a first date).
What to order? The Petticoat. It is a delicious blend of Sichuan peppercorn-infused gin, apricot liqueur, velvet falernum and lemon. Need I say more?
37 W 26th Street, New York, NY 10010
What better way to enjoy a cocktail than while listening to live jazz music? Happy hour is 5-7pm and all cocktails and flatbreads are $10. Sign me up!
What to order? A Manhattan is a solid choice.
37 W 19th Street, New York, NY 10011
This cocktail bar can get a bit crowded, so be prepared to stake out a spot and defend it with your life. The drinks are with the hassle, I promise!
What to order? Trust the cocktail menu guide and inspire you!
13 E 13th Street, New York, NY 10003
During happy hour, this spot offers $15 blind wine tastings (you get 3 2oz pours of "mystery" white or red wines)!
What to order? Ask for a recommendation - they know their stuff!
Lower East Side
191 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002
This spot is a bit hard to find - look for a black awning and curtain covered windows. I recommend sitting at the bar so you can see the bartender in action. It is hard to pick just one cocktail here, so give yourself time for two...or more!
What to order? The menu changes with the seasons, so tell the bartender what you like for guidance. Why make any hard decisions when an expert can help?
205 Chrystie Street, New York, NY 10002
This is the type of bar that you could hang out at alone without feeling lonely. The bartenders are awesome and the vibe is utterly chill.
What to order? There are different drink specials, many beers served with a shot. As I tend to say, ask the bartender for suggestions!
45 W 15th Street, New York, NY 10011
This bar has a great vibe and is fairly spacious - there is ample seating and more than enough people to flirt with!
What to order? The Manhattan Flight has three different variations
19 W 8th Street, New York, NY 10011
While this is a random location for a fancy cocktail joint, it is damn good! There aren't just college bars by NYU!
What to order? Peche Bourbon - wish I had one right now!
113 St. Marks Place, New York, NY 1000
Although this speakeasy claims to be "hidden"... it is the worst kept secret in Manhattan! Once you go into Crif Dogs, you go through the phone booth and order a cocktail!
What to order? The Shark (pictured) - delicious and VERY strong!
235 W 12th Street, New York, NY 10014
I suggest that you get here early - this restaurant is incredibly small overall, especially the bar area. Expertly crafted cocktails.
What to order? The seasonal menu changes often, so ask the bartender for guidance.
20 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012
This endearing bar is located down a tricky flight of stairs - make sure to hold onto the railing...I have a friend that once fell UP the stairs! The atmosphere is intimate and the bartenders are highly skilled.
What to order? The drink menu changes seasonally, so order what sounds best to you. If you're needing inspiration, just ask a bartender.
332 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012
Clearly, this bar has no religious associations. I, however, find that the cocktails are heavenly. The atmosphere is sophisticated and welcoming.
What to order? Femme Fatale
30 Water Street, New York, NY 10004
In 2013, The Dead Rabbit was named the World's Best New Cocktail Bar at Tales of the Cocktail and its owner, Jack McGarry, was named International Bartender of the Year! I visited for the first time this past summer. I had the pleasure of sitting upstairs, with a front-row seat to Jack's magical skills. If you visit, it is worth the wait to sit at the bar; he tends to work on Fridays and Saturdays.
What to order? Whatever the bartender suggests! Seriously, s/he is an expert. In order to be happy with your creation, make sure to specific what you like or don't like. They can't know you *hate* gin until you tell them!
24 E 39th Street, New York, NY 10016
This British inspired bar is gorgeous and has cocktails to match. The food is also lovely.
What to order? As always, a Manhattan is a solid choice.
357 W 44th Street, New York, NY 10036
If you love saving money while having a brain freeze (ok, not on purpose!), this is the bar for you. Sip on $6 "Mermaids" (Frozen Mojitos) as well as other drink deals.
What to order? Change your life and get the Mermaid!
11 West 31st Street, New York, NY 10001
While this place also offers food, I tend to come here for the cocktails. I love the dessert cocktails...especially anything with chocolate.
What to order? The Raspberry Chocolate Martini is decadent and served with a truffle!
Upper East Side
1020 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10021
This spot on the UES screams James Bond cool. There is a doorbell and attire is strictly enforced. It feels like it is from a different era and I feel like I'm a part of it when I cross the threshold. I don't smoke cigars often, but when I do, it is here.
What to order? A Manhattan or Hot Toddy or both. I mean, if you trekked all the way Uptown, you might as well try everything your heart desires!
339 E 75th Street, New York, NY 10021
I don't make it beyond the 40s often - I really need to fix that! When I am on the Upper East Side though, it is likely because I am going to this cocktail spot.
What to order? I love the Jbird Swizzle (pictured). It is served beautifully and the perfect tropical drink!
152 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11249
At this bar, the drinks are strong and cheap. They serve hot, boiled peanuts that you can shell on the floor. There are pictures of naked women in the bathroom. This is no-fuss, low-key all the way.
What to order? Willie's Frozen Coffee (pictured). You're welcome.
4 Berry Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Summer demands rooftops and Brooklyn has plenty of them. The Wythe Hotel has gotten far too popular, so Berry Park is a great alternative.
What to order? Check out the frozen alcoholic options from Kelvin Slush - the Arnold Palmer is my favorite!
113 N 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11249
This Williamsburg spot has ample seating, delicious German food and plenty of beer options...what is not to love?
What to order? There are many beers on draft, so you can pick your poison. I love that they also offer the fruity lambics that I enjoy!