From the team behind Beatrice Inn and 1Oak, Brooklyn Heights Social Club is the perfect place for you to blow your holiday bonus on bottle service. The cocktails may be pricey, but we assure you, they’re worth the splurge. Next time you’re in the market for a celebratory night out, the bar, which is stationed on the 10th floor of 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, is the perfect fit. Your view of the skyline, framed by both the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, will certainly justify the price tag on your elevated gin & tonic.
Part brew shop and part beer bar, ABC is an oasis for beer nerds and casual drinkers alike. With a near endless roster of interesting beers on tap and in the fridge, all manners of beer connoisseurs will be at home. The place has plenty of comfortable seating for large parties, board games for the taking, a big screen for watching games, and excellent cheese plates for when you get hungry -- it’s the ultimate crowd-pleaser.
You shouldn’t need an excuse to down Champagne on any old Tuesday night. That’s the mindset at Air’s Champagne Parlor, a glitzy, bubbly-focused spot in the Village. Opt for a rare vintage and caviar if you want to go all out, or spare your wallet, and spring for one of the more affordable bottles on the menu -- there are plenty. The best part? The bar is committed to bucking the notion that Champagne needs to be expensive by offering bottles at retail prices retail prices -- and, if you don’t finish your bottle while you’re there, you can cork it and take it home.
Upper West Side
A second outpost of the famed Chicago cocktail bar, the Aviary is the latest addition to the Mandarin Oriental (located next to The Office, from the same team) and boasts Central Park views, fancy lounge seating, and cocktails that are given as much dedicated prep as dishes -- with price tags to match. If you’re in a position to spend nearly $40 on a Bloody Mary (congratulations!) you’ll find that here, along with other seriously decadent drinks and a globally inspired food menu.
Since it first popped up in the East Village in 2014, Miracle -- the annual holiday cocktail pop-up from the team behind Mace – has expanded internationally to 50+ locations. Still, you can’t miss out on the OG edition, open until Jan. 1, 2018 at 2am. If you’re looking to lean into the holiday spirit, this is the place to do it. Expect all the tinsel, lights, carols, and dreidels you can stomach, along with plenty of holiday-themed drinks.
Don't go to the new Chumley's if you're looking for the famed West Village speakeasy/pub that opened in 1922 and closed in 2007 after the building collapsed. The reopened bar is considerably fancier across the board -- leather banquettes have replaced old wooden booths and tables and there are upscale cocktails and a full dinner menu featuring a burger with bone marrow. But the walls are still full of the old, restored images and book covers from years ago, the cocktails are incredibly well-made and creative, and that bone marrow burger is truly excellent.
Located inside the new MADE hotel in NoMad, Ferris is the type of place to take a first date -- the reliable seasonal New American menu has options for even the pickiest eater. And while the food is excellent (think beets with black tahini and coconut shavings), the drinks are really what should get you here. The space is buzzy and dim, the cocktails are strong (get the L’amie with vodka, suze, fennel, ginger, and lime), and the seating is intimate enough that you’ll actually be able to hear your date (or eavesdrop on someone else’s).
One thing that immediately stands out about Dante is just how bright the place is. With its whitewashed brick walls and cream-colored banquettes, the refurbished restaurant is a striking departure from the dark woods and dim lighting that otherwise define the city’s cocktail scene. It feels more like a European café than Prohibition-era speakeasy, and the beverage menu reflects that with a major emphasis on bitter-forward aperitifs. If you like Negronis, you won’t find a better one in New York.
Whether you live in Clinton Hill or not, Until Tomorrow should be your new go-to neighborhood bar. The space is charming and mellow, the staff is friendly, and there’s a greenery-filled backyard area you should head to in warm weather. Beyond its extensive cocktail menu, broken down into categories like “Booze N’ Bubbles” and “These Are Not The Drinks You Are Looking For” (i.e. experimental drinks), the food is way better than it needs to be. Grab a crispy chicken sandwich or paté toast, and a twist on a classic cocktail from the “B-Side Cocktails” section.
Lower East Side
From Pegu Club vet Kenta Goto, Bar Goto is a refreshingly calm drinking den, full of warm wood, intimate seating, and little to no noise. Nearly every cocktail on the menu is worth trying, but the one that truly stands out is the beautifully simple Sakura Martini, made with both sake and gin, and garnished with cherry blossom. Be sure to pair yours with an order of the decently spicy miso-glazed chicken wings.
Long Island City
So many modern cocktail bars attempt to nail the underground speakeasy vibe. This place does it better than most. Originally opened by the late legendary bartender Sasha Petraske, this narrow bar was one of the first places to bring craft cocktails to Queens, and remains one of the best in the borough for fancy cocktails (which, at $13, are cheaper than most of the drinks at similar cocktail spots in Manhattan).
NoHo's latest cocktail spot, which opened in the fall, has hopped on the mezcal bandwagon with plenty of mezcal and tequila drinks from mixologist Eben Freeman -- including one with mezcal, Aperol, lime, pink grapefruit, and chili, served in a ceramic donkey -- as well as traditional mezcal tastings. Pair all that booze with several nacho specials (opt for the chorizo- and tripe-topped offering).
The perfect neighborhood bar is the kind of place you can head into any night of the week and feel like you’re in an extension of your living room, just with some additional square footage and top-shelf liquor. The team behind Good Night Sonny started this tradition over at their first bar, The Wayland on Avenue C, and their second spot on First Ave takes that neighborhood-bar feel even further. Grab a seat at the long wooden bar among the friendly clientele and order a cocktail from a menu that ranges from a margarita made with apple juice to a '70-style Disco Old Fashioned. Pair that with a grilled fish sandwich made with pastrami spices and prepare to settle in; you’re guaranteed to make friends with the bartender, and probably some East Village locals, too.
Usually, the only thing worse than a beloved NYC dive closing is when it’s brought back and given an upscale revamp. Holiday Cocktail Lounge is the exception. The menu now includes great fancy cocktails ranging from a long list of classics to new creations like the Ocean Club, made with rum, Amaro Lucano, pineapple cordial, and lime. But you can also still get a beer and a shot, the drinks sometimes come with little plastic dinosaurs in them, and the place has somehow maintained that laid-back, good-times dive bar feel.
From Clover Club’s mastermind mixologist Julie Reiner and her protege (and mastermind in her own right) Ivy Mix, this warm, Latin-American-inspired bar focuses primarily on mezcal, rum, and tequila. Expect original concoctions and new takes on the classics, like the modernized Mai Tai (appropriately called the Tia Mia) made with mezcal, Jamaican rum, orange curaçao, lime, and orgeat.
Wine-drinking can be a bit daunting once it gets beyond the point of choosing between red or white, but this tiny Avenue C wine bar makes it supremely easy. Lois is the brainchild of vino experts Nora O’Malley and Phoebe Connell of ABC Beer Co. and ABC Wine Co., and features 16 different rotating wines on tap in three different glass sizes for seriously affordable prices (and on top of all that, tip is included). The staff’s always happy to help assist you with your choice, and the cushioned bar stools and booth seating give it a homey feel that works equally well for post-work drinks or a date.
The latest bar from the crew behind the much-loved Wayland has opened just a few feet away, offering the same quintessential neighborhood-bar feel with a jukebox, shuffleboard table, and completely unpretentious cocktail and food menus (think frozen banana daiquiris and tacos).
Sometimes all you want is an absinthe drink and some oysters in a charming space modeled after the New Orleans French Quarter, and for those moments there’s Maison Premiere. Note the literal fountain of absinthe as you take down your drinks and bivalves at the U-shaped marble bar, and in the warmer months, grab a seat outside in the lush garden that truly makes you feel like you’ve been transported to the South.
Lower East Side
This tavern-style cocktail bar from Pegu Club alum Giuseppe González and Ruben Rodriguez pays homage to the Lower East Side and important New York figures (note the portrait sketches on the walls of everyone from Ed Koch to Joey Ramone). It’s the perfect place to pop in for a serious but totally unpretentious weeknight cocktail, from a menu largely inspired by Gonzalez’s mentors, Audrey Saunders and Julie Reiner. There’s also a pretty extensive dinner menu with several kinds of burgers, sandwiches, and dressed-up pub appetizers, should you want to hole up in a booth for a while.
For cheap beer and live music, there’s no greater escape from the rest of the city than Sunny’s, the last working-class hangout of its kind along the Brooklyn waterfront. Locals credit the cash-only dive for fostering a sense of community that helped slowly spur the revitalization of this once-forlorn neighborhood. But beyond the big-picture stuff, it’s just a no-frills, mirthful spot, and continues to be, even after the loss of longtime proprietor Antonio “Sunny” Balzano.
Nobody called it “craft beer” when the Blind Tiger first started pouring microbrew-style suds at the original Hudson St location back in 1995. Now, two decades and one relocation later, it remains the city’s holiest site for devout beer nerds. With 28 taps spouting an expertly curated selection of beers from around the globe, there’s something to satisfy every type of palate.
Much to his own chagrin, bartender Toby Cecchini is best known as the inventor of the Cosmopolitan, that pink-tinted vodka drink that conquered the world thanks in large part to its recurring role on Sex and the City. His next greatest achievement: turning this old-school diner into one of the hottest drinking destinations in Brooklyn. Cecchini and partner Joel Tompkins restored the restaurant’s retro-chic decor, while upgrading what really matters: the drinks, like the classic Boulevardier served in a coupe glass. Contrary to popular belief, the staff will actually serve you a Cosmo (not on the menu), if you ask nicely. And make sure you order the burger.
Upper West Side
After years of anticipation, the team behind Chicago’s Michelin-starred Alinea has finally landed in NYC with an upscale speakeasy-style bar inside the Mandarin Oriental. This strictly special-occasion spot (assuming you don’t have a hedge fund) is decked out in plenty of dark wood and leather, and offers $23 spirit-forward cocktails and a $265 tasting menu.
New York City isn’t exactly lacking in dive bars, but there’s a very specific checklist of qualities that the perfect dive bar needs to meet: curmudgeonly bartenders, a grimy bathroom, a jukebox that almost exclusively plays punk and metal, a photo booth, cheap 24-ouncers and shots, and a cameo in Crocodile Dundee. Vazacs, aka 7B, is that dive bar.
A winter drinking tradition for New Yorkers and tourists alike, Rolf’s is where you should be heading post-holidays (once the crowds have died down) for a little additional cheer (and lots of brats and beers). The German restaurant/bar, which resembles an indoor Christmas tree farm, notoriously keeps it’s over-the-top decorations up until the end of May -- so you’ll have plenty of time to grasp onto the holidays for dear life. Before visiting, we suggest you develop a taste for schnapps.