Food & Drink

14 NYC Bars That Are Literally Underground

Published On 08/12/2015 Published On 08/12/2015
Courtesy of Sam Oberter
Courtesy of Jess Nash
Courtesy of Oscar Lineras
Courtesy of The Shakespeare
Courtesy of Robert Jamieson
Courtesy of Flute Bar & Lounge
Courtesy of Chris Potter
Courtesy of Shantanu Starick
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1. Jimmy's No. 43 43 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

A downstairs joint in one of the most bar-heavy neighborhoods in the whole country, Jimmy's No. 43 has a perfectly sized and approachable craft beer selection without the pretense of being too exclusive. The staff insist that you sample a sip of beer first before committing, and the cozy environment and upscale food cap it off to make Jimmy’s a neighborhood mainstay. It differentiates itself from other beer bars with an Asian-fusion menu featuring Filipino-inspired dishes like chicken wings adobo and pork belly tacos.

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2. Sakagura 211 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017 (Midtown East)

Tucked below a standard Midtown office building, this Japanese izakaya/sake bar offers more than 200 sakes to choose from. The extensive menu is color-coded and cross referenced to give you hints to what bites to pair your drink with, from slices of chilled roasted duck wrapped around scallions to pork shumai. Most dishes are served in small, tapas-like portions, and are meant to be shared. If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of options, Sakagura offers almost all sakes by the glass, carafe, or bottle, so you can start slowly while you refine your tastes.

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3. Sake Bar Decibel 240 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

This cozy (i.e. tiny) bar is the place to come for a Sake experience. Sake Bar Decibal has been around for a while, serving up a massive list of stellar Sake options. Order some edamame to munch on between sips.

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4. Shalel Lounge 65 W 70th St, New York, NY 10023 (Upper West Side)

Down some dimly lit steps you’ll find a Moroccan den complete with candles, lanterns, and all the decorative throw pillows you could possibly need. Come for the dark, private corners, but stay for the lamb meatballs.

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5. The Tippler 425 W 15th St, New York, NY 10014 (Chelsea)

The focus at this subterranean den is the cocktails, which include a Tippling Redux section sporting drinks originally created for other bars (e.g., Mercadito's mezcal, Averna, grapefruit & ginger beer Dizzy Oaxacan), and Lushies: kicked-up frozen drinks including Negronis, the Screaming Greenie (absinthe, vodka, lemon, "exploding basil leaves"), and, made with bison grass vodka, cukes, grapefruit, anise, and mint, the Derek Smalls.

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6. Pulqueria 11 Doyers St, New York, NY 10038 (Chinatown)

Pulqueria provides the authentic Mexican atmosphere with blue and white tile floors, woven patterned ceilings, and traditional beverages from fermented agave sap (pulques). Alongside the cocktails, feast on a full menu of eats including eight types of tacos, stuffed masa pockets, and tuna ceviche toastadas.

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7. Little Branch 20 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014 (West Village)

Stashed in a hard-to-locate, speakeasy-style basement where the bartenders wear suspenders and the standup piano encourages jazz trios, Little Branch is a Prohibition-style bar doing cocktails like Sidecars and Aviations. The space is dark and candlelit, and if you don't want to squint at the menu in a dark corner feel free to have the bartender whip up something customized for you.

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8. The Shakespeare @ The William 24 E 39th St, New York, NY 10016 (Midtown East)

The Shakespeare is a British pub in every shape and form. They have the classic staples like shepard's pie, fish n chips and loads of other stick-to-your-bones food to keep you full and warm even during the coldest of months.

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9. The Ship 158 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10013 (Soho)

This bar is completely selling its middle-of-the-ocean theme, thanks to multiple "decks" for seating and exposed industrial details. The cocktail menu includes plenty of options, including the Bartender's Choice -- which is exactly that, with the caveat that you can send it back without a fight if you don't like it.

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10. Mulberry Project 149 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013 (Little Italy)

Just for your imbibing needs, the experts at MP've have an urban oasis out back, with cafe-style seating and picnic-y booths surrounded by four installations (concert poster-/ advertisement-themed street art, etc...). Their indoors are serving up delicious 'tails and stellar company.

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11. Nitecap 151 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

This high-end speakeasy (make sure you don't walk past it -- look for a bouncer down a set of narrow stairs) is a dark and moody space with throwback music, exposed brick, and a backlit bar. It comes from the owners of Death & Co., so you know you're getting expertly crafted cocktails with premium ingredients. That said, the extensive drink menu changes with the seasons, but you can expect inventive concoctions like the Play It Cool (which you should do here), mixed with vermouth, jalapeño-infused tequila, cane juice rum, avocado, green bell pepper, and lime juice.

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12. The Craic 488 Driggs Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (Williamsburg)

This bar beneath the streets of Williamsburg is the spot for all those times you just want to crawl underground, pretend your name starts with Sir or Lady, and drink a proper whiskey. That's right, a whiskey bar founded by an Irish and Scottish duo pouring liqueurs from the motherland.

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13. Shorty 20 Prince St, New York, NY (Nolita)

Located beneath neighborhood staple Jacques on Prince St, this underground cocktail haven is doubling up the awesome with eats from the restaurant above in addition to their amazing craft cocktails.

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