Where to Grab a Drink in NYC Right Now
At the best bars in NYC, an exciting class of newcomers are shaking things up with hard kombucha, Appletinis, and caviar bumps.
In New York City, we know one thing is for sure: Our bar scene is unmatched.
And while we fully back the city’s impressive crop of top-notch drinking establishments—including (but not limited to) singles bars, clubs, LGBTQIA+ bars, and dive joints)—an exciting new class of watering holes continues to maintain the five borough’s reputation as a groundbreaking hub for creative cocktail trends.
Whether it’s the revival of the Appletini or the embrace of hard kombucha, there’s plenty to explore while we celebrate life in the Big Apple. Here are the 18 best new bars in NYC to grab a drink at right now.
Jac’s On Bond
With the star-studded spots of Ray’s and Pebble Bar under its belt, Authentic Hospitality ventures into NoHo for its latest launch. Located in a landmark 1831 townhouse and replacing the brunch favorite, The Smile, the interior of Jac’s on Bond features a livelier front room—that includes scattered seating, an expansive bar, and a main character-esque pool table—plus a more intimate back room with its own bar and cozy tables. For drinks, the Caprese Martini has certainly been the golden child of the menu (and IG stories), although drinks like the Eastern Medicine (sesame fat washed whisky, poppyseed honey, yuzu) are hard to overlook.
A funky (and sometimes club-like) vibe is successfully cultivated at the ’70s-themed joint of HiLot. Created by the minds behind the neighboring Joyface, the bar’s name is a heartfelt homage to owner Jennifer Shorr’s late uncle, who played a major role in the gay liberation movement in San Francisco during the 1970s and went by the drag name of Lottie. Whether you’re a first-timer or repeat customer, the interior draws major attention for its rich purple and pink interior, mirrored ceiling, secret 10-seat backroom (which is affectionately called the “cuddle puddle love pit”), and, of course, the clawfoot tub in the bathroom. On the menu, you’ll find cheeky drinks with names like the Only Fans and classics like Espresso Martinis.
Juneshine New York
A slice of Southern California has touched down in Williamsburg at the first outpost of the San Diego-based Juneshine. Founded in 2018, the brand rose to popularity for its trademark “better-for-you” drinking mission that is backed by famous brand ambassadors like comedian Cody Ko, actor Evan Mock, and more. Now New Yorkers can sip on pints and flights of the company’s ten signature hard kombuchas, natural wines, canned cocktails, and location-exclusive rotating specials—which are brewed at the property’s on-site fermentation system. Within the space, guests can hang out in the front taproom or kick back in the back room. Keep posted on upcoming events via IG.
The beloved dive bar, Milady’s—which closed its doors back in 2014 after a 70-year run and was known for its pool table and cheap beers—has undergone a triumphant revival. Now in the form of a cocktail joint and led by a team that includes industry heavyweight Julie Reiner (Clover Club, Leyenda), the aesthetic here is lively and dipped in nostalgia. On the drink menu, expect contemporary takes on classics like the Big Apple Martini (apple brandy) and Hawaiian Iced Tea (tropical black tea, passion fruit), as well as an array of highballs, rum-centric sips, and Jell-O shots. For light bites, there’s everything from Caviar Dip (served with housemade chips) to Loaded Potato Skins and Jalapeno Corn Dog Poppers.
With an industrial aesthetic that plays into the history of the area, Gair is a striking new cocktail bar in DUMBO. Situated on the iconic corner of Washington Street and Water Street, the concrete-accented bar overlooks the perpetually popular Manhattan Bridge photo opp spot—although the bespoke atmosphere of the watering hole attracts both tourists and locals. The beverage menu offers seasonal libations created with unique spirits like the Old Man and The Sea (Japanese whisky, soy, nori), as well as natural wines and locally sourced beers. While hanging around the U-shaped bar or gazing out the floor-to-ceiling windows, order a few shareable plates like an artisanal bread spread or bites like the The Deviled You Don’t Know (ramen egg, nori, togarashi).
From the team behind cocktail spots like Jungle Bird and The Gray Mare, Bar Americano pulls inspiration from popular aperitivo bars found across Spain and Italy, which are known to specialize in fortified wine cocktails. Taking after its namesake, on draft, guests will find two versions of the Americano cocktail: Classico (sweet vermouth, Campari) and Bianco (dry vermouth). Other specialties include the House Martini (bay leaf oil) and Appletini (vodka, green apple), plus a selection of European natural wines. Also available are tapas-style plates, which are perfect for sharing around the table.
One thing that we can count on in Williamsburg is a hot new warehouse-turned-club popping up every so often. The latest on our radar is an Ibiza-inspired discoteca, called Café Balearica, primed for letting loose with your squad underneath neon lights and shimmering disco balls. Within the two-story space, guests can snag a velvet booth for a chilled-out chat, or travel downstairs to the expansive dance floor where local artists perform on Fridays and Saturdays starting at 9 pm. On the first floor, nightly DJ sets bump everything from disco to house music, while the beverage program plays with vacation-ready beverages like the Pikes Colada (rum, coconut sorbet, champagne).
Following on the heels of hotspots like the swanky NoHo piano bar, The Nines, and the LES wine bar, Le Dive, Golden Age Hospitality’s latest venture is in the form of a late 1800s art nouveau-styled cocktail spot called Deux Chats. The spot’s main focus lies upon an eye-catching selection of skin-contact wines, house cocktails, and inventive martinis like the Kinky Martini (spicy vodka, poblano liqueur). When you’re feeling a bit peckish, there’s a range of raw bar offerings (like the show stopping Petit Plateau seafood tower) and small plates such as Beef Tartare and the Lobster Roll.
The Lower East Side’s lively GuGu Room is an izakaya-inspired spot that combines the traditions of Filipino and Japanese eating and drinking culture. Pair a lengthy menu of small plates like Chicken Karaage and Crispy Gyoza Wrapped Tacos (with options of Rock Shrimp, Kani, and Tuna) with your drink while sitting either at a table, the bar, or the lounge area. Designed by bar expert and partner, Lee Watson, the cocktail program includes house specialities like the Wasabi Mar-Gari-Ta (tequila, calamansi honey, wasabi), along with a selection of sake, beer, shochu, and more than 20 Japanese whiskeys. Keep tabs on their IG for upcoming DJ sets.
A collaborative project from brother-duo and restaurateurs Alex and Miles Pincus, Holywater has cemented itself as a spot that melds boats, drinking, and seafood culture. As part of their nautical-themed Crew Hospitality Group (Grand Banks, Island Oyster, Drift In, Pilot) and the Pincus’ first landlocked venture, along with beers, bubbly, and natural wine, drink options include specialty cocktails that harken the siblings’ Louisiana high-school days like the Purple Jesus (vodka, Kool Aid, High Life, lime). The food program by chef Kerry Heffernan (Grand Banks) offers shareable bites like Caviar Tater Tots and BBQ Shrimp, alongside a choice of three sizable seafood towers.
Also a part of Golden Age Hospitality, Le Dive is a wine bar that draws inspiration from old-school tabacs and bar à vins found in the 10th and 11th arrondissements of Paris. Here in the Lower East Side, the concept boasts an impressive range of natural red, white, sparkling, and rosé wines sourced from smaller vineyards and low intervention winemakers. For its food program, executive chef Nicole Gajadhar (The Loyal, Nix) offers a rotating menu of small plates like Tuna Niçoise; Mushroom Pâté; and Steak Tartare.
After a decade-long closure filled with renovations and changings of hands, the famed haven for 20th century celebrities known as The Hotel Chelsea reintroduced itself to the city last year with a revamped interior, as well as the revival of the legendary El Quijote restaurant followed by the debut of its first ever bar/lounge concept to reside at the property. Dubbed Lobby Bar, the ground floor spot features a marble bar, more than a century-old original mosaic floors, ornate chandeliers, and a display of priceless artwork created by famous former guests and tenants. From beverage director Brian Evans (Rule of Thirds), libations are based off iconic bars from across the world like the Dukes Martini (gin, lemon peel) from London’s Dukes Hotel and the Singapore Sling (gin, pineapple, cherry liqueur) from the Raffles Hotel in Singapore.
At Lullaby, founders Harrison Snow and Jake Hodas excel at their core mission: to offer a neighborhood joint with world-class cocktails that’s approachable and fun. Opened with the guidance of the late bar legend, Brother Cleve, the team serves up playful concoctions that include guest-favorites like The Dole Whip (spiked pineapple soft serve) and The Whiskey Drink (corn whiskey, sherry, mascarpone). Snag a cozy corner or a stool at the bar while curated playlists or vinyl DJ sets play overhead.
New Yorkers were hit hard by the closure of the beloved speakeasy, Angel’s Share, last year. But lucky for us, Tukuma Watanabe, its head bartender from 2013-2021, launched his first solo concept with a new martini bar in Gramercy shortly after. Located in a three-story 1800s carriage house that once was the studio of French American sculptor, Philip Martiny, at Martiny’s, expect expertly-crafted cocktails through offerings like from the Grand Martiny’s (gin, fino sherry, cognac, grape) to Royal Horse’s Neck (cognac, champagne, ginger ale, orange). Alternatively, if you’re thirsty for something more made-to-order, opt for a customized cocktail in line with any preferred spirits and flavorways. The food program led by chef Wayne Cheng consists of small plates like the decadent Steak Tartare.
Named after the popular food journalist and Japan-native, Shinji Nohara (also known as “Tokyo Fixer”), the team behind the world-renowned omakase restaurant, noda, operates this new cocktail bar in the Flatiron District. Dubbed Shinji’s, the intimate 26-seat spot sits in front of its acclaimed sibling restaurant and serves up interpretations on classics like the Tropicana (vodka, house made orange liqueur) and the Dirtiest Martini (served cheekily on a mirrored tray alongside a spiced powder, which allows guests to play with the drink’s flavor). On the food front, there are small bites such as Uni Chawanmushi (alongside caviar) and a seasonal selection of Japanese crudo plus hand rolls.
After a four-year hiatus, the sultry and mahogany-covered NoHo watering hole, Temple Bar, reopened with a revival led by the team behind the Indian eatery, Sona. Since its rebirth, the spot has become infamous for its signature caviar bumps, which offers guests generous scoops of fish roe placed on the back of your hand before slowly being savored and washed down with cocktails like an Olive Oil Martini or a timeless Gibson. For more substantial bites, the menu features small plates like Dry-Aged Beef Sliders and Smoked Salmon Crostini.
The East Village is home to yet another spicy hotspot for nighttime outings courtesy of a bi-level watering hole from the team behind Mister Paradise, Pretty Ricky’s, and Boulton & Watt. On the ground floor, expect a livelier energy via a dance floor, disco balls, and neon lighting; while upstairs boasts a chill atmosphere ideal for catching up over cocktails. Created by Will Krepop (Cote), Wiggle Room’s seasonal selection of drinks include signatures like the Velvet Crop Top (whiskey, bourbon, salted honey) and the on-tap Pretty Ricky’s Ceiling (gin, coconut, raspberry, cream soda).
The brainchild of four Thai-natives and business partners—beverage expert Phattraphorn “Sayparn” Wongsak; restaurateur Boy Niphitkunthong; and chefs Siwapong “Boss” Sudsua and Pui Natthapol Olarickpha—11 Tigers in the East Village melds Japanese izakaya dining with Thai drinking culture. Reigning supreme on the beverage program is a selection of ya dong-based cocktails (a medicinal herb-infused liquor) including the Sua Smash (gin-based ya dong, muddled Thai basil) and the Knockout Tiger (which is smoked to order with rosemary and covered with a traditional Thai prosperity cloth).