Food & Drink

The 8 Best Places to Drink in NYC This Spring

Alia Akkam Published On 03/26/2015 Published On 03/26/2015
Courtesy of Paul Wagtouicz

Spring is (kind of, sort of, not-really-but-we-can-dream-can’t-we) here, and with it, a megacraploadton of openings since our last bars-to-hit-in-the-city update. From a shrine to beer in Queens, to a revamped East Village watering hole, here are the eight best new spots you need to be drinking in this spring.
 

Holiday Cocktail Lounge

East Village
Back in the day, the Ramones and Frank Sinatra used to kick it at the old East Village dive, but it closed in 2012 and NYC feared it was lost forever. BUT NO! The dude who spawned Pirate Booty (yes, the snack) decided to give it an overhaul (while still not daring to remove that signature red awning). The real action takes place by the horseshoe-shaped bar, where Long Island Iced Teas are made on the gun and drinks like the Los Hollywood (whiskey, Fernet Branca, bitters) are dreamed up by ace cocktail bros, Michael and Danny Neff.

Courtesy of Herminio Torress/Seamstress

Seamstress

Upper East Side
Upper East Siders have further proof their once sleepy ‘hood is transforming into a choice imbibing territory with the arrival of this collaboration between the good folks at the Gilroy (just a few blocks over), Ducks Eatery, and former Dead Rabbit bartendress Pamela Wiznitzer. Grab a Mortimer & Mauve (whiskey, chai-infused sweet vermouth, ginger liqueur) and a sexy red banquette, and keep the fashionable theme (which, yeah, includes a few sewing machines) going by perusing the on-site shop devoted to leather goods.

Photo courtesy of Jose Fernandez/Mess Hall

Mess Hall

Harlem
For those evenings when you're craving a pint and/or a swig of whiskey (so... every... night?), look no further than this Harlem bar -- a cozy space, kitted out in vintage goods and taxidermy that comes from the same arty trio behind Double Dutch Espresso next door. Instead of an Americano, though, you’ll be sipping a hickory-smoked Campfire Manhattan, Bell's Two Hearted IPA, or one of the 20 or so bourbons on offer. Bonus: because this is a true neighborhood bar, the happy hours are held nightly. Additional bonus: the beloved $5 beer-and-a shot special is a thing here.

Courtesy of Gregory J. Buda/Up & Up

The Up & Up

Greenwich Village
Matt Piacentini, of the dearly departed Beagle, has thankfully returned to the city’s drinking landscape with subterranean Up & Up, a sexy, wallpapered spot in Greenwich Village cranking out well-made tipples (the well made-iest of which is the Foster Avenue with Glenmorangie Scotch, Perucchi vermouth, pear eau de vie, honeydew melon, orange bitters). If you're going with a group, get one of the jacked-up bottles of Messier Manhattans. If you're not... probably still get one of those. Snacks like pork rillettes with chimichurri aioli ensure you won’t be leaving any time soon.

Courtesy of Jacob Reder/Julia’s

Julia's

Ridgewood
The gals behind sunny-walled coffee joint Norma’s, in is-it-Brooklyn-or-is-it-Queens Ridgewood (it’s Queens, FYI), are also behind this airy new beer & wine bar with a bistro-like black-and-white-checkered floor. The beers have a local spin -- the borough’s own Transmitter Brewing F0 Farmhouse Ale and SingleCut Billy Half-Stack IPA among them -- as does the food. This translates to beef turnovers braised in Ithaca Nut Brown Ale and brats cooked in Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold, which is obviously good news.
 

Lazy Point

Hudson Square
Until you're invited to the Hamptons, washing down oyster pot pie with a gin-and-beet Beaten Gypsy cocktail here is the closest thing you’re gonna get to seaside bliss. Do it.

Courtesy of Lois

Lois

Alphabet City
Swilling wines on tap has become a real thing in recent years, but at Lois, it's an even REALER thing. The two ladies who run the mirrored den, from Alphabet City Wine Co. and Alphabet City Beer Co., serve all 16 of their selections straight from the spigot. Dig into duck confit arepas alongside California-made Saintsbury Pinot Noir and wind down the evening with Gotham Project’s Katas Palomino Sherry.

Courtesy of Andrew Kist

Porchlight

Chelsea
We all know Danny Meyer strikes gold with restaurants, but now he’s hoping to lend his Midas Touch to the world of bars, too, via Porchlight, a collab with Mark Maynard-Parisi, his Blue Smoke partner. The spot has a classy Southern vibe, which means head bartender Nick Bennett might ply you with a Whiskey & Cola (mellow corn whiskey, Fernet-Vallet, homemade cola syrup) while you snack on jalapeño cheddar cornbread. When the Sazerac becomes one too many, however, the totally chill indoor porch, complete with rocking chairs, comes to the rescue.

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Alia Akkam is a food, drink, travel, and design writer for myriad outlets. Follow her on Twitter.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Holiday Cocktail Lounge 75 Saint Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

Back in the day, the Ramones and Frank Sinatra used to kick it at Holiday Cocktail Lounge, but it closed in 2012 and New York diehards feared it was lost forever. BUT NO! The mogul who spawned Pirate's Booty (yes, the snack) bought the East Village dive and gave it an overhaul (while still not daring to remove that signature red awning). The real action takes place by the horseshoe-shaped bar, where Long Island Iced Teas are made on the gun and drinks like the Los Hollywood (whiskey, Fernet Branca, bitters) are dreamed up by ace cocktail brothers, Michael and Danny Neff.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Seamstress 339 East 75th Street, New York, NY 10021 (Upper East Side)

Created by the team behind nearby bar The Girloy (Josh Mazza and Steve Laycock), Pamela Wiznitzer of the Dead Rabbit, and Will Horowitz of Ducks Eatery, Seamstress focuses on All-American food and drink, including a bar menu split into six distinct sections -- fresh, spirit forward, low proof, elaborate, nonalcoholic (?), and large format (!) -- as well as a section on the back dedicated to 50 cocktail classics from the 50 states. Food is pub-grub taken to the next level, so a smoked mutton burger with triple cream cheese on brioche, and a braised pork shank with dry tomato, fermented black bean, and spruce.

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3. Mess Hall 2194 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026 (Harlem)

An exposed brick interior and taxidermy-covered walls make up this community hall-slash-bastion of craft beer and bourbon that brings Harlem residents together nightly for hot dogs and brews. Mess Hall's campy aesthetic continues outdoors, where picnic tables and extensive flora round out an intimate, group-friendly patio perfect for happy hour.

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4. The Up & Up 116 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012 (Greenwich Village)

This sexy, wallpapered spot in Greenwich Village is cranking out well-made tipples (the best of which is the Foster Avenue with Glenmorangie Scotch, Perucchi vermouth, pear eau de vie, honeydew melon, orange bitters). If you're going with a group, get one of the jacked-up bottles of Messier Manhattans. If you're not... probably still get one of those. Snacks like pork rillettes with chimichurri aioli ensure you won’t be leaving any time soon.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. Julia's 818 Woodward Ave, Ridgewood, NY 11385 (Queens)

The gals behind sunny-walled coffee joint Norma’s, in is-it-Brooklyn-or-is-it-Queens Ridgewood (it’s Queens, FYI), are also behind this airy new beer & wine bar with a bistro-like black-and-white-checkered floor. The beers have a local spin -- the borough’s own Transmitter Brewing F0 Farmhouse Ale and SingleCut Billy Half-Stack IPA among them -- as does the food. This translates to beef turnovers braised in Ithaca Nut Brown Ale and brats cooked in Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold, which is obviously good news.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. Lazy Point 310 Spring St, New York, NY 10013 (Greenwich Village)

This Downtown option rocks top-notch cocktails along with creative food to pair it with. Down a Beaten Gypsy with gin, fresh beet juice, and rosemary, then also-down the Buffalo pork belly and a grilled cheese with white truffle honey mustard, kimchi, aged cheddar, and gruyere.

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7. Lois 98 Avenue C, New York, NY 10009 (East Village)

Don't expect to see any bottles at Alphabet City's wine bar Lois: tradition is bucked with a bar serving some 15 vintages from a tap, which is known to be better than old school bottling methods for flavor longevity and lower costs. It shows: red-heavy, global vintages are fairly priced by-the-glass, from Argentinean malbecs to Californian pinot noirs. Order some cheese and a charcuterie plate in the sleek space with mod accents, and Lois becomes the kind of wino you can love.

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8. Porchlight 271 11th Ave, New York, NY 10001 (Chelsea)

We all know Danny Meyer strikes gold with restaurants, but Porchlight, a collaboration with his Blue Smoke partner Mark Maynard-Parisi, represents his foray into the world of bars. The spot has a classy Southern vibe, which means a typical order here includes a Whiskey & Cola (mellow corn whiskey, Fernet-Vallet, house-made cola syrup) and jalapeño cheddar cornbread. When the Sazerac becomes one too many, however, the indoor porch, complete with rocking chairs, comes to the rescue.

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