Food & Drink

10 weird and awesome shots you need to do right now

Published On 04/21/2014 Published On 04/21/2014

You know about the Milk and Cookie Shot. You may even love it. But you don't love waiting in lines for it, which's why we found a bunch of equally outrageous shots to try at bars around NYC, all minus the wait, and plus them actually having booze in them. Like a shot should.

Barcelona Bar (click here for address and info)
Hell's Kitchen
One of the only places in NYC that legitimately specializes in shots, this dive offers a menu of more than 100, including a selection based on pop culture references, like the movie Top Gun and infamous White House intern “Monica Lewinsky”. What you came here for, though, is the Harry Potter. The bartender will throw on a sorting hat and a striped Gryffindor scarf, and awesomely ignite your shot of citrus-flavored vodka using a “magic wand”. Suck it, butter beer.

Jennifer Nalewicki

Do or Dine (click here for address and info)
Don’t let the establishment’s seedy façade fool you -- everything on the menu is a gastronaut’s dream (including the foie gras donut!), plus a tongue-in-cheek riff on a pickle back: the Spherickle Back. Owner and molecular whiz Luke Jackson created it by taking pickle juice and, reverse spherifying them with calcium lactate and some other stuff we’re too dumb to understand, creating yolk-like spheres that pop in the back of your mouth. Bill Nye would be proud.

Jennifer Nalewicki

One Stop Beer Shop (click here for address and info)
East Williamsburg
Be grateful that the barkeeps at this burger bar/growler filling station have kept your nutrition in mind  with the“Mean Bean”, a pickle back variation where instead of a pickle juice back, you get a glass of green beans. And if you're feeling more adventurous/self-destructive? Try the borscht back, a salute to the neighborhood’s Polish roots, served with a shot of vodka.

Jennifer Nalewicki

The Shanty, inside New York Distilling Co. (click here for address and info)
What makes this one unique is not the 16oz can of Brooklyn Lager (that just makes it awesome), but rather, the shooter of house Pink Gin, which is a blend of the distillery’s Dorothy Parker Gin, Campari, and angostura bitters, all dispensed from an antique still sitting on the bar.

Double Down Saloon (click here for address and info)
East Village
Bartenders won’t reveal what’s in this dive’s popular, scary-sounding shot, which is probably all for the better. Overcome the ick factor, hand over $4, and find out for yourself. One word of warning: don’t drink too many of these tropical-flavored shooters, as the one and only rule at this LES institution is, “You puke, you clean”.

Jennifer Nalewicki

Keybar (click here for address and info)
East Village
There’s a reason this bar is considered “the ultimate party place”. Drinks are two-for-one, seven days a week, including its impressive selection of shots. If your game plan is to drink a lot on the cheap, arrive early and claim a space at the red-lit bar that's home to over a dozen signature shots to choose from, including the chocolaty-caramel Rolo (pictured here to the left... to the left, everything you own in the box to the left).

Jennifer Nalewicki

The Stanton Social (click here for address and info)
This restaurant and lounge is known for its creative cocktails, shareable multi-ethnic eats, and fashionable crowd. However, hidden on the dessert menu is a quaff that will not only satisfy your sweet tooth, but also keep your buzz ablaze. The Rootbeer Milkshake Shot -- made with caramel sauce, Michter’s bourbon, and whipped cream -- is probably too thick to knock back in one gulp (unless you want a brain freeze, and are awesome), so you can use the mini black straw it comes with and sip it, like you hopefully don't do for any other shot, ever.

Jennifer Nalewicki

NGAM (click here for address and info)
East Village
Bartenders at this Thai restaurant look to the food menu for inspiration when whipping up cocktails, so they use ingredients swiped from the open kitchen (kaffir limes, chiles, and gingery galangals) to create impressive drinks like the Tom Yum Shot, similar in taste to the spicy hot-and-sour soup found at most Thai restaurants, but elevated with a glug of tequila and a salt-and-chile rim.

Andrew Zimmer

Haven Rooftop (click here for address and info)
Midtown West
Coordination is key when doing this round of shots (so do them early). With the help of multiple shot-glass-shaped bindings, bartenders nestle shots of vodka onto a snow ski and on the count of three, you and your friends tip the “Shot Ski” back at the same time, while bartenders shout “shot ski” and light sparklers. BONUS: you can also score shot skis at Reichenbach Hall and Bavaria Bierhaus.

The Meatball Shop (click here for address and info)
Multiple Locations
One of the few places in the city where you can buy a Jell-O shot, this meatball restaurant offers 'em daily for $2 using one of everyone’s favorite childhood snacks (someone needs to invent the pudding shot, ASAP!). But don’t think you’ll be able to get one during your brunch. Unfortunately, the restaurant only serves them after midnight and at all locations, save for the LES, which only serves beer and wine.

Jennifer Nalewicki is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer who has been published in The New York Times, Wine Enthusiast, Esquire, and more. Follow her on Twitter.

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1. Barcelona Bar 923 8th Ave, New York, NY 10019 (Midtown West)

Known for its wide and diverse shots menu (they've got over ONE HUNDRED varieties!), BB offers up frequent happy hours, trivia nights, and five flat-screens to catch the game.

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2. Haven Rooftop NYC 132 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036 (Midtown West)

On top of the Sanctuary Hotel, Haven is year-round fun for those who seek swanky cocktails with cuisine inspired by the French Alps.

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3. One Stop Beer Shop 134 Kingsland Ave, New York, NY 11222

One Stop Beer Shop, which has refurbished its surroundings in the spirit of the building's original "1920s aesthetic" specializes in craft brews and beer mixology.Thanks to communal seating, this unique space is a haven for any beer enthusiast, making it easy to eat, drink, taste, and buy brews all in one place.

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4. Double Down Saloon 14 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009 (East Village)

With its loud punk rock music and trippy decor -- vivid psychedelic murals cover every inch of the walls and its slogan “Shut Up and Drink” is painted clearly on the ceiling -- Double Down Saloon isn’t for the faint of heart. From Monday through Thursday, this dive will sell you all the “J” whiskies you want (Jack, Jim, Johnny, and more) for $5 apiece in a crazy midnight-to-2am happy hour. While you’re there, try a bacon martini, which comes garnished with a Slim Jim. Also available, Ass Juice (the bartenders won’t reveal what’s in this dive’s popular shot, which is probably for the best). Overcome the ick factor, hand over $4, and find out for yourself.

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5. The Shanty 79 Richardson St, New York, NY 11211

The brick-walled Shanty classes up consumption via a large white-oak-and-steel bar, an antique still, and a window overlooking the fully operational distillery's "beautiful, brand-new Christian CARL still".

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6. The Stanton Social 99 Stanton St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

The Stanton Social is less of a restaurant and more of a culinary experience. The self-proclaimed sexiest restaurant in the Lower East Side boasts a multi-ethnic menu designed to help diners experience different cultures and flavors throughout their meal. There can be up to at least 40 different entrees on the menu at a time, so deciding which food journey to explore will be tough, but ultimately rewarding.

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7. Keybar 432 E 13th St, New York, NY 10009 (East Village)

This East Village dive bar and happy hour haven is best known for its menu of signature shots and two-for-one well drinks. Sidle up to the long oak bar and order a "Brain Damage" shooter mixed with Baileys, peach schnapps, and grenadine or the secret recipe chocolate "Rolo" shot, and chances are your night just got a lot more interesting.

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8. Ngam 99 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

Ngam isn't traditional Thai, it's farm fresh Thai. The East Village spot takes a modern, Alice Waters-like approach to Thai cooking by partnering with local farms to serve a seasonal menu of curries, noodles, and grilled meats. It might be the only spot in the city where you'll find kale fried rice, lobster dumplings, and red curry pumpkin fries. As for drinks, the Tom Yum shot is a must: it's similar in taste to spicy hot-and-sour soup, but it's got tequila and a salt-and-chile rim.

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9. Do or Dine 1108 Bedford Ave, New York, NY 11216

After months of whipping up everything from dumpling nachos to foie gras doughnuts, the team at DOD's lowering resistances to the weird with their fresh liquor license, so that foie won't be the only bloated liver at the table.

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10. Meatball Shop 200 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011 (Chelsea)

The Meatball Shop's specializing in making balls out of meat and serving them either as sandwiches, naked or with various sides (like risotto and polenta).



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