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Best bar for an under the radar burger: Fanelli Cafe
94 Prince St
Dim with dingy charm and the occasional dog panting in the window, you’d never know you were in Soho while in Fanelli's, when in fact you’re just a few paces off Broadway. The burger is sincerely delicious -- the cheese melts into the onion bun rather than the meat, which at first seems unnatural but eventually makes all the sense in the world.
Best post-work Dark and Stormy: Lure Fishbar
142 Mercer St
Weather the work week in a vast sea of a-lure-ing professionals in a wave of invigorating Dark and Stormys at this fancy nautically-themed restaurant whose bar boasts a killer afterwork scene. Then try the finest crispy chicken club sandwich in human history, while ignoring the fact that a seafood restaurant serves the finest crispy chicken club sandwich in human history.
Best grilled cheese and liter beers: Houston Hall
222 W Houston St
There’re five (five!) different grilled cheeses from Milk Truck and the huge steins can be filled with any of the custom-brewed ales and lagers on tap. The high ceilings and picnic tables remind me of a wood-laden sleepaway camp cafeteria, which is odd, considering I never went to sleepaway camp.
Best hotel bar for CLOSING DEALS: The Crosby Bar
79 Crosby St
Drinks at this fancy-funky hotel bar don't come cheap, but that's the price you pay for an ideal outdoor seating area on which to meet the first-round investors you're trying to sell on a Kickstarter for Kickstarters.
Best really, really, really effing old bar: Ear Inn
326 Spring St
The tavern has stood since 1817, but only got its current name in 1977, when the neon “BAR” sign was painted to read “EAR”, after the music mag published on the second floor. Rumor has it that it's haunted by a sailor ghost named Mickey. And that's a great rumor, so we're going to keep spreading the word: it's definitely haunted by a sailor ghost named Mickey.
Best bar for wine on tap and an award-winning burger: B&B Winepub
25 West Houston
Chef Josh Capon has multiple Burger Bash wins at the New York Wine and Food Festival with his American cheese and onion-bacon jammed chef d'oeuvre burger. And although B&B has plenty of bottles, there's also a notable selection of wines on tap so you can taste a few before you choose one/all of them.
Best live music: City Winery
155 Varick Street
So guess what: they have wine. But what you may not know is that spacious City Winery also hosts excellent concerts, even if the acts are a little Baby Boomer-centric. If you're not a grown-up yet, the reserved table seating makes it easy to act like one.
Best rooftop: Jimmy at the James
15 Thompson St
Because no Soho bar round up would be complete without a ritzy hotel rooftop, here's Jimmy. The roof of the St. James comes complete with outrageous views, a stellar pool, a DJ who spins sweet '90s jams, and a general sense of superiority over all people in Ohio.
Best cocktail bar: Pegu Club
77 W Houston St
The original Pegu Club was a famous gentlemen's haunt built in Burma in the 1880s so British officers could drink gin. The Soho Pegu Club revived the classic potion culture -- big ice cubes, fresh juices, and always-homemade syrups -- and paved the way for the roughly seven billion craft cocktail bars that exist in Manhattan today. It's a city staple.
Best for dates: Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels
249 Centre St
The Franco-themed cafe’s global wine list is absolutely colossal. Plus, the two-tops are Paris-small, which makes them perfect for Spanishing your date across the table. Wait. Frenching. That's it.
Best bar food: Puck Fair
298 Lafayette St
The food is standard Irish pub fare, but it’s really, really excellent Irish pub fare accompanied by solid stuff on tap and walls splashed with crazy-cool murals. It's a long-ass, bi-level bar, which means there's plenty of space for all kinds of people, just hopefully none of these 43 chumps.
Best dive: Broome Street Bar
363 W Broadway
A decades-old classic dive, Broome Street provides a quaint, rugged contrast to the swankiness of Soho. Get in here for a cheap beer and the inexplicably wrapped-in-a-pita-cheeseburger soon though, as the bar was recently sold off, and may not be around for much longer.
Carrie Dennis is an Associate Editor for Thrillist and likes to hit all these spots in one night. Follow her on Twitter @CarrrieDennnis.
1. Fanelli Cafe94 Prince St, New York
2. Lure Fishbar142 Mercer St, New York
3. Houston Hall222 W Houston St, New York
4. The Crosby Bar79 Crosby Street, New York
5. Ear Inn326 Spring St, New York
6. City Winery155 Varick St, New York
7. JIMMY at The James15 Thompson St., New York
8. Pegu Club77 W Houston St, New York
9. 508 GastroBrewery508 Greenwich St, New York
10. La Compagnie De Vins Surnaturels249 Centre St, New York
11. Puck Fair298 Lafayette St, New York
12. Broome Street Bar363 W Broadway, New York
Dim with dingy charm and the occasional dog panting in the window, you’d never know you were in Soho while in Fanelli's, home of the city’s greatest old-school burgers (the spot's been around since 1847!). You've got a choice between beef and bison, but you should opt for the rich and thick char-grilled bison on an onion roll. Add cheese or bacon if you please, but there’s nothing wrong with just a regular burger here (alongside a pint, of course).
With its maritime decor, Lure may be the next best thing to cruising around on a real yacht in Manhattan. Located in the heart of SoHo, this subterranean space is decked out (pun intended) to look as if you’re actually dining below deck: curved leather booths, wood paneling, and warm lighting add to the ambiance, as do the circular windows that peek out onto the sidewalk to remind you that you’re still in New York. Expect creative cocktails and an array of seafood-centric dishes like lobster ravioli, horseradish-crusted halibut, and speciality house sushi rolls.
This massive beer hall in the West Village serves 10 craft beers brewed by Greenpoint Brewing Company, the same company that produces beer for Heartland Brewery. On weeknights, its long picnic tables are occupied by corporate happy hour crews whose members may or may not overlap with the frat crowd that takes over on the weekend. The bar food is far from basic, featuring grilled cheese from one of New York’s OG food trucks, Milk Truck.
The Crosby Bar, located in the lux Crosby Street Hotel, is a schmancy affair. Drinks here are mixed expertly to order and the light aperitifs are about as far from greasy bar food as it gets. This venue is a lot more stylish (Kit Kemp decor!) and less rowdy than your neighborhood dive. Your wallet will feel the difference too!
More than a century ago, this SoHo watering hole was a hotspot for sailors waiting for their ships to dock. The Ear Inn is a designated landmark of the City of New York, and the cheeseburger is a designated bar burger of the City of New York (designated by Thrillist, of course). The prime sirloin number topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion is something you absolutely have to check off your NYC burger bucket list, whether you're from here or not. It’s big, it’s juicy, and it goes perfectly with a pint.
Inspired by 1970s New York and classic pubs, JIMMY is an intimate rooftop escape with sleek upholstered seating, working fireplaces, and warm wood floors. Located on the roof of The James Hotel in Soho, the bar boasts unparalleled 360-degree views of the city skyline. Grab a chaise lounge poolside in the summer or sip the mezcal, honey, lemon, and smoked sea salt Pure & Simple indoors when the weather turns cold.
Cocktail connoisseurs flock to Pegu Club, a chic, shadowy barroom hidden off West Houston Street. Named after the eponymous gin drink favored by British expats in Burma during the 19th century and later perfected by master mixologist Harry Craddock, Pegu offers quaffable, gin-based creations, satisfying the palates of discerning drinkers and novice patrons alike.
After years of honing his craft, the chef behind this Med-American joint has refined his brewed-on-premises beer enough to fully take over the taps, from the righteously 10% ABV Strong Ale, to the "caramel, toasty...very clean, and smooth" Red Ale, ideal for pairing with their Lavender and Lamb Gnocchi. He's also capping the suds in liter bottles sporting the Latin motto "It's a new day, keep drinking", which goes a long way towards explaining why Rome wasn't built in just one of them.
This sleek SoHo wine bar (brought to you by the folks from Experimental Cocktail Club) impressively features more than 600 bottles of vino. While mostly French-inspired, it also carries selections from other regions including Italy, Portugal, South Africa, and Spain. Low-slung couches and mismatched chairs give the spot a low-key vibe, and the wide Italiante marble bar is perfect for sharing several of its Mediterranean small plates.
Puck Fair, an Irish pub on Lafayette Street, narrowly escapes the frenzied chaos that is Broadway. Luckily, this casual, tucked-away spot provides the ideal place to flee the shopping-bag-wielding crowds and enjoy a couple ciders beers.
A decades-old classic dive, Broome Street provides a quaint, rugged contrast to the swankiness of Soho. The beers are cheap, the tables and wooden bar are predictably well-loved, and the inexplicably wrapped-in-a-pita cheeseburger is just as delicious as ever -- and at $8, it's one of the best deals in the neighborhood.