Food & Drink

The 10 Best Whiskey Bars in NYC

Andrew Zimmer Published On 02/11/2014 Published On 02/11/2014

You can drink whiskey pretty much anywhere... except in your car. Or in the street. Or at your job. Or at the grocery store. But literally, ANYWHERE else, except those places. The best places to do it in NYC, though? These 10 whiskey bars:

Noorman's Kil

Williamsburg

There's pretty much no better place in the world for people who love grilled cheese and whiskey (which really should be everyone) than Noorman's Kil, where you can devour a g-cheese with jalapeño jack, hot sauce, diced tomatoes, and cilantro on sourdough, then eenie-meenie-minie-moe your way through a list of whiskies that includes the usual suspects from Scotland, Ireland, and the US... plus a few less-usual suspects from the likes of India and Sweden.

Isle Of Skye

Williamsburg

Like so many places in Brooklyn, this subterranean spot feels kinda like a den inside a castle that was bought by an NFL player. It's definitely the place to go if you're looking for 1) Scotch pours, and 2) maybe the most comfortable couches in the city.

Char No 4

Char No. 4

Cobble Hill

Their menu has more bourbon and rye than a menu with LOTS of bourbon and rye on it, and they're all available in either 10z or 2oz glasses, and're pair-able with Southern-style eats like pork nuggets and thick-cut bacon.

Highlands

Highlands

West Village

According to a recent survey, drinking a hefty glass of Scotch (with a touch of water), in a Scottish bar, that probably has a Scottish bartender, while eating a Scotch egg, is a really awesome thing to do. This Scotch-centric bar in the Village is just the place to do it.

Maysville

Maysville

Flatiron

Do yourself (and your liver's-self) a favor, and make a beeline for the bar, where you can indulge in endless varieties of bourbon, rye, White Dog, and wheat whiskey, and still get in on their on-point eats.

Flickr/Dominick

D.B.A.

East Village

You may not even know that this place has an incredible whiskey selection because you've been so distracted by their incredible craft beer selection, but it does -- which means you're going to have some serious choices to make the next time you go.

Hudson Bar & Books

West Village

Kick-back with one of their tasting flights (Tour of Scotland, anyone?), and take long drags of your cigar at this throwback, library-esque cigar bar.

American Whiskey

Midtown West

Half-sports bar, half-hunting lodge, AW's the spot for whiskey if you're feeling a little more rowdy/want to put something in a liquor locker/enjoy barreled cocktail service.

The Flatiron Room

The Flatiron Room

Flatiron

In addition to plenty of standard options,  they've also got rare and just-released bottles cycling through the joint. Plus, there's complementary jazz, a balcony that can be used for tastings, and a "Whiskey School".

Flickr/IntangibleArts

The Whiskey Ward

LES

Come here for a selection of great whiskeys, and absolutely no pretense... which is only aided by the daily shot specials, a pool table, and general dive-y vibe.

Andrew Zimmer is Thrillist's NYC Editor, and relaxes every night with a tall glass of whiskey. Bottles are made of glass, right? Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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1. Noorman's Kil 609 Grand St, New York, NY 11211

It's hard enough to do one thing well enough to stand above the crowd in the New York bar & restaurant scene, but Noorman's Kil distinguishes itself for being not only one of the best whiskey bars in NYC, but also one of the best stops for killer grilled cheese sandwiches. From some of the same people who brought you Barcade and Gutter, Noorman's Kil has more than 200 whiskeys, gooey grilled cheese, a wood saloon-style bar, and an awesome outdoor patio space that's perfect for sipping the deep-yet-accessible whiskey menu that NK sources from all over the world. You probably knew that you needed to try a range a whiskeys from the US, Canada, Ireland, and Scotland, but did you know that you also need to try some under-the-radar whiskeys from the likes of India and Sweden? You do now.

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2. Isle of Skye 488 Driggs Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

A whisky wonderland from the team behind Caledonia, IOS is almost hidden beneath street level under a set of stairs. They're shelving 130+ variations of whiskey, focusing on single malt Scotches, but they also stock French and Japanese bottles, plus plenty o' bourbon.

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3. Char No. 4 196 Smith St, New York, NY 11201

This Brooklyn whiskey bar was built out of a passion for bourbon and they feature more than 150 American whiskeys and serve up a variety of American fare with a focus on smoked meat.

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4. Highlands 150 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014 (West Village)

Highlands in the West Village is an upscale gastropub with a Scottish-inspired menu. This classy dinner and drinks spot features dishes like beer-brined chicken, braised pork shanks, and of course, Scotch eggs. Scotch, malt whiskey, and gin-based libations take center stage on the cocktail menu. Brick walls, tartan chairs, and a mounted buck’s head give the whole restaurant an old-fashioned, rustic feel.

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5. d.b.a. 41 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

Inside, d.b.a. is a dimly lit, neighborhood dive, while outside its giant -- by East Village standards, at least -- picnic table-laden backyard and covered patio are a welcome escape from the crowds. The extensive beer list changes, but expect a few rarities to the city, as well as a number of Abita brews on draft, a nod to the bar's New Orleans theme. If you can pry yourself away from the sudsy choices, you'll also find one of the best whiskey (the selection of single-malt Scotches is especially impressive) and tequila line-ups in the city.

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6. The Flatiron Room 37 W 26th St, New York, NY 10010 (New York)

The Flatiron Room is a relaxed, sophisticated nightspot that supplies a collection of over 750 brown spirits. In addition to carefully crafted libations, patrons can also enjoy a number of small bites (such as oysters, charcuterie, and bone marrow), regular live jazz performances, and a rich, timeless atmosphere.

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7. American Whiskey 247 W 30th St, New York, NY 10001 (Chelsea)

With a whopping 150-deep whiskey list, AW is one of (if not the best) whiskey bars in the city. On the food menu, you'll find things like lamb “lollipops” with grape pepper glaze and crushed pine nuts, as well as beef brisket sliders that are way better than they need to be. The 6,500sqft space is conveniently located one block from Madison Square Garden and is especially great for lunch and dinner, or a post-game glass of whiskey.

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8. Hudson Bar & Books 636 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014 (West Village)

Lined with both books and bottles, Hudson Bar and Books is a cozy and elegant spot ideal for smoking a cigar and drinking a Scotch on the rocks. Established in 1990, nestled between townhouses and brownstones, it's populated mostly by locals but is also a destination for in-the-know out-of-towners. The sophisticated interior is immaculate: English monkey sconces, wood paneling, a copper bar, comfortable leopard cushions, and James Bond movies always playing on the small TV in the corner. It has a wonderful cocktail and cigar selection to choose from as well, but there's a cool $5 fee for smoking inside.

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9. Maysville 17 W 26th St, New York, NY 10010 (Flatiron)

Named after a small Kentucky town, this Flatiron bar and restaurant is built around the Southern enjoyment of a good, stiff drink. The diverse and extensive whiskey collection contains more than 150 American options and around 80 from elsewhere, all displayed on a backlit bar. Packed for both Sunday brunch and weeknight cocktail hours, Maysville also offers an intelligent take on Southern food with dishes like crispy squares of grits topped with country ham or smoked pork sausage served over -- what else? -- grits.

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10. The Whiskey Ward 121 Essex St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

The Whiskey Ward is a no-frills LES bar with an extensive collection of ryes, bourbons, and single malts. If beer's more your thing, or you'd like a lighter beverage to even out your drinking, there's plenty of that too.

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