The cocktail bars in New York provide a unique opportunity to sip from a cup of history and satisfy your senses in breathtaking surroundings.
New York is undoubtedly the site where innovative cocktail menus, such as the Manhattan and the martini, were first created. Today, there are several cocktail establishments in the Big Apple to suit all tastes and budgets.
Many people get their ideas from a broad range of places, which results in very unforgettable hospitality services and flawlessly created drinks. This list has something for every occasion, whether you want creative spins on timeless recipes or fervent seasonal concoctions. A handful of these places were included in this year’s list of The World’s 50 Best Bars, which was chosen by 650 anonymous alcohol experts from across the world.
Masahiro Urushido, director of deliciousness and award-winning mixologist at Katana Kitten, is well known for his proficiency and understanding of the craft of creating Japanese cocktails. The distinctive drinks and small plates served at this subterranean, 80s-inspired club, Urushido, include elements of Japanese cuisine. Nori fries and popcorn Fujimi chicken are available on the menu in addition to the traditional Hinoki Martini with a twist.
Co-founders GN Chan and Faye Chen of Double Chicken Please decided to open their restaurant and cocktail bar on the Lower East Side after travelling the country in a 1977 Volkswagen minivan to share their eating and drinking experiences with others. The establishment is separated between the Back Room, where you can indulge in a variety of creative cocktails, and the Front Room, which offers draft drinks with a more laid-back, industrial ambiance. Their fried chicken sandwiches are a must, even though the pair is known for their imaginative and tasty drinks.
Behind the doors of Attaboy, you’ll discover unique cocktails that would be difficult to get anywhere. Milk & Honey, created by drink historian Sasha Petraske, formerly called these walls home. Why not try Sam Ross’ creation, the Penicillin, which combines Scotch, lemon juice, and ginger-honey syrup? This storied Lower East Side pub, which takes its name from a vintage shop in Belfast, Ireland, may be small in stature, but it is brimming with inventiveness in part because of the absence of a menu.
With a variety of classic drinks on the menu, including the Manhattan, which are whisked through the air on silver platters, this West Village art deco style bar brings its patrons back to the Golden Age of cocktails. Employees Only has an otherworldly ambiance and a devoted following, so any given night is never boring there. While every drink is flawlessly made and delivered by white-jacketed employees, the atmosphere is far from stuffy. As you go through the enigmatic entrance of the tavern, you may even want to make a note of the fortune teller’s specifics.
5. Bar Goto
One of New York’s best bartenders, Kenta Goto, is the proprietor of this eponymous Lower East Side establishment. It’s a place that draws both residents and tourists who want Japanese comfort cuisine and drinks with tastes like matcha, sake, and shochu. Here, you may savour a perfectly cut piece of octopus or a chicken wing marinated in a fiery miso sauce while drinking a shochu cocktail or a sakura martini. The pub has a cosy atmosphere and an understated elegance thanks to its amber lighting and wooden details.
In 2015, French bartender Nico de Soto and Greg Boehm, proprietor of luxury bartending instrument maker Cocktail Kingdom, opened their first cocktail bar. Herbs and spices are crucial components for the taste profiles created at Mace, which are based on time-honoured cocktail making customs. Customers are offered this together with a seafood small eats menu in a contemporary atmosphere.
The Dead Rabbit is a multi-level pub split into three rooms that cater to various drinking experiences. It was created to authentically introduce Irish tradition to the United States. Cocktails, however, are the main attraction of the Parlor, which is located on the second level. Those that travel upstairs will be pleasantly delighted to find themselves in a more upscale environment. You’ll also find The Dead Rabbit’s narrative intriguing since it resembles a New York street gang from the 1800s nearly exactly.
Takuma Watanabe, a former head bartender at Angel’s Share, one of New York’s most famous and pioneering cocktail bars, started his first independent venture, Martiny’s, in 2021. Every visitor is greeted with a warm oshibori (hand towel) as an introduction to omotenashi, the phrase for Japanese hospitality, at this three-story, refurbished carriage house in Gramercy. Nothing is overlooked inside the confines of this comfortable industrial area. You will thus be drinking seasonal, fresh drinks from Kimura glasses that are as thin as paper. Ten traditional drinks with a modern touch that give rich tastes and harmony are available on Watanabe’s cocktail menu. Martinis are the house speciality and The Tea Ceremony is a must for matcha connoisseurs.
The aspect of privacy necessary to attend PDT, which stands for Please Don’t Tell, will be appreciated by those looking for a fun encounter. The wooden bar, exposed brick walls, and even some taxidermy may be found after you pass the phone booth. But make no mistake, they are stunning creations with creative mixes in the drinks. And if they please your palate, Saturday is the day you may unleash your inner alchemist at a cocktail lesson.
9. The Nines
For those seeking a unique experience to enjoy live music, classic drinks, and great food in a cosy atmosphere, check out this unquestionably charming Manhattan piano bar. Here, you’ll be greeted into a room that exudes warmth and grandeur due to the red-hued walls, dazzling chandeliers, and leopard print carpet, all of which are intended to transport its clients to old New York. According to Jon Neidich, owner and chief executive of Golden Age Hospitality, “We definitely wanted to create somewhere that had sort of an uptown-slash-European feeling of elegance while still being chic, sexy, and downtown,” he told Elle Decor in 2022.
10. Maison Premiere
This cocktail establishment is noted for its extensive absinthe list, which boasts the widest variety in the United States, as well as its house-made variations of traditional cocktails. The pub draws inspiration for its design from upscale eateries, oyster bars, and absinthe cafés in renowned locations like Paris. Additionally, Maison Premiere is renowned for its beautiful gardens, which are ideal for champagne toasts in the summer.
11. Dutch Kills
The leather seats and dim lighting in this Long Island City pub, another creation of Petraske, are hallmarks of every establishment run by the creative bartender. Premium alcohol, seasonal ingredients, and hand-cut ice go into making cocktails. Jaguar Nap No. 2 with homemade raspberry syrup, cucumber, and lime juice is available on the menu. Or, why not try Dragon Punch, a concoction of pineapple and lemon juices mixed with smoked tea syrup and nutmeg?
The Bar is the only incredibly elegant Manhattan venue worth dressing up for. It’s hard not to feel regal in this room with its glistening Baccarat chandeliers, black and white chequered flooring, and scarlet walls that evoke the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. All beverages are presented in Baccarat crystal flutes, whether you choose a Baccarat Classic, Champagne Cocktail, or Classique. There is no need to make a reservation since customers are accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis.
This Brooklyn-based, year-round rooftop bar is located on the 22nd level of The William Vale and provides breathtaking views. Because this is a well-liked location for those who wish to watch the sunset while sipping a beverage, it is preferable to arrange a seat in advance. There is also inside seating for chilly evenings. A variety of drinks, artisan beers, and rare spirits are available on the menu, and they go well with the small plates of international street cuisine.
Many bars work much harder to be as amiable and cosy as Long Island establishments. It seems to be the reason that the renowned NYC favourite would offer creative drinks, which also happen to be delicious, as it is co-owned by one of the spirits industry experts recognized with inventing the cosmo. A popular drink is the gimlet, up, which LIB has even made into a refreshing frozen version during the summer.
Upstairs, the newest outstanding cocktail bar in NYC has joined one of the top new restaurants from the previous year. And in a really bizarre switcheroo, prospective members of the Sunken Harbor Club have even been sighted queuing for admittance down at Gage & Tollner—a venue that may be a bit challenging to get into! If you’re lucky, you could be rewarded with the fantastic drinks that these hospitality specialists have grown renowned for across their operations, together with stunning lighting nautical décor.
16. Bemelmans Bar
Bemelmans will continue to be a top-notch cocktail bar with a unique, unmistakable flair after the needless neon bandaid-wearing Gen-Zs get tired of the place and start making the Hard Rock Cafe hip again (again?). The $22 glass of Prosecco, the $35 chardonnay, and the $23 daiquiri are examples of expensive beverages. Nearly nothing is included in the cheap beverages, however there is a $9 Bud Light.
17. Saint Tuesday
One of the newest and most obscurely hidden locations in the city, it might be challenging to identify on your first visit. On Cortlandt Alley near White Street, up an outdoor staircase, via a buzzer, and then a few more industrial stairs. The cramped subterranean area within perfectly captures the atmosphere that other recent entries to the genre are trying to establish. Additionally, it has a nod to a more current craze: “bartender’s choice” drinks. In addition to that, Saint Tuesday’s stone damaged walls, small but not quite cramped round tables, and live music every night all contribute to making a visit there a genuinely joyful occasion.
18. Clover Club
This Smith Street institution originally opened its doors in 2008, and a number of its brilliant competitors have since moved on. Although the breakfast and small plates are fantastic, it’s safe to say that the restaurant’s success has been mostly attributed to its exceptional cocktails. The menu is a tome, and it’s simple to consume a Clover Club with an overly excellent name before you’ve finished reading.
19. 67 Orange Street
The perpetual menu provides enough diversity for endless return trips, the consistently inventive seasonal selections shift with the pages of the year, and all the classics are accessible in 67 Orange’s elegant, brick-lined setting. A sidewalk sitting space and a comprehensive menu are also available.
20. Nothing Really Matters
The subway station at 50th Street and Broadway is the cream of the crop of the recent hidden (or at least seemingly camouflaged) bars. The toilet is clean, the bottles behind the bar gleam like the city skyline, and their contents are skillfully used in entertaining drinks, so it’s more endearing than gimmicky.
Crown Shy, Saga, and Overstory, three hits at 70 Pine Street, are all the work of a single team. The latter is located on the 64th story of the art deco structure, literally above it all. The drinks cost $24 each, which is expensive, but wait till you see the bill at the restaurant just below. Drinks at Overstory with a stunning view seem like a relative bargain from that high up.
22. Little Branch
Little Branch was many fedora-wearing millennials’ first introduction to nouveau speakeasy characteristics when it first debuted in 2005. Despite the line that has been known to form outside, it is still one of NYC’s top options in the category. It is located beneath a small, triangle-shaped building that resembles a garden shed, and the cocktails are better than they should be for the type of location where people would gather in any case.