The Quintessential Craft Cocktail Tour of New York City
In the city that never sleeps, there are naturally an overwhelming number of great cocktail bars that make it hard to choose just one. From hidden speakeasies and Cuban-themed lounges to stunning hotel bars, there’s a plethora of options for the vibe you’re looking for, each slinging masterful drinks. To aid you on your cocktail adventures through New York City Entertainment Voice has chosen the quintessential bars you shouldn’t miss.
This Irish cocktail bar in the Financial District is considered the best bar in the world and consistently wins awards and accolades for good reason. The Taproom downstairs is open all day serving beers alongside an impressive selection of whiskeys, cocktails and punches, but head upstairs to The Parlour for the full cocktail experience. Not one to stop innovating, Dead Rabbit recently unveiled their new cocktail menu that steers in a new direction from their past menus. The new menu “Resurrection” debuted February 2016 and is the first in an installment of six graphic novels each featuring 30 brand new drinks. The bar also has a solid food menu, from their scotch and lobster deviled eggs to lamb shepherd’s pie.
Death & Co
Another of New York’s long-standing cocktail institutions, Death & Co remains one of the city’s coolest. Despite its popularity, the vibe in this spacious bar is inviting and comfortable. Their large cocktail menu, separated by style and spirit types, continue to be innovative and influence the rest of the craft cocktail community. There will be many drinks you’d want to try while you’re here and patrons will be happy to know Death & Co’s food offerings are some of the tastiest as bar food in the area goes.
Sam Ross and Michael McIlroy, two veterans of Milk & Honey, took over the bar’s intimate old space to open Attaboy. While they don’t keep the reservations-only system, the bar still focuses on crafting bespoke cocktails for its guests. Give them your spirit of choice and the flavor profile you desire and the attentive bartenders will create something just for you while slipping in a surprising twist here and there. On the weekends, line forms outside so come early to grab a seat.
One of the newest cocktail hot spots in New York, Suffolk Arms was opened by Giuseppe Gonzalez, a third-generation bartender who’s worked at some of the city’s best bars including Pegu Club, PKNY, Flatiron Lounge, and Dutch Kills. He opened the bar with the friend, Ruben Rodriguez, owner of Havana Café in the Bronx. The cocktail menu includes 11 signature drinks that “stretch the boundaries of mixological creativity” including The Tough Room, consisting of a Guinness with a Whiskey Sour float along with vodka cocktails meant to be “thought bombs” to disprove the bad rap that vodka drinks have. Chef Alex Garcia is in charge of the kitchen churning out classic American fare and nods to the ethnic cuisines found in the Lower East Side neighborhood.
Beyond the sign that reads “Gold Flower Restaurant” in New York’s Chinatown lies another great speakeasy installed in the space that formerly housed an opium den. In keeping with the name, the bartenders behind the marble bar don pharmacy jackets to mix your “prescription” for the night. Choose from a list of categories such as Health and Beauty, Pain Killers, or even Euphoric Enhancers.
This speakeasy in the East Village is still, and will long continue to be, a worthy cocktail destination and one of the coolest secret bars. Guests with reservations sneak through the vintage phone booth inside Crif Dogs to sip cocktails from Jim Meehan and his team on old school leather booths. PDT has topped the list of World’s 50 Best Bars and Jim Meehan has been named American Bartender of the Year. That speaks volumes and you know you’re in for some of the best cocktails in the country including their signature bacon-infused bourbon with maple syrup.
The Raines Law Room
The Raines Law Room recalls a true speakeasy with its candlelit space and intimate seating. Named after the law passed in the 1900s, which regulated alcohol consumption, the bar’s private tables leave guests to their own conversation but each is equipped with a buzzer for when you need a refill on your cocktail from the menu created by Meaghan Dorman.
Another great bar from the team behind Raines Law Room, Dear Irving allows guests to time travel within four rooms, each set in its own era. Start in Renaissance France in Marie Antoinette’s Parlor or head to the 1920s in the Gatsby Room or the 1960s in the JFK Room. The main bar itself sits in the Abraham Lincoln Room decked with velvet couches. Naturally, bartender Meaghan Dorman has also designed a cocktail menu that draws inspiration from the different time periods. The food menu features elevated small plates including croquet monsieur with black truffles and foie gras parfait.
The NoMad is the place to be for a night out to impress. This destination is known not just for the upscale atmosphere but also for the exceptional cocktails. Leo Robitschek and his team of bartenders are slinging some exciting drinks within the spectacular space. Robitschek was awarded World’s Best Hotel Bar one year and the James Beard award for Outstanding Bar Program the next. He expanded his cocktail list for NoMad with large format “cocktail explosions” and reserve cocktails including a $198 Vieux Carre featuring a 50-year-old cognac and Thomas M. Handy Sazerac rye whiskey. Enjoy a perfectly crafted cocktail at the Elephant Bar, in the Library room, or at the The NoMad Bar. The NoMad Bar serves a casual yet elevated menu consisting of dishes such as carrot, beef or tuna tartare and their infamous chicken pot pie with black truffle and foie gras.
Below Schapiro’s lies this basement bar from Alex Day (behind L.A.’s Honeycut), David Kaplan (Death & Co.) and Natasha David (Maison Premiere) is the place bartenders come to drink on their days off and at the end of their shift. There’s a fun, rotating menu filled with innovative cocktails along with a menu of “shorties” – a shot of booze paired with another to wash it down. And don’t forget about the Honor Bar; They’ll bring a bottle from the list and you pay for what you drink. Imbibers can also nosh on small bites from Schapiro’s.
Escape to Cuba with this secret rum punch bar in East Village tucked above the bitters-focused bar Amor y Amargo. Salsa music, turquoise paint, and white shutters bring the tropical vibe to the middle of Manhattan. Opened by Ravi DeRossi of Death & Co, the bar features over 50 rums that are used in the menu of punches and rum-based drinks. There’s also a food menu featuring Cuban small plates from Luis Gonzales from Mayahuel.
Fancy craft cocktails meet low-key, neighborhood bar vibes at this Brooklyn destination named after a group of Philadelphia journalists at the turn of the century who met once a month to eat, drink, and catch up. Similarly, Clover Club strives to provide a place where guests can drink, eat, and converse – which translates to a cozy and low-key environment coupled with great cocktails and delicious food. Julie Reiner’s cocktail menu is organized by styles such as sours, royales and old fashioneds making it easy for guests to choose the perfect drink to end their day or start their night. They also serve a full brunch and dinner menu along with bar snacks.