Best Bars in New York City
New Yorkers love a good drink—maybe that's part of the reason bars stay open until 4 a.m. here. And being an open-minded bunch, they embrace dives, wine bars, and cocktail joints in equal measure.
But this is New York, which means bars in every one of those categories do what they do, heightened to the maximum degree. That high-end cocktail bar is going to mix with ingredients you've never heard of and the stools at that dive bar are going to be stickier than you thought possible in a 21st-century establishment. But you'll see; each sip is worth the risk. Read on for our picks of where to find a meticulously prepared Martini or a locally brewed IPA, a fresh, fruity cocktail or, perhaps even better, a fresh scene; these are the best bars in New York City.
Glady's$$ Let’s clear something up: Glady’s is a restaurant, not a bar, but with beverage director Shannon Mustipher in charge, the drinks are just as much a draw to this Crown Heights Caribbean restaurant as the food. Mustipher is also the author of Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails, so expect expertly prepared tiki drinks like the Ride or Die, with overproof Jamaican rum, sorrel, passionfruit, lime, and bitters; and the house Mai Tai, with Guyanese and Jamaican rums, arrack, orgeat, falernum, and lime. Soak it all up with one or two items off the short menu, which brags some of the city's best Caribbean food—jerk chicken, goat stew, and whole fish are just a few of the toothsome cpossibilities.
Leyenda$$ At this Boerum Hill spot, Tales of the Cocktail-lauded bartender Ivy Mix leans deep into popular Latin American and Caribbean spirits, including rum, tequila, and mezcal. You'll see them mixed up in cocktails like the Tia Mia (mezcal espadin, Jamaican rum, orange Curacao, lime, and orgeat); they can also be ordered on their own. If you're looking for something new, try out the What We’re Into Right Now, a sampling of three spirits selected by the team that changes monthly. And don't let those drinks sit by themselves: hardly standard bar grub, plates like scallop ceviche and octopus tostadas are designed to pair with the house cocktails.
The Bar Room$$$ When some of New York City's elite publishing companies moved downtown, their new neighborhood required great hotel bars for those with expense accounts and a story to tell. Thank goodness for the Bar Room at the Beekman. Because it’s in a hotel, you might land a seat at the bar—a gorgeous number with teal stools and a green-and-gold motif—between a Vogue editor and a tech millionaire here from Dubai. This is a proper cocktail spot with a changing, seasonal menu that seems to always fit the weather outside; also look for the vintage fernet that seems to suit the glimmering, low-light decor.