Drink like a local - Great NYC Bars
New Yorkers are a social bunch and there are plenty of great bars to satisfy everyone
including wine bars, sports bars, dive bars, cocktail bars and the very unique 'SpeakEasy' bar.
As locals or as a visitor to the city you definitely want to avoid the well known bars or cheesy locations (did someone say Times Square?) Below is a list of bars you won't find in the tourist guide book but offer a great night out with a real "only in New York" vibe.
Dante - Located in Greenwich Village this Aussie owned bar and restaurant is well known for its fabulous Cocktails, Aperitifs, Bellini's and the Negoni Sessions. It is rated 16th in the worlds 50 best bars and is a chic but affordable place to drink and eat in the city.
Dear Irving - a lively cocktail parlor in Gramercy which offers 4 different themed rooms and has a "Great Gatsby' feel to the bar. Small plates are served with a long list of cocktails, spirits, plus the usual beer, wine and bubbles. It can be hard to get in so advance reservations are recommended.
Raines Law Room - This cool speakeasy has two locations - one on the west side and one on the east side. If 'hard to find' or hard to get into' places are your kind of thing then this is worth the effort. Its a small cosy place, so arrive early to nab a table (or velvet couch equipped with a buzzer to call your waitress!). As with most speakeasy's, they are hard to find and usually require ringing a door bell or entering through several doors to get to the actual bar. But i think that all adds to the charm! They also take reservations for groups.
Ghost Donkey - A Mexican themed cocktail bar with lots of fairy lights and typical Mexican decorations - it really feels like you are at a casual tequila bar in Mexico! This bar is also well known for serving great nachos (mmm, nachos). Not super fancy but a fun place to try out, especially if you like a Tequila or two.
NoMad Bar - Although this is a hotel bar, (its part of the NoMad Hotel) it doesn't feel like it is part of a hotel and the gorgeous two level bar feels like an upmarket tavern with plush leather lounges and tables if you wish to eat from the sought after menu. The hotel also has several other bars and dining options which are all equally charming.
Attaboy - Located on the Lower East side with a casual speakeasy vibe, but is really a classic cocktail bar with no menu, so be sure to have your 'Go To' cocktail ready to order when you arrive or let the bar staff whip you up something special. Some of the best and most creative cocktails in the city.
The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog - What would the list be without an Irish pub! located downtown in the FiDi, once voted the worlds best bar, this 3 story pub hosts a variety of different clientele. Ground floor is casual, typical Irish pub style. 2nd floor is more for cocktails with the exhausted Wall St bankers working close by and the third floor is for parties and events.
Top of the Standard - formerly known as the "boom boom room' and host to many a celebrity party the super opulent bar at the top of the Standard hotel in the Meatpacking district is my go to bar when i have friends in town. It has fantastic views and a swanky, sophisticated feel. Bring your Amex card as drinks are not cheap and i recommend booking a lounge or table to guarantee entry. The bar has a strict dress code, no running shoes or flip flops. Dress to impress!
Bathtub Gin - Any bar with a giant bath tub in the middle of the bar is going to be a fun place to visit! I also love a bar that requires entry via another shop front, which this bar does via the Stone Street Coffee Shop in Chelsea.
Of course you must love Gin to drink here and more often than not you will queue to get in.
The Back Room - one of the only 2 speakeasies in New York City that operated during Prohibition that is still in operation today. A hidden entrance starts a fun evening at this vintage bar. Drink cocktails out of tea cups and beer out of paper bags (as they did during prohibtion). Located on the Lower East Side on Norfolk St.
The Campbell Apartment - this only just made the list as it could indeed be a bit of a tourist trap as it is located in the southwest corner of Grand Central Station, but the beauty of this bar is that no one knows it is there! Even if you just pop in for a quick drink it is worth checking out the amazing architecture, ornate style and old fashioned refinery of the space. An Instagram worthy bar.
Apotheke - If you find yourself in Chinatown, then a great little cocktail bar is Apotheke, with a pharmacy theme and drinks being mixed in chemical beakers. Locating the bar can be tricky with no name on the door just a simple chemist sign. It is few doors up from the Aussie run & operated restaurant Chinese Tuxideo which is another great reason to head to Chinatown.
Next month i will cover my favorite topic, the best ROOFTOP BARS in NYC... so stay tuned!