It is no secret that some of the best restaurants in the country are in New York City. But did you know that the same goes for the bars in New York City, too? There are so many amazing cocktail bars to explore across all five boroughs in the city. From rooftop bars to speakeasies to hidden gems, there is something for everyone in the Big Apple. Put any of these eight must-visit cocktail bars in New York City on your itinerary and you will have a spectacular night on the town.
Jungle Bird is a southeast Asian and California-influenced bar in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood that serves tropical cocktails and small plates like dumplings and shrimp skewers. Both the food and drinks focus on bright, fresh flavors and colorful ingredients. The bar gets its name from a drink of the same name but make no mistake – this is not a tiki bar.
The vibe at Jungle Bird is modern and bright while at the same time having the air of bars in New York City that you would see in an old black and white film. The cocktails have fun names like Baby One More Time and I Drove All Night.
Jungle Bird (174 8th Avenue) takes online reservations for both their indoor and outdoor spaces about a month in advance.
Raines Law Room at The William
Tucked away in The William hotel is Raines Law Room, one of the amazing little speakeasy-type cocktail bars in New York City. After you have climbed the stairs of what looks like an old brownstone, you are greeted at the door to confirm your reservations. You are then escorted down the hall and through a curtained doorway into a dark little room with cozy chairs, small tables, a fireplace, and a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf. The inside of Raines Law Room looks like the sitting room or study in a 1920’s mansion and truly feels like you have been shown into the backroom of a secret prohibition-era bar.
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A cool feature that places this bar on the must-visit cocktail bars in New York City list is the little light and pull-string at every table in the indoor parlor that alerts your server you need something. When you are ready for another round, turn it on to light up a number on a board above the fireplace. Otherwise, they tend to give you some space. If you are looking for some inspiration on what to order, if Pear of Aces or Aurora are on the menu, do not pass them up. If you are looking for something boozy, give Bad Love a try.
Raines Law Room at The William (24 East 39th Street, between Park & Madison) is located in Midtown, not too far from the Empire State Building. There is also a second location in Chelsea. Both of these hit bars in New York City take reservations 30 days in advance.
La Noxe is the new hotness of bars in New York City. It is a super cool little spot where the entrance is hidden away at the entrance of the 28th Street subway station. This is the place to be if you want to feel like one of the in-the-know people in New York.
It has a major speakeasy vibe from the moment you arrive because you have to ring the bell to be let in. It is tiny – there are only around nine seats in the entire place, so reservations are hard to get. It is intimate and dimly lit with a vintage, exclusive club sort of feel. They serve a selection of tapas along with amazing craft cocktails.
La Noxe (315 7th Avenue – the entrance can be found at 162 W 28th Street) opens reservations only 10 days in advance and are for 90 minutes because the place is so small. After 10:30 pm they have a late-night cocktail and “discotheque” situation and take walk-ins based on capacity.
You cannot consider bars in New York City and leave out rooftop bars. Not only do you get to have fabulous drinks and small bites, but you also get to see the city at night from the best views. Bookmarks is a swanky little cocktail lounge on top of the Library Hotel that boasts literary-inspired cocktails like the Tequila Mockingbird and the Catcher in the Rye. They also offer small plates. Do not pass on the truffled popcorn.
Bookmarks is located on the 14th floor of the Library Hotel (299 Madison Ave #14, at 41st Street) and takes online reservations, which are encouraged because it is another small space with limited capacity, especially if you are looking to sit outside on the terrace.
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Located in Brooklyn, Philomena’s has a vintage feel with its dark wood and leather booths. This is probably one of the only bars in New York City that focuses so much on your drink’s ice. Their specialty cocktails feature intricately designed ice cubes infused with all sorts of interesting ingredients that change the flavor of your cocktail as you drink it. For instance, the namesake cocktail is a glass of prosecco that features a rose-shaped ice cube infused with watermelon rosé. Other infused ice cube flavors include habanẽro and honey rhubarb, among others.
Cocktails are served alongside wine and beer but you would be crazy to skip out on some of their unique drinks. Like many other bars in New York City, they also serve a minimalist menu of dips and bar snacks. If you need a little nibble with your fancy drink, you will find things like duck liver mousse and crudité on the menu.
Philomena’s (790 Grand Street, Brooklyn) does not take reservations, so go early to snag a seat at this little gem of bars in New York City. Just look for the blue neon martini sign.
Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge
Perched 18 floors above the city atop the Moxie Hotel, Magic Hour may just be one of the most Instagrammable bars in New York City. Designed as an urban amusement park, the bar’s gallery-like entrance hall features whimsical topiary animals in naughty positions. A small interior lounge has an urban-industrial vibe with wire mesh panels on the ceiling and walls. Then there are the two outdoor areas with the most spectacular views. One side overlooks the Empire State Building and looks like an elegant garden party. The other side features a rotating antique carousel turned seating area.
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The bar also features Foreplay, a miniature golf course that, instead of windmills, has follies of colossal-size animals in flirty poses like a pole dancing cat and a sexy female bunny.
Magic Hour (485 7th Avenue) serves both brunch and dinner, in addition to a late-night menu. The drink menu features all the usual suspects plus a section called “Curiosities” that includes shots and drinks served in “curious vessels of all shapes and sizes.” It is open year-round, so make a reservation here no matter when you visit the city.
The Dead Rabbit
The Dead Rabbit is one of the must-visit cocktail bars in New York City because not only is it the only authentic Irish pub in the city, but it also has an amazing cocktail menu. Founded by two guys from Belfast, Ireland, The Dead Rabbit is unpretentious and inviting. It draws a regular crowd from nearby Wall Street as well as plenty of visitors coming to check out what has been voted best bar in the world more than once.
The ground floor looks like a traditional Irish pub with sawdust on the floor, 800 images of daily life in Belfast hanging from the ceiling, and the largest collection of Irish whiskey in America behind the bar. If you are looking for something a little quieter and a little cozier, check out the second-floor cocktail parlor. There are just over 70 cocktails on the menu, but whatever you do, do not leave The Dead Rabbit without trying their Irish Coffee. It is the best.
Located in the financial district, The Dead Rabbit (30 Water Street, near Broad Street) does take reservations online, so reserve a table and spend some time enjoying a little (or a lot of) Irish whiskey.
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One of the most happening bars in New York City is The Roof. This luxurious rooftop bar has floor-to-ceiling windows and a beautifully landscaped outdoor terrace, so you have a panoramic view of Manhattan no matter where you are seated. It is perfect for a sunset cocktail on a clear evening. You will not believe how amazing the city looks as the sun sets and the city starts to light up. After dark, the bar turns into a sexy late-night hotspot and hosts DJs from both New York City and around the world.
The Roof is located in the Lower East Side on top of the PUBLIC Hotel (215 Chrystie Street, 18th floor) and takes reservations. Just be sure to dress smart before heading to this hot spot. This is not one of those bars in New York City that is a casual affair.
It should be no surprise that there is no shortage of bars in New York City. It is, after all, the city that never sleeps. An amazing night on the town here might include dinner and a Broadway show or a trip to see the views from the Empire State Building before a few drinks somewhere fantastic. Wherever your plans take you, these eight fantastic bars in New York City promise a good time whether you are looking for something casual, fancy, exclusive, or fun and funky.
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