There was a period in drinking history when cocktails lost their way, but thanks to so many incredibly talented advocates, craft cocktails are here to stay. Years after the debut of pioneering spots like Milk & Honey, Death & Co. and PDT, the artisanal drink scene is still going strong in NYC. Whether you are looking for a perfect classic cocktail like an Sazerac or Manhattan or something unexpected and experimental, these are some of the city’s very best cocktail bars.
Of course, everyone has their own favorite places for a drink or dram but these are the cocktail bars that we think are doing it proper right now in Manhattan.
Best Cocktail Bars in Manhattan
No cocktail bar list would be complete without a mention of Angel’s Share. This Japanese bar – secretly tucked inside a no-frills late night East Village eatery – is still one of the best bars in NYC, turning out killer drinks (the Eastern Gibson is a favorite) in a chilled out yet buzzy atmosphere.
Amor y Amargo
This place is tiny but the cocktails are no joke. The amaro-themed menu at this East Village spot includes some fantastic riffs on the Negroni – one has mole bitters, people – and lots of other tasty drinks.
This hallowed space was once home to Milk & Honey, arguably one of the first speakeasy-style spots in Manhattan. Attaboy has taken over and the cocktails and the lack of scene that you get when you cocktail there.
Bathtub Gin is located not so subtly behind Stone Street Coffee with a line snaking down the sidewalk long after coffee-drinking hours. You still get that speakeasy feel and some great cocktails.
The Upper East is certainly not known for being the coolest ‘hood in NYC, but having a drinks at Bemelmans Bar is a rite of passage for any true cocktail lover. This spot is all about the classic which are done with precision and come out just right each time.
Located on famed Irving Street and brought to you by the team behind Raines Law, this venue has something for everyone. The railroad style layout is separated into different time periods in history and is inspired by Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. The handcrafted cocktails are certainly some of the very best in the city if you are lucky enough to get inside.
You’ll come for the duck, but come back again and again for the drinks. This subterranean hangout boasts a simple but exciting list of drinks – including one made with duck fat-washed bourbon! – that pair perfectly with the Asian bites. Note: the Katz’s spring rolls are a necessity once you start drinking.
This West Village cocktail den is everything you want it to be: dark and sexy with live music, private nooks – and a cocktail program extraordinaire. The bar staff here will blow you away with their knowledge of the craft and you will be back for more.
Mace Bar Alphabet City
Mace Bar is part of the Cocktail Kingdom cocktail bar that is like nothing else in the neighborhood, including the look of the venue to the rotating cocktails created by Nico De Soto.
Manhattan Cricket Club
If you think the Upper West Side is all about baby strollers, think again. This drinking spot, on the second floor of a townhouse where restaurant Burke & Wills resides, the Manhattan Cricket Club offers the neighborhood a super cool spot to enjoy top notch drinks.
Since opening, this Lower East Side mixology mecca – from the team behind Death & Co. and 151, plus nightlife veteran Natasha David – has been a go-to for the artisan drink lovers. The menu is vast and there is something for every taste but we suggest you just let the talented staff bring you something outstanding.
The East Village is ground zero for many of the city’s craft cocktail bars – and Pouring Ribbons is one of the very best. Head up the stairs to this second level watering hole, pull up a chair at the bar and enjoy. Seriously, this place has some of the best tipples in town – and we are especially loving the newly launched 80s night. You will, too.
Raines Law Room
You have probably walked by this bar on 17th a hundred times and never knew that it was there. Although the ‘speakeasy’ vibe has been done many times, Raines Law Room honors the true spirit of the concept. If you are lucky enough to get inside, the sexy decor is only surpassed by the incredibly sexy crafted cocktails. This is a true special occasion bar worthy to be on your must list.
Seamstress has succeeded in creating a very special bar that is truly worth heading to the Upper East Side. Not only are these some of the most serious cocktails in town, but the all-star bar team brings a fun downtown vibe to the neighborhood that lacks any hint of pretension and is perfect for dates or group outings.
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