From spectacular bars with a view of the glittering skyline to iconic dive bars, exquisite cocktail bars, speakeasy bars, beer gardens - New York City offers all this and more! Here is Your Ultimate Bar Guide to the most iconic watering holes in the city for a true-blue experience of the Big Apple.
1. EAR INN, SOHO: One of a handful of NYC bars that survived Prohibition, and a New York City Landmark since 1969, this 200-year-old institution remains a beloved watering hole for New Yorkers of all types. Nothing fancy here, just a great burger, a nice, cold pint, and a glimpse into New York history.
2. AMOR Y AMARGO, EAST VILLAGE: As the saying goes – good things come in small packages and by that reckoning, this cocktail bar is absolutely tiny. There are five seats at the bar and standing room for about 10 more, at the very maximum). This single-spirit focused bar has devoted its menu to bitters and Amari since before they were even trendy. Sit back and enjoy the expertly crafted cocktails!
3. TOP OF THE STRAND: The Strand Hotel’s 21st-floor drinkery boasts an uninterrupted sight line of the towering Empire State Building and first-come, first-served benches that offer a front-row seat. Don’t let the imposing main attraction blind you to the rest of the skyline—this truly is the City of Blinding Lights!
4. 7B, EAST VILLAGE: Here’s a bar so high on spirit that it’s hard to match. Also known as Horseshoe Bar for the shape of the wooden bar or Vazac’s after the Polish catering hall that used to be here, 7B is one of those last-remaining relics of true East Village grunge. The eclectic crowd is pretty much a mix of regulars, hipsters and students, all shouting and banging along to metal on the jukebox. Claim to fame – Godfather Part II was shot here.
5. CLOVER CLUB, COBBLE HILL: A forerunner in the craft cocktail movement in Brooklyn, Clover Club is one of the island’s best for great cocktails (you name it, you get it), excellent food and warm vibe.
6. BEMELMANS BAR, UPPER EAST SIDE: Visiting the Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel is like stepping into New York of a different era – one of luxury, indulgence and class. For starters, the ceiling is covered in gold leaf! The waiters are all in white jackets with gloves and the Art Deco legacy is evident everywhere. Bemelmans Bar bears the name of the artist who painted its famous colourful murals, Ludwig Bemelmans. Truly a rite of passage for all those visiting NYC,
7. THE SHIP, LITTLE ITALY: This quaint watering hole is themes as a vintage passenger vessel out at sea – think industrial-grade wall sinks, exposed ventilation shafts, and '70s boat seats arranged to transform two floors into two decks.
8. BOHEMIAN HALL & BEER GARDEN, ASTORIA: This sprawling space is NYC’s oldest beer garden offering a great outdoor area to enjoy warm summer days at one of its many picnic tables. This Czech-style watering hole offers delicious grilled bratwurst and schnitzel to go with the beer.
9. ANGEL’S SHARE, EAST VILLAGE: If you haven’t heard of this bar despite being a NYC regular, I am not surprised. This Japanese cocktail lounge is hidden behind an unmarked door in East Village – possibly making it the oldest new-age speakeasy in town, paradoxical as that sounds. It’s been around for 25 years now, since even before speakeasy bars became super trendy. Don’t miss their cocktail ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’, a bourbon-based cocktail that comes cloaked in a cloud of cinnamon flavoured smoke.
10. DONOVAN’S PUB, WOODSIDE: The city is full of Irish pubs, but few remain as homey, reliable, and unchanged as Donovan’s, which has been a neighborhood staple for over 50 years. It’s best known for its burger -- a juicy, char-broiled, half-pound patty -- but the old-timers are there just to while away the hours with a pint of Guinness. It’s also got a miracle behind it: Owner Joe Donovan put the bar up for sale in 2013, but a regular got together with one of the bartenders to buy the place and save it from destruction.
11. BAR SIXTYFIVE, MIDTOWN: If drinks with a view is your thing, look no further. Bar SixtyFive is one of those iconic fixes on the NYC night scene, located on the 65th floor of Rockefeller Center. The spectacular views of the city are sure to blow you away, especially at night. Just remember to keep a strict watch on your bill, the prices are exorbitant (expectedly so!).
12. LONG ISLAND BAR: COBBLE HILL: It’s single most important claim to fame is the selection of cocktails from the superstar bartender Toby Cecchini who is best known as the man who invented the Cosmoplitan in 1983 (which he, or any of the bartenders, will happily make on request).
13. BEAUTY BAR, GRAMERCY: Themed as a '60s beauty salon, this bar is something else! Chrome-domed hair dryers line the walls (now doubling up as armchairs), manicurists wander about painting nails and a old-school song plays in the background. Don’t miss the really awesome $10 "Martinis and Manicures" deal.
LiveInStyle encourages you to drink responsibly