19 Places To Grab A Drink Where You Can Also Get Good Food
When getting a drink is priority one, but you also want the option to eat something good, use this guide.
Do your upcoming plans involve meeting a former coworker you haven’t had a real conversation with in years or a total stranger who your neighbor thinks is your soulmate? Your best move for tricky situations like these is to meet at a cool place to drink that also serves good food. It’s the ideal noncommittal setup that allows you to meet for a cocktail, and be on your merry way if you quickly realize you have better things to do. If you end up having a good time, this solution also ensures you won’t have to bail when you realize you haven’t eaten since noon. These spots have your bases covered either way.
photo credit: Emily Schindler
Just in case your meetup turns into a lengthy night, you might as well be at the best wine bar in the city. This Clinton Hill spot from the Oxalis team specializes in natural wine (mostly Chilean and Spanish varietals), and any awkward silences will immediately be filled with talk about how good the small plates, like sardine toast and flounder tartare, are. You should know that it’s hard to snag a reservation, but there’s a big bar for walk-ins.
The food at Dhom, a Lao restaurant in the East Village, seems designed to pair perfectly with drinks from their extensive beer, sake, and cocktails list. Grab a booth or a seat at the long bar, and start with the best things here: the skewers. Choose from duck heart, hanger steak, or chicken thigh on a stick, all marinated in a sweet-and-smoky sauce. If your conversation about underrated Nicolas Cage movies seems like it’ll go long, add some spring rolls and crunchy coconut rice salad.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.
Leyenda makes some of the best cocktails in Brooklyn, and the mezcal, tequila, and cachaça-based drinks are reason enough to come to this Cobble Hill bar. But this place also serves some very good Latin food, like pork tacos with pineapple and enchiladas topped with thick mole. All of the above are best enjoyed on the patio out back.
Palpal in Nomad is from the team behind a lot of other recommendable spots in the neighborhood like Nonono and LittleMad. You can drink a variety of highballs, beer, and sool here, and when you find yourself needing sustenance to soak up that alcohol, start ordering the inventive Korean small plates like the spicy galbi and rice cakes reminiscent of honey butter chips. The service is easygoing, the space is sleek and industrial, and it’s pretty easy to get a table here.
You may not know if your night will last one hour or five, but Martiny’s is the type of place you take someone when you’re aiming for the latter. This Japanese cocktail lounge in a cozy, three-level carriage house in Gramercy will impress anyone you bring. We think about their clever caprese cocktail often, which tastes exactly like its namesake salad—and the small plates are just as memorable. Try the silky scallop custard or the creamy wagyu tartare. Drinks are pricey, but again, this isn’t where to go if you want $2 shots.
photo credit: Melissa Hom
Located under the Williamsburg Bridge, this Belle Époque-themed spot is a little less sceney than its sister bars (Le Dive and The Nines). The bright, vaulted space filled with distressed mirrors and ornate light fixtures puts you in a cocktail-drinking mood, so order the slightly spicy Kinky Martini. Liquor on an empty stomach is never a great idea, so start navigating your way through the mostly-seafood menu as soon as you sit down. Be sure to get some chilled sardines, salmon crudo, or a seafood tower if you’re feeling fancy.
This Basque spot on East Broadway is ideal for drinking and snacking. We especially like the gilda skewer with tuna and the delicate croqueta de gallina, which has a bechamel center that tastes like the lovechild of chicken noodle soup and macaroni and cheese. Ernesto’s is the perfect neighborhood spot to drink some interesting wine and catch up with a friend, except unlike other neighborhood wine spots, they serve a mountain of potato chips and ham.
If you want a relaxed bar atmosphere on the LES, check out Bar Goto. It’s a little Japanese-inspired cocktail bar that also happens to have some very good appetizers, including a couple types of okonomiyaki and the thing to get there: spicy miso chicken wings. Arrive on the early side if you don’t want to wait—this place doesn’t have a lot of space, and it’s popular.
This Italian bar and cafe is from the team behind Via Carota, and it’s located directly across the street from that spot on 7th Avenue. This West Village place feels like a cafe in Europe, and this is a great spot to have a negroni outside. The menu is short, and it consists of snacks that are both very Italian and very small, so this is not where you should go for a full dinner. Stop by for a daytime hang, or come to kick off a long night.
photo credit: Donovan's Pub
Sure, every other bar in the city has some kind of burger on the menu, but only a few have one of the best. Donovan’s Pub in Woodside, an Irish pub with a fireplace and stained glass windows that’s been around since 1966, is one of those spots. While they’ve got 18 burger options, their most famous one is the simplest: a half-pound burger that comes perfectly cooked and seasoned with a bit of char. If burgers aren’t your thing, they also have great shepherd’s pie and parmesan wings.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
2nd Floor Bar & Essen
2nd Avenue Deli is a New York institution, and their Upper East Side location has an unpretentious hidden bar above the deli that you get to via a door with a little neon sign. The space—filled with candles and antique light fixtures—feels like a prohibition-era spot, and the menu has food we’d like to eat daily. Don’t miss the the franks in a blanket seasoned like everything bagels.
When you’re “meeting someone for a drink,” you often have very little idea how your night is going to play out. You could hit it off, or you could awkwardly talk about the weather and TikTok’s influence on the food scene for 45 minutes before someone makes up an excuse to leave. It’s stressful. Which is why you need a place that will mitigate that stress. Enter Maiden Lane, a bar that’s particularly good at just being a normal bar—with whitefish dip, lots of tinned seafood, and a sidewalk patio.
photo credit: Steven Branco
Reyna, a Toronto import near Union Square, serves food with Turkish, Greek, and Spanish touches. We tend to prefer their seafood items, like the crispy octopus on a bed of green harissa sauce and salmon tartare with lemony labneh. The space is massive, and the dim lighting and low-key music make Reyna feel like a cool lounge, so come here for drinks and small plates when you want to have a whole night out in one place.
photo credit: Dane Isaac
Gugu Room bills itself as a Filipino-Japanese izakaya. Their entrées are a little hit or miss, but you can’t go wrong with any of the small plates. Get the fluffy sweet potato fries, chicken karaage, and as many skewers as you can handle (especially the longanisa ones), and try a few house cocktails like their version of a margarita that’s infused with wasabi. The dark and moody space is on the small side, so make a reservation.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
We can’t quite figure out if Bar Beau is primarily a cocktail bar or restaurant, which, for the purposes of this guide, actually works out quite nicely. This Williamsburg spot has an entire menu section dedicated to shared snacking items like marinated olives and polenta fritters with scallop. You can eat these at the long marble bar or in the dark, candlelit room in the back.
We aren’t sure if “gastropub” is a term that people use anymore. But that’s exactly what The Bonnie is. This spot in Astoria has exposed brick, wooden beams, and, of course, a bunch of craft brews and above-average fare like a reuben with house-smoked vegan pastrami. Snag a two-person table in the back for a low-pressure first date, or if the weather’s nice, sit in the large backyard.
If you’ve lived in New York for more than a month, you’ve probably already had drinks at a place serving crudo and mortadella. Those spots aren’t hard to find. What’s rare is a cocktail bar with memorable Detroit-style pizzas like the ones at The Esters in Greenpoint. They also have interesting, well-made cocktails like one made with chili syrup.
If you like the idea of pairing high-quality cocktails with some very good seafood, try Grand Army in Boerum Hill. They have an excellent raw bar, as well as things like bucatini with chorizo and lobster sliders that will make you want to eat a full dinner here. The corner sidewalk patio is a great backdrop for a hangout of any variety.
If you live near Cobble Hill, it’s possible Clover Club is already your go-to spot for drinks, and you’ve had lots of very enjoyable nightcaps here. While the cocktails here are fantastic, the food—like mac and cheese with smoked bacon and steak tartare on house-made focaccia—make it a good option for snacking, too.