The Best Bars In Soho And Nolita
Whether you're looking for a wine bar or a rooftop, here's where to get a drink after you return something to Bloomingdale's.
Ah, Soho and Nolita. Land of boutique hotels, high-end art galleries, and places that sell faux-leather jackets that cost more than your rent. These neighborhoods aren’t known for their abundance of great bars, but if you know where to look, you can find a few where you'll actually want to hang out. The next time you need to grab a drink in the area, use this guide.
photo credit: Andrew Bui
Somewhere in Nolita
This rooftop bar in the Nolitan Hotel should be your waiting room for Thai Diner. It’s on the same block, isn’t as busy as some other elevated bars in the area, and serves great cocktails that don’t cost more than $20. Get a frozen watermelon drink when it’s nice out and enjoy the views. If you’re not using this place to kill time before you eat fried chicken larb, take advantage of the Mexican menu with tacos, flautus, and churros.
photo credit: Kenny Yang
Local is a cozy beer-and-wine bar in Soho that manages to be versatile despite its tiny space. There’s a counter where you can have an involved conversation about ciders and sours with the bartender, a quieter room in the back with tables and chairs, a dark nook by the window that’s perfect for dates, and a good amount of outdoor seating as well. A lot of people seem to drop in for a drink on the way to somewhere else, so if there’s nowhere to sit, something will probably open up if you wait a little while. Free popcorn is available upon request.
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This relaxed Nolita bar is cool without being too cool. It's been around for over a decade now, and it's still the first place you should think of when you want to drink a great cocktail in a space that's slightly nicer than your average dive. There isn’t a ton of table seating, but there's a long bar where you can usually find a stool, and you'll likely find some outdoor seating as well.
photo credit: Emily Schindler
The Garret Cocteleria
The Garret Cocteleria is probably the “coolest” bar in the area, and for that reason—plus the fact that it’s just one small room—it can get pretty packed. As long as you’re okay with that, this is a great spot for a casual cocktail with a friend or two. Get a couple of rum drinks, then try to claim a booth along the wall or one of the alcoves up front.
Sweet and Vicious
In almost any other part of town, Sweet and Vicious wouldn’t be that special. But there aren’t too many semi-divey bars in Nolita where you can drink a margarita with a group of coworkers and also maybe meet the next person you’re going to date. So if that’s what you want to do, come here. It gets extremely busy, but that’s kind of the point.
photo credit: @masonreidfox/@stapl3remover
The Vig Bar
So you walked into Sweet and Vicious, then realized it was incredibly busy and full of people you’ve seen on dating apps. Where do you go instead? The Vig Bar. It’s right across the street, it doesn’t get nearly as busy, and it’s a perfectly nice and normal place to grab a drink. Sure, it looks kind of like something you’d find on the ground floor of a Marriott, but there’s a good Happy Hour, and there are some big banquettes for groups.
The Brooklyneer is a Brooklyn-themed bar in Soho that takes soccer seriously. Ponder that for a second. But not for too long, because this is actually a very useful hangout, with very good food. Use it if you want to watch some people run around a big rectangular field on TV, or if you need to escape the fraternity mixer that is Houston Hall (next door).
La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels
This is the best wine bar in the area, and not just because it has a fancy name. In addition to a long wine list, La Compagnie has tons of seating. You can hang out at the bar, claim a small table, or gather a group around some couches in the back. And if you make it here before 6pm on a weekday, you can take advantage of their Happy Hour, when all glasses of wine are $5 off.
Ever heard of The Ship? Probably not. This cocktail bar on Lafayette keeps a pretty low profile, mostly because it’s located underground and accessed through an almost-hidden door. Fittingly, there’s a boat theme going on, but it’s more “fancy barge” than “polo shirt in Nantucket.” It’s a big space, great for either a one-on-one drink at the bar or a small group gathering in one of the booths.
Spring Lounge has been around since the 1920s, and you can kind of tell. It has a tin ceiling and old wooden floors that look like they’ve been walked on by several million people—and sometimes the whole place smells a little like a sock or a hot dog (probably because they serve hot dogs every Wednesday night). But it’s a classic spot and an un-fancy oasis in the luxury goods bazaar that is Soho. Spring Lounge also opens at 8am most days, in case you ever decide to call in sick and spend 12+ hours in a bar.
Botanica is a dive, and it's the kind of place where you bring a group of friends or coworkers when all you want to do is drink something cheap in a room that gets very little natural light. There's a great Happy Hour until 7pm daily—and seeing as how everyone seems to know this, it can be hard to find a seat here.
St. Tropez Wine Bar
The original St Tropez is in the West Village, and this is the second location in Soho. It’s a little bit smaller, but it’s a similarly useful spot for when you’re going on a date and aren’t sure if you want to order food. If things go well, you can get some meatballs and octopus. Either way, you can drink some good wine.
Broome Street Bar
The most nondescript, bar-iest bar listed here, Broome Street Bar is a classic spot that checks off all the boxes: lots of space, good beer list, and... yeah, that’s basically it. But don’t underestimate this place. It’s the only bar of its kind in the heart of Soho.