Drinking in Midtown is usually not our first choice. But frequently, it’s a necessity. And collectively, we’ve spent enough time doing it that we know where to go.
Whether you’re hitting Happy Hour with your coworkers, grabbing cocktails after a Broadway play, or hanging out with your craft beer-loving cousin who’s staying in Times Square, here’s where to drink in Midtown.
Right in the heart of Times Square at the bottom of the Edison Hotel, this is a classic spot redone by the people behind the Tribeca cocktail bar Ward III. The place gets packed with suits (naturally), but behind all that, this is one of the best spots to drink a cocktail in Midtown.
Lantern’s Keep, located off the lobby of The Iroquois Hotel, is a great place for a highly civilized drink. There are private tables, and you can even make a reservation. Keep it in your back pocket for when you need to impress someone.
Aldo Sohm is the more casual wine bar from the people who run Le Bernardin (just across the way). It’s sort of like drinking in the lobby of a really nice condo, and they serve some small bites and affordable wines.
This small bar serves wine on tap. There are better places to go on a date than on 48th Street, but if you must: do it at Pocket Bar.
Beer Culture has the distinction of being something near Port Authority that’s not the absolute worst. As you’d imagine, they have an extensive list of canned and draft beers.
Ardesia is a true midtown utility spot. Meeting a date? Going out with a couple work friends? Hanging out with a random aunt? Wine and small plates in a non-cheesy environment help make this spot exactly the setup you need. Add to that its wide-ranging menu, friendly service, and outdoor seating, and you’ve got yourself a go-to.
For an after-work drink, Bill’s Bar and Burger is one of the few solid places near Rockefeller Center. When your choices are Bill’s or Ted’s Montana Grill, you should pick Bill’s.
When you think of a suspendered bartender making good cocktails in Midtown, you might think of $22 martinis in small, dimly lit lounges attached to hotels. Tanner Smith’s, on the other hand, is a big, bright space with a long menu of well-made house cocktails that are all about $17. Up front, there’s a long bar and a few tables, and open space for standing when they don’t have live music.
Valhalla, a loud beer bar with probably 40 taps in the western part of Midtown, feels like a grown-up version of a place you’d find in the East Village. They have decent bar food too.
If you’ve ever wondered who lives in the brownstones in the West 40s, we have no idea. But we do know that in this one, there’s a bar inside. It’s a classic pre- or post-theater spot for cocktails and likely sightings of Broadway actors.
For a beer in Hell’s Kitchen, go to As Is. And if you don’t like beer, they also have cocktails and natural wines as well. Factor in the sleek design, and you have a place where everyone will want to drink. It’s casual and open all day, and it’s an ideal spot for a first date or a weeknight hang with friends.
Stag’s Head is another place in the area to grab an IPA or sour. They go beyond the typical roster of Ballast Point taps, so if you’re into deep cuts of craft beer, you’ll be happy here.
Parker and Quinn is the restaurant in the Refinery Hotel. There’s a big bar area, and the “vintage” decor isn’t a bad look. They also have plenty of small plates and flatbreads to go along with your drinks.
Bo Peep is down a flight of stairs beneath The Ragtrader on 38th Street, and it feels like a study in someone’s home from the 1920s, with antique lamps and velvet furniture. Plus, every night there’s a pianist playing in the corner. This place is both fun and relaxing, and not many people seem to know about it.
McGee’s is the best of the Midtown Irish pubs. It feels like less of a sh*tshow than the rest, and is comfortably spread out over a few floors.
Faces & Names has caricatured paintings of celebrities on the walls and it’s a few blocks from Times Square, but it’s actually pretty low-key and is one of the best spots to get casual drinks in the mid-50’s. There’s a square bar and some two-tops up front, while the back area has another bar along with lounge chairs and booths around a fireplace. You can come solo for a beer after work, or hang with a big group before a show.