Welcome to the Manhattan Bar Directory, a list of 147 bars that should help you find a place to drink in any part of the borough. While there are plenty of great restaurants to drink in, the spots listed here are all bars first and foremost. Whether it's a date, beers with a group, or taking shots by yourself at a dive (it's all going to be OK), you should now be able find a place to do it - Uptown, Downtown, East Side and West Side.
View it on a map or in list form, organized by neighborhood, and know that we've got more coming for the other boroughs soon.
Holiday Cocktail Lounge has been around pretty much forever (Leon Trotsky apparently used to hang out here, if an establishment’s Marxist pedgiree is important to you). After closing for a while, the classic dive bar was recently revamped, and now makes very legit cocktails as well as some tasty bar bites. Despite the mixology thing, this place still has a dark, classic feel.
On one side, The Immigrant is a wine bar. On the other side, a beer bar. Choosing which side to sit in is kind of like picking a pill in The Matrix, except there aren’t really any consequences. Both sides are charming, quiet, and usually not too crowded.
Boilermaker is a utility play: they have a solid happy hour, a decent burger, it’s good for groups, and it’s located right above Houston, should you want to keep things in the southern part of the neighborhood. Get a “white trash negroni.”
The 6th Street speakeasy is actually just as good it was when you went on a date there four years ago. Bonus feature: the food’s pretty good too.
East Village Social kind of sounds like an East Village-themed bar in Pensacola. Instead, it’s a cozy, casual spot for a low-key drink.
The Wren gets crazy on weekends, and is a favorite of the white button-downs tucked into khakis crowd. But don’t forget that this is actually a very nice bar. On weeknights, it’s a generally comfortable and fun place to drink whiskey.
Ace Bar is all about games: pool, darts, pinball, skee ball. It’s great for big groups, especially if your big group is the sort that’s better suited to throwing darts at a wall than carrying on polite conversation.
This is a “bitters tasting room” and all the cocktails on offer are made accordingly, with bitters. No bottles of Schweppes here. It’s small and standing room only, but it’s a very cool spot to stop for a drink on your way.
If you want something cool that does have seats (very comfortable ones, in fact), check out Amor y Amargo’s sister bar, Cienfuegos. Located on a second floor, this Cuban-inspired spot is famous for its rum punches. It’s good for both dates or groups.
d.b.a. has two key features that draw most of its fans in: a large and excellent beer selection, and the also large and also excellent backyard patio.
Avenue C is filled with fun bars suited for everything from a nice date to being trashed at 2 am. The Wayland is one of those places that manages to do it all. We like it for a drink on a weeknight, day drinking on a Saturday, and for 2 am rowdiness as well.
While the original Garret in the West Village is a small space that tends to get crowded easily, the new East Village one is much more spacious, with lots of bar seating and a few booths. There’s also living room-like setting at the back (complete with couches) that would make for a solid, low-key birthday hang.
Lois is an awesomely designed little wine bar that looks like it could be in Copenhagen, where all the wines are served on tap. They also serve a short menu of really solid food. Avocado arepa? Yes please.
Head down the stairs past that flashing "On Air" sign and you'll end up in a graffiti-covered cave of sake. Tables fill up quickly here, so don't come with a big group, but this is one of the coolest and most unusual rooms in the city.
Attached to the back of Momofuku Ssam, Booker and Dax does crazy things with cocktails. Liquid nitrogen is frequently involved, as is plenty of other stuff we don't understand because we didn't pay enough attention in science class. The vibe isn't much to speak of, but it's worth trying the cocktails, at least once.
Right off the 2nd Avenue stretch of some pretty terrible bars, Jimmy's is a refuge. The beer selection is excellent, and the space feels like a medieval tavern or somewhere weary travelers would drink on Game Of Thrones. Yes, there are antlers on the wall.
The Otherroom is not where you go when you want to party. It’s where you go on a low-key date, or with a friend who won’t be weirded out that everyone around you is on a low-key date. It’s not covered in rose petals or anything, but it is dark and candlelit. Also, there’s no hard liquor. In conclusion, if you want wine or beer or are going on a date or a non-date, this is a solid choice.
Stand up. Walk four steps to your left. You’ve now walked the entire width of Virgola, which may very well be the smallest bar in New York City. Don’t let its stature deceive you – this Italian wine bar deserves a spot on your roster. It’s dark and vibey, and has $1 oysters all day.
The sister bar to dell'anima, Anfora is another very good and very useful wine bar, with solid cocktails and small plates, and a great happy hour. At this point, you’re probably catching on to the fact that the West Village is full of spots that are perfect for dates. This is one of them.
Little Branch was an early pioneer of the speakeasy scene. Its underground space is limited to a strict capacity (first come, first served), which keeps the mood inside pretty intimate and perfect for a date or small groups. They also have live jazz sometimes, which either gives you another good reason to go or makes you want to head straight for whatever club in the Meatpacking is playing The Weeknd.
Given its extreme West location, Rusty Knot is either where you start your night, or where you end up late. Regardless of whether you can remember your experience the next morning, chances are you had a good time. The Rusty Knot’s nautical vibes, strong drinks, and fun crowd are its main draws, but it also serves a pretzel dog that has saved our life on several occasions.
The Happiest Hour is a place we’ve come to rely on for its winning combination of fantastic burgers and strong, good drinks. But if you’re looking to get into some Action At The Bar, this is an excellent place to find it. Both its front section and subterranean level are dedicated to bar space, and its throwback tiki vibes draw a crowd that always feels like it’s someone’s 25th birthday.
Walk all the way to the back of the West Village Five Guys, go up the staircase, and you’ll find yourself at The Garret. If the whole hidden Speakeasy thing isn’t enough reason for you, you should know the cocktails are solid and you can get a Five Guys burger to go with your Manhattan. This place is also a great weekend day drinking choice thanks to its huge skylights and windows.
Highlands is a Scottish bar that serves – you guessed it – Scotch. But not in a sedate, sip from a tumbler in a leather chair way. The Highlands is more of a party, and it can often get crowded. Think of it as the West side version of The Wren.
Daddy-O’s is a true neighborhood bar – nicer than a dive, but not a fancy cocktail bar by any means. That middle ground can be pretty hard to find, and Daddy-O does it well. The cocktails are unexpectedly good, as is the bar food. You’d probably be pretty happy to hang out here any night of the week. Bring friends.
This is as straightforward a bar as you’ll find in the city. DGAF attitude, Dad rock, and beers & well drinks only are the key components here – it’s all familiar, and that’s a good thing. It’s the perfect place to take a break from the routinely expensive, sceney, and packed bars that you keep going back to. You’ll leave wishing you had this place on your corner.
The Blind Tiger is the West Village’s most popular beer bar, where people come to either geek out or bro out. If you can deal with crowds, you’ll be rewarded with an excellent selection of uncommon draft beers and very solid bar food.
Part coffeehouse, part craft beer bar, The Upright Brewhouse is a true utility spot that works for all times of day and all kinds of activities, from studying to group hangs. If you manage to get bored here, there are even pinball machines downstairs.
This is the bar where you go to watch sports on TV and drink a Stella. Because sometimes that’s all you need. This place can get packed on weekend nights, but few things in life are as depressing as an empty sports bar.
What was once the famous Gaslight Cafe is now a dark and vibey little cocktail bar. It’s a great spot for a low key, high-end drink with a friend or someone you’re trying to make more than a friend. Combine with a visit to Dante for ideal MacDougal Street date moves.
NYU's version of Cheers. But divey-er. Triona's will satisfy all your basic drinking and sports-watching needs. They also have specials throughout the week, including $10 pitchers of Bud Light and Miller Light from 12-7PM on Sundays and 1-8PM on Mondays.
Servicing the NYU crowd's need for both coffee and wine, VBar is a quiet little spot we'd recommend for catching up with a friend or a solo drink.
This below-ground tiny dive (with maybe 10 seats) is a craft beer nerd's dream. If you worship Pliny The Elder, come here.
We're pretty sure no one uses the word "lounge" to describe bars anymore, but it seems appropriate for Sweetwater Social. This is a big, below-ground spot that tends to have a lot of action at peak times, and it's best used for larger groups. Bonus: you can play shuffleboard here.
Electing to go to a bar near NYU during the "school year" is always a gamble, but when it has wings, burgers, and waffle fries this good, it's worth the risk. Reservoir is close to Union Square, and given the generally casual atmosphere, it's a perfect meeting spot when it's time for an afternoon/evening of game-watching, boozing, and crushing some classic bar food.
A cozy, comfortable Belgian beer bar with a great patio. Not a rager by any means, but a place we'd recommend to grab a drink and have a low-key catch up with friends.
soho & nolita
There are three main things you need to know about (and order at) Mother's Ruin. They are: alcoholic slushies, wine on tap, and fried chickpeas. This relaxed Nolita bar is cool without being too cool. There isn't a ton of table seating and standing is often necessary, so this one is better suited to stopping in with a small group than it is to a date.
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 catch some futbol, or if you need to escape the fraternity mixer that is next door at Houston Hall.
Ever heard of The Ship? Probably not. This cocktail bar on Lafayette has stayed relatively under the radar, possibly because it's located underground, 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 smells like a sock and a hot dog on most nights, but don't the best dive bars? If you're waiting for a table at Rubirosa, here's the place to drink a beer.
You know the bars where the bartender is like, "Just tell me what you like, and I will make you a CURATED COCKTAIL suiting your tastebuds"? The Randolph is not like that. This is a modern cocktail bar, in that there's a cocktail list with $15 drinks that have names like "Pom Selleck," but without so many of the pretenses. It's always relaxed but lively, and is a good place to stop into on a Friday night.
You know the bars where the bartender is like, "Just tell me what you like, and I will make you a CURATED COCKTAIL suiting your tastebuds"? The Mulberry Project is exactly like that. But they also pull it off, mostly thanks to one of the better outdoor gardens around. It's a fun place to meet someone, especially in the summer. This one's technically in Little Italy, but it's close enough to Soho to be useful here.
Botanica looks like a cross between a dive bar and the Central Perk cafe from Friends. That is not meant to be a joke - it actually does look like that: velvet couches, but also grimy floors. It's an ideal place to gather a group, especially before 8pm, when well drinks are $4 and everything else is very cheap too.
Connected to the restaurant Public on Elizabeth Street, The Daily is a class act. When you want to drink a Manhattan in a crystal glass, this is where you do it.
This is the best wine bar in the area, and not just because it has a fancy name. In addition to a large wine list (obviously), La Compagnie has tons of seating - whether you want to sit at the bar, at a small table, or gather a group around some couches in the back. The wallpaper also looks like a very cool science project, which is another plus.
Located under Chalk Point Kitchen, The Handy Liquor Bar is a cocktail bar and jazz lounge of the "let's pretend Prohibition just ended" theme. There are almost no bars of this sort in Soho proper, so keep this one in mind when you need a spot west of West Broadway.
The Ear Inn is located in way, way far west Soho, practically in the Holland Tunnel. But it's worth diverting over here to drink in this extremely old school spot with an extremely cool history (it used to be the home of an African-American revolutionary war veteran). Open since 1817, it's arguably the oldest bar in New York - and happens to still be a very good one.
Probably 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 it - this is the only bar of its kind in the heart of Soho anymore.
lower east side & Chinatown
Forgtmenot is a dive bar meets a surfer’s living room meets a Greek/Tex-Mex diner. In other words, it’s awesome. This is a great move if you’re waiting for a table at Kiki’s or Dimes or Mission Chinese nearby, but it’s also a worthy destination on its own. Your evening may start out innocently enough with just drinks, but once you see the ridiculously huge menu, you’re going to want to get in on the kebabs, nachos, and breakfast tacos (yes, even at night).
An unpretentious, never-too-crowded craft cocktail bar in the LES? Yes, this is a real thing. Hill & Dale flies under the radar – we blame the off-putting Subway next door – but that makes it an even better choice for your mid-week low-key friend hang, or for when your coworkers want to go someplace “fun” that’s not a big production. Also important: Happy Hour goes until 8, except for Mondays, when it lasts all night.
This shop/bar is a craft beer nerd’s dream (the walls are lined with fridges of six-packs), but it’s a fun place to hang even if you don’t know the difference between an I.P.A. and a Pilsner. We also appreciate any bar that takes its hygiene seriously – Top Hops marks each draft beer with the date that the line was last cleaned. Which basically makes us never want to drink draft beer anywhere else.
The Lower East Side is full of bars perfect for people who either want to forget that they just graduated or drink until they forget that they’ve been out of school for eight years. Bar Goto is not one of those bars. This is a tiny, beautifully-designed, relatively quiet Japanese spot where real, live Adults can congregate over fancy drinks and small plates (the wings are top-tier).
So you want to go to a bar that wasn’t made for ants? Shocking. The Late Late is by no means huge, but it’s a nice-sized, two-layer spot that’s one of your best options in the LES for a group larger than two. Also, there’s a tiny “grocery store” inside stocked with Irish treats. Buzzed shopping is fun shopping.
The Leadbelly never lets us down. Why? It’s sexy without trying too hard, it’s laid-back yet cool, the oysters are fantastic, and it’s the elusive, perfect first/early in the game date spot. That said, you could really come here with any human and have a great time.
Like many LES hangs, the entrance to Sel Rrose is barely marked, and the space is somewhere between an art gallery an industrial loft. The cocktails are very solid, as are the burger and the raw bar selections. Go during Happy Hour for $1 oysters.
Dinosaurs, dumplings, and texting in your drink order. No, this isn’t the 2037 remake of Jurassic Park, it’s 169 Bar. Our pick if you’re looking for a good and weird time in the (lower) Lower East Side. Every time.
Just when we were really getting tired of the nearly-impossible-to-find-and-even-harder-to-get-into speakeasy cocktail bars, Attaboy went and made them feel cool again. Makes sense, since it occupies the space of the OG speakeasy bar Milk & Honey, and is run by two of its veteran bartenders. You can’t make reservations – so come early or be prepared to wait – but the cocktails and atmosphere inside is actually worth it. Also: ring the doorbell to get in, and know there’s a good chance you’ll be standing as there are only a few seats.
Another hard-to-locate speakeasy that makes this list is Nitecap, located in the basement beneath a restaurant (Schapiro’s). Unlike Attaboy, you don’t have to be let in by a host/gatekeeper, so despite the equally-expensive cocktails it feels like the more casual of the two. It can get packed, but if you can manage to snag a roomy booth it’s a great time for a group.
“Where can my friend and I get a glass of wine after work where we can hear each other speak, and maybe eat something too?” is the question of the century. And if you’re in the Lower East Side, our answer will more often than not be The Ten Bells. Nice bar, great wine list, and a good, fun crowd. You’ll like it even more if you can make it for $1 Oyster Happy Hour, until 7pm daily.
Mr. Fong’s tends to be filled with white-overall-wearing people who look like they don’t have normal jobs. That said, the place has surprisingly inclusive vibes, friendly staff, and great music. The Chinese-inspired cocktails – like the salty plum old fashioned – will only set you back $9, which is basically like stealing these days. Our favorite time to hit Mr. Fong’s is early in the evening (be warned, it gets crowded later on).
Got your dad in town from Michigan? Marshall Stack is the kind of chill bar where he’d (almost) fit in. Even if you don’t have anyone over-50 in tow, it’s a great, casual, unpretentious oasis in an area filled with sceney spots. This is a great place to catch up over a few beers.
A cool little party-time dive bar that’s all about the neon pink lights.
A fun and always happening cocktail bar, Ward III also happens to serve great bar food - and has a happy hour too.
Subway tiles, nice cocktails, and a generally grown up vibe are what's happening at Weather Up. The bar area is great for a date or one-on-one drink, and there are also tables for small groups.
Small, dark, and cozy without being too pristine, Anotherroom is a good hang.
This is a classic bar with one very important twist: they make Alidoro sandwiches during the day, till 5pm. Which means that from 4 to 5pm, when Happy Hour and Alidoro hours overlap, you need to be at Puffy's. The bartenders here are also very friendly, if you need someone to talk to.
A true dive with sticky floors and cheap drinks, that happens to have shuffleboard.
Be warned that Belle Reve can get weird. We're pretty sure we once crashed a swingers' party here. But this new-bar-that-looks-like-an-old-bar can also be a great hang, with good drinks, good music, and good food. Come with an open mind.
Always our first FiDi bar recommendation, The Dead Rabbit would be a pretty cool spot in any neighborhood. It's located over several floors, and has a fun, old time-y theme to fit the area's history.
This is one of the oldest and most historic bars/taverns in America, and we're pretty sure part of the American Revolution happened here. It's a funky old place, with a big bar area and a very large selection of beers.
Right in the middle of the South Street Seaport, here's an indoor/outdoor beer garden that serves some decent lobster rolls as well. Use it to watch a game, hang out with a group, or sit outside on a nicce day.
A big modern "gastropub" in an area where such things aren't very common. Use it for a team outing or a drinks meeting.
Casting directors looking for a real "speakeasy" for the date scene in your romantic comedy, check out Raines Law Room. They do the whole shebang: an unmarked door, dark and low ceilings, plush old-timey couches, and of course, fancy cocktails. Naturally, a good spot for a one-on-one.
A relatively nondescript, but very useful modern-looking wine bar on 7th Avenue. In addition to wine and cocktails, they do easy little Italian small plates and paninis. We've been on both job interviews and dates here.
This place serves a similar purpose as Veloce, but on Broadway, if you need an option a few blocks further east. It's connected to a relatively corny restaurant below called Punch, which you should avoid. However, although its name might suggest differently, Wined Up is a nice spot where you can actually hear the person you're talking to.
The Clocktower, on the second floor of The Edition hotel, is a great new restaurant to have dinner - due in part to the fantastic room. But it's also a nice spot for a drink - settle into the bar room on the early side.
Connected to the Nomad Hotel and restaurant, The Nomad Bar is a class act - a truly nice place for a cocktail. The burger also happens to be excellent.
A Belgian restaurant on 21st and 6th, Markt's Belgian beer selection and lack of crowds make it a perfectly suitable choice for a little group drinks gathering.
Bo's Kitchen & Bar Room6 W 24th St
A nice Southern-inspired restaurant, Bo's is a solid choice for dinner, but we use it most for getting together with a few people in the nice downstairs bar room.
Right off Madison Square Park, hit Live Bait for a cheap happy hour in a kitschy Cajun-themed bar. If you're looking for a well-crafted Manhattan, head elsewhere (also, chill out) - this is a sh*tty margaritas and shots of well whiskey kind of spot.
Flatiron Hall38 W 26th St
Flatiron Hall is run by the same people behind Houston Hall, the massive Soho beer garden that feels somewhere in between Oktoberfest and a tailgate on a Saturday. Think of this space, which looks like one of those nice old fraternity houses, as the more buttoned-up workday version. Get a stein of beer, naturally.
Belgian Beer Café220 5th Ave
More beer. Belgian Beer Cafe is exactly what it sounds like: a two-floor restaurant and bar focused on Belgian beer.
Yes, there's a Barcade on 24th Street. Take the dev team here and emerge a hero.
The theme of the bar is quite literally "one star on Yelp." The self-awareness sort of works perfectly: it's non-descript, kind of cheap but not that cheap, and probably everyone is drinking a serviceable but watery whiskey ginger. Take your coworkers here and everyone will inevitably complain about it relentlessly, but will also end up here once a week.
You really can get a good cocktail a mere two blocks away from Joshua Tree. You just need to find Middle Branch first. It’s tucked away within a two-story townhouse and you have to enter in at garden level. Come after midnight or be prepared to wait for a seat upstairs. Go for "bartender’s choice."
A classic Irish pub suited to serious drinking. They also serve one of the best pub burgers around.
Did you know a cozy wine bar perfect for first dates, big groups, and/or big group first dates exists on a weird stretch of 2nd Avenue? We didn’t either and may regret sharing this information because Vanguard is somehow always at the perfect capacity. They play movies in the background, the service is great, and the wine list is always changing. Grab a couple of seats at the bar, order some pimento cheese and get to drinking. If you don’t know, now you know.
Revival is set up on two floors - the first is essentially a small dive, while the upstairs is like a greenhouse with couches. It's a good post-work spot for medium-sized groups.
Owned by the people behind Raines Law Room, this is a classy cocktail spot. It's a good first date move - they even take reservations (though walk-ins are fine too) and have some small plates of food too.
If you find yourself needing to pregame or postgame a movie at the AMC next door, or find yourself at one of the nearby hospitals and in need of an escape, meet Waterfront Ale House. From 4-7pm, everything is also $1 off.
It's hard to discern between the many bars lining 3rd Avenue as you make your way up to 30th, so let us tell you Handcraft is one of the better ones. It's low key and usually not insanely crowded, but still a fun time. They also have solid cocktails, big TV's, and Southern-inspired food
Ever wonder where all the city's firemen hang out? Now you know - this is a fireman-opened, fireman-frequented, fireman-themed bar. Single ladies of Murray Hill, take note.
A nice break from the usual bro-y Murray Hill bars, this is a very solid, low-key craft beer bar that makes for a great place for a catch-up Happy Hour session.
Located directly under Chelsea Market, this place does get packed on weekdays around 7, or whenever YouTube and the other companies in the building get out of school for the day. But it attracts crowds for a reason: tons of space, big tables, and a rotating menu of alcoholic frozen drinks.
Your requisite Prohibition-inspired speakeasy with a quirky name and a secret door? That’d be Bathtub Gin. Walk through Stone Street Coffee to get in – there is a “bouncer” (you are dangerously close to Meatpacking, after all) but you can pretty easily grab a reservation on OpenTable to avoid any issue. As the name would indicate, gin is the focus. And there’s a bathtub.
The rooftop of The McKittrick Hotel, where “Sleep No More” takes place, is something of an extension of the nightly interactive performance/high-minded haunted house that takes place throughout the rest of the building. This means you’ll ride up in an old timey elevator with an attendant in some kind of costume, who may or may not do a card trick, and some “characters” may walk around. But for the most part, this is just a cool rooftop bar with quality cocktails.
Porchlight is a big space way west on 11th Avenue operated by Danny Meyer, which means it’s one of the better run bars around. This is a great go-to when you need to gather a large group in a fun, unpretentious environment. They have a great booze selection, as well as some excellent takes on bar food, including everything crab avocado toast to chocolate chip cookies.
True to name, Trailer Park is a trailer park-themed bar, which is actually better than it sounds. The space is jam-packed with a dizzying amount of Christmas lights, random trinkets, and other paraphernalia, which can feel either like being on an episode of Hoarders or like a place to have a great time. This is probably not the place to plan a meeting of any professional nature, but it’s a great place to kick back with a few friends over some beers and tater tots.
If you do need a place around here that's on the professional side – a place for an easy, uncomplicated glass of wine or cocktail, hit Bar Veloce. It’s nothing too exciting, but that’s kind of the point. Plus, they have paninis.
An Irish pub owned by the guy who wrote A Perfect Storm, The Half King is supposed to have a “writerly” vibe. Which, sure. Mostly it’s just a solid bar with plenty of smaller rooms and a good selection of beers.
Stag’s Head looks like it’s going to be a bro scene, largely due to its Turtle Bay location. But it’s really more of a beer scene. Stag’s Head excels at going beyond the typical roster of Ballast Point taps, so if you’re into deep cuts of craft beer, you’ll be happy here.
Yes, you can probably find a better and cheaper cocktail elsewhere. But you come to the legendary Campbell Apartment, which is located literally within Grand Central, for the history. If you’re waiting for a train or are in the area and looking for a fancy-ish cocktail bar, this is a great option. Just don’t wear sneakers. This is an old school spot and they have a (somewhat arbitrary) dress code.
Midtown East is littered with sports bars, and most of them are absolutely awful. Hudson Malone is the rare standout. You can watch a game here without hating yourself, and the food’s even pretty good.
If you find yourself in the region of 39th and Madison, head to The Shakespeare. As you might expect, this place is a British gastropub, and it’s actually run by the same people as Jones Wood Foundry, an Upper East Side restaurant we like a lot.
In terms of selection, this is one of the best beer bars in the city, and one of the best bars full-stop near Bryant Park. It’s nice and spacious, which also makes it a prime Happy Hour spot for all the finance and lawyer people getting out of work around there. There are also couches in the back, which for some reason seems to be important to people.
This bar does smell like stale beer sometimes. But Rattle ‘N’ Hum is actually a very solid bar, and one of the best places to hang out after a game at the Garden. They specialize in craft bar, and actually have some surprisingly good bar food.
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.
A predictably small bar that serves wine on tap. You really shouldn’t go on a date 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, it’s a beer place.
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 is exactly the setup you need. Add to that its reasonable prices, friendly service, and outdoor seating and you’ve got yourself a go-to.
A loud beer bar with probably 40 taps in the western part of Midtown, Valhalla feels like a grown up version of a place you’d find in the East Village. They have decent bar food too.
Over in Hell’s Kitchen, this little bar specializes in whiskey – and has a huge selection. If you’re into brown liquor and find yourself on the West Side, this is your spot.
The least worst bar in the mid 50s. That is all.
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. Yes, that probably is Patti Lupone.
Parker and Quinn is the restaurant in the Refinery Hotel, but it’s a highly popular spot for happy hour. 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.
McGee’s, simply put, 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.
This bar does smell like stale beer sometimes. But Rattle ‘N’ Hum is actually a very solid bar, and one of the best places to hang out after a game at the Garden. They specialize in craft beer, and actually have some surprisingly good bar food.
Upper East Side
This place is regularly packed - with Tinder dates, bro dates, and groups of all kinds. And for good reason: this place is big, lively, and manages to have a downtown feel on the Upper East Side.
This UES beer garden is in our regular outdoor summer hang rotation, and it's also a pro after-work Happy Hour move if you're in the area.
Fancy cocktails, a "speakeasy" theme, a few light bites, dim lighting - you guessed it: this is a date kind of bar. It happens to be one of the Upper East Side's best.
Need a serious sports bar on the upper Upper East? Manny's has 40 TVs. And good wings.
A nice, low-key hang on 85th, Bondurants has an impressive selection of beer and whiskey.
A strange and cozy room on a kind of strange block. For a classy cocktail in the East 70s, hit Seamstress.
upper west side
All of the craft beers. Well, not all. But somewhere around 25, on tap. This is one of two locations (the other's on the UES) for your beer-drinking convenience.
It may be as narrow as a NYC apartment, but The Dead Poet has a lot to offer - mainly good cocktails, endearing literary references, and free popcorn.
Perhaps the coziest bar on the Upper West Side, Le Pif is a little wine spot that's perfect for dates or one-on-ones where you actually want to hear each other.
Australians are taking over Manhattan, and their reach has officially stretched all the way to the UWS, with this downtown-feeling bar that can only be described as an industrial saloon. Whether or not that appeals to you, the cocktails here are solid, and the two-for-one drinks & $1 oyster offer at Happy Hour (till 8pm on weekdays and 7pm on weekends) is hard to argue with.
Nothing fancy here. Blondies is just a great place to watch the game with beer and some of the better wings around.
An UWS dive bar that actually has some personality. Yep, that exists. There are also board games and free candy for the taking.
This is another great UWS dive bar up on 96th. Generally good food, good beer list, and good vibes.
harlem, East Harlem & morningside heights
No longer the size of a dorm room, Earl’s has recently undergone renovations and expanded. The deer wall mural make you feel like you have been teleported to a cabin in the woods, and the mac and cheese will just make you generally happy. If you grab a seat at the communal table, you’ll have direct view of their TV which plays all the Sunday games.
Earl’s sister restaurant ABV makes for a good date spot with its relaxed vibe, dim lighting, and small plates. We also like it for brunch.
A small, candlelit fancy cocktail bar with small plates and solid raw bar offerings. In other words, your new Harlem date spot go-to. There's also a private dining room downstairs should you need a birthday venue.
This cocktail bar is the type of place you’ll want to roll up your sleeves and stay awhile. The leather couches and candlelit room make it feel like you’re hanging out in a friend’s living room. They don’t serve food, but the cocktails and playlists are good enough you’ll hardly remember that you’re hungry. But when you do, Earl’s next door has you covered.
Movies projected on the walls, great cocktails, and a back patio make this one of the best places to grab a drink in Harlem.
Getting together with the girls? Or, really anyone that enjoys good wine, conversation, and food? Lexington Social is an excellent choice.
Ginnys is a speakeasy cocktail bar, music venue, and soul food restaurant. We're 100% in on any place where we can have a cocktail while eating chicken and waffles while listening to live jazz - and Ginnys make that dream a reality.
Ridiculously low prices (as in $3-4 drafts and $8 pitchers) are the big draw at The Duck. The bartenders will make you popcorn if you're nice.
A new, upscale comfort food restaurant in Harlem with a big bar area. We're big suckers for subway tile, and they also have Happy Hour until 8pm and four big screens for watching sports on TV.
A small beer hall with outdoor seating and a nice selection of German beers. Plus sausages.
Have a big group, and need somewhere way uptown? This is your spot. This place has a perpetual party time vibe, with a big outdoor space for all your day drinking needs.
A big beer hall type spot with lots of TVs, this is your place for sports-watching in the area. Also: your place for sitting outside - there's a ton of outdoor seating.
A sleek, modern bar with fun vibes and good music that definitely gets crowded on weekends. Come ready to party.
This is laid back spot for beers, happy hour, and trivia on Mondays. There are specials on different food items (dumplings, pizza, sliders) depending on the day.
A nice Inwood wine bar, with cool design: the ceiling is decorated with thousands of wine corks. They also serve tapas for when you're a few glasses deep.