In an ideal world, you and your coworkers are best friends. You hang out on the weekends, you like to grab meals after work, and you look forward to seeing them at the office.
That might not be everyone’s reality, but you know how to make it happen faster? Alcohol. Lots of alcohol.
Whether you’re doing your monthly team bonding trip, or you’re actually already friends with the people you work with, here are the best bars around town for drinking with coworkers.
The excellent beer and whiskey list will get you to d.b.a., and the large garden full of picnic tables in the back will keep you there. Yes, it’s true: there’s a place you can drink fancy beers outdoors that is shockingly not douchey and shockingly not located in Brooklyn.
If you’ve worked at a company below 23rd Street, you’ve been to The Scratcher. Probably. Thanks to cheap drinks, ample seating, and a nondescript-in-a-good-way vibe, The Scratcher is a drinks with coworkers standard.
So, someone got a promotion. You want to go somewhere a step up from your normal $5 beer happy hour place, but you also don’t want to go somewhere so fancy that after three $18 drinks you drunkenly resent the fact that your coworker is now making more money than you. Enter Drexler’s, an attractive East Village cocktail bar serving reasonably priced cocktails in a laid-back, comfortable space.
Happy Hour always seems so attainable in theory. And then someone gets a last-minute email they have to answer, another person gets called into an “emergency meeting about processes,” and you’re left waiting for all your coworkers until after 7. Enter Boilermaker, whose best asset is an excellent happy hour that lasts until 8pm. The cocktails and burgers are solid, there are big comfy booths and communal tables, and if you happen to camp out here until 12am - there’s a “midnight pancake” menu that you’re going to want to get involved with.
The Shakespeare looks sort of like a tavern one of the Game Of Thrones characters who wander around a lot would end up in. Or at least an old time-y New England revolutionary era bar. You know: it’s dark and vaguely British. Fortunately, The Shakespeare is neither in a random part of Westeros nor a random town in Massachusetts, but it is situated in the somewhat godforsaken location of 39th and Madison. Between the various rooms and big bar, your group should be able to find somewhere to sit.
Porchlight is a bar owned by Danny Meyer, so you would be correct in assuming the food here (think avocado/crab toast, fried oysters, and other fancy bar snacks) is very good. It’s also a very large space with various seating areas, and tasty cocktails. It is located almost in the Hudson River on 11th Avenue, but it’s really not too far a trip if you work in Chelsea or the 30s.
Going out with coworkers requires a place where everyone can easily get what they want. Because you’re not quite close enough with these people to let them see you throw a temper tantrum. The Ginger Man has one of the city’s best beer selections - and it’s also quite spacious, so you can invite the whole team and not have to feel bad about excluding awkward Alex. He’ll be fine once he gets a beer in him anyway.
In Midtown/Hell’s Kitchen, the Generic Business-y Looking Bar is the rule. And that’s why Reunion Surf Bar is a nice breath of fresh air. Is the Hawaiian beach theme a little cheesy? Yes. But you and your coworkers just had to sit in a six hour meeting about property tax. You deserve to live a little. And after a couple “Dark Blizzards” (frozen Dark & Stormys), you’ll be very happy with your decision.
Want to grab a nice cocktail with your team? Stuck in the Times Square area because people are too lazy to go somewhere better? Luckily there is Rum House, at the bottom of the Edison Hotel. It’s a classic spot run by the people behind the Tribeca spot Ward III, and it’s one of your best bets for an actually-enjoyable drink in the area.
A Brooklyn-themed bar in the middle of Soho that is also passionate about soccer (sorry, fútbol), The Brooklyneer might be confusing in prospect but is actually quite useful in reality. Use it for anything from drinks with coworkers that are already your friends, to taking the new guy out his first week. Does anyone actually do that in New York? Be the person who makes that a thing.
Some post-work bonding requires beers and shots. Sel Rrose is not where you come for that kind of experience. It’s where you come for a really well-made cocktail, maybe even enjoyed outside, with the possibility of also eating a burger and/or taking part in their oyster happy hour. We don’t love the food otherwise, but we do love how pleasant this place is for a civilized drink or three.
And for when you do need beers and shots, or really cheap well drinks ($4 before 8pm), Botanica is here for you and your coworker crew. This is one of those bars that feels like it’s been around forever, but still manages to be packed after work every single day of the week.
The Tippler is already the unofficial gathering place of people who work at Google, Facebook, and other companies in the Meatpacking area, so if you have the pleasure of working at one of those places, you probably don’t need us to tell you about it. (You also definitely have copious amounts of free beer in your offices, so we also don’t really feel bad about not telling you anything new.) Anyway, located under Chelsea Market, The Tippler is a big space with lots of fun cocktails - including some frozen ones. Grab your Google (or non-Google) friends and head there.
Find yourselves at The Wren and/or Wilfie & Nell way too often? Expand your horizons (without having to step outside your comfort zone) at The Highlands. It’s a neighborhood-y West Village bar that tends to turn into a post-work party.
The West Village’s favorite beer bar also happens to be an excellent place for congregating with coworkers. A great beer selection, great bar food, and a fairly large space - get there early if you’re trying to stake out one of the tables.
Fact: no one doesn’t like rooftops. Especially in New York in the summer. They’re like our version of public pools. Except you can’t get naked. If your office is around Flatiron, the roof at the Park South Hotel is one of the best spots to grab drinks with coworkers. The drinks are solid, and the food is surprisingly good considering you’re on a rooftop.
Bars with TVs outside are unicorns - and especially good for coworker hangs. You get to breathe in some fresh air for the first time all day, and you have something to watch should your bitching session about your bosses come to a lull. Tavern29 is easily one of the more pleasant bars in the entire Murray Hill area.
Flatiron Hall is just what it sounds like: a beer hall in Flatiron. It’s admittedly a bit bro-y (again, it’s a beer hall in Flatiron), but the many long tables make for a comfortable group outing locale. There are plenty of house beers on tap (brewed in Greenpoint, apparently), plus a fairly random menu that includes everything from soft pretzels to chicken tikka masala wontons.
Does your Flatiron/Chelsea office unexpectedly need to roll somewhere? That’s what Black Door’s here for. Whether you’re four people or twenty, this is the best option around for a low-key but still classy-enough-for-your-boss bar. Speaking of your boss, if you can convince them that an open bar is in the cards, you can rent out the back room.
Whenever we come across anyone looking to drink in the Financial District, The Dead Rabbit is the first place we direct them. It’s lively, not cheesy, and they make great cocktails. While the downstairs is more of a pub environment, upstairs is a “parlor” with a cocktail bar feel and a menu of solid small plates.