If Austin Powers decorated a bar with whatever he could grab on a shopping spree at the ’70s equivalent of Bed Bath & Beyond, that bar would look like Joyface. This cocktail spot in the East Village has plush couches and rugs in various colors, paintings of tigers on the walls, a spinning disco ball, and a waterbed in the corner. Also, there’s no drink menu. Instead, they have a bowl filled with the names of liquors and mixers - pick out a couple of them at random, and the bartender will make you a cocktail using those as key ingredients. It all sounds gimmicky, but the drinks are actually good, and you can always just order a standard cocktail if you prefer. Get a gin martini or some Frankenstein mixed drink with mezcal and coffee (it actually wasn’t bad), and hang out by the fireplace with a date.
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Rai Rai Ken
There’s plenty of ramen in the East Village these days, and no shortage of opinions on where to go. We happen to believe that Rai Rai Ken sits near the top of the heap, mostly because that shoyu ramen is so good, but also because it’s inexpensive and simple.
Hawa Smoothies & Bubble Tea
Hawa Smoothies is a tiny, cash-only juice bar in East Village where the drinks have names like “Hot Passion" and “Pom Queen."
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These days, Employees Only is not the hotspot it once was. But while the crowd might have lost a step, the cocktails have not, and it’s still packed with people every time we stop by.
Good Night Sonny
Good Night Sonny is a cocktail bar in a busy section of the East Village, and it's a surprisingly nice place to have a drink.
There are two Garrets in the city, and the one on the west side is a speakeasy above a Five Guys. It’s a cool space, but expect a crowd and top-40.
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