20 Of The Best Cocktail Bars In New York


New York is full of great places to eat and drink, but, with so many choices available, it can be a nightmare to decide where to go. To help you on your quest to find the perfect cocktail bar, and to help you start planning your trip, we’ve made a list of the best cocktail bars in New York, from the niche and novelty to the swish and swanky.

1. The Way Station

The self-proclaimed ‘Nerdvana’ of bars, The Way Station hosts book readings, burlesque nights and live music that spans genres from Latin to Blues. It has been dubbed ‘The Dr. Who Bar’ because of its Dr. Who themed cocktail menu - with cocktails named ‘Captain Jack’ and ‘Shirley Temple of Doom’ - and it’s Tardis toilets. And, yes, the toilets are bigger on the inside.

The Way Station, situated in Brooklyn, isn’t just a cocktail bar though. It also serves food and, on a Sunday, holds screenings of sci-fi films and Dr. Who episodes. It really is any geek’s dream bar.

Where: 683 Washington Avenue, New York, NY 11238
Price: $$


2. Please Don’t Tell

If you want to visit this bar, you’ll have to know the password. But don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it sounds. To enter the exclusive Please Don’t Tell, you have to make a reservation at 3pm on the day you plan to visit; then you’ll be given the password.

To enter, you’ll need to go into the telephone box next to Crif Dogs (the neighbouring hot dog restaurant) and call the number given to you.

For such hush hush venue, it’s surprising how popular Please Don’t Tell is.

Where: 113 St Marks Place, New York, NY 10009
Price: $


3. Apotheke

Artistically inspired by absinthe dens and historical European apothecaries, Apotheke is wholly unusual. The bar is located in a hidden alleyway in New York’s Chinatown and is committed to serving cocktails in their most bizarre form.

The bartenders, clad in lab coats, will serve you a drink from their ‘Prescription List’, which is their cocktail menu. The menu has subheadings such as ‘Painkillers’, ‘Stimulants’, Stress Relievers’ and ‘Aphrodisiacs’ and includes strange concoctions like gin-infused seven herbs.

With drinks like the pyromaniacal absinthe (absinthe literally set on fire), this cocktail bar is not for the faint hearted.

Where: 9 Doyers Street, New York, NY 10013
Price: $$$$


4.Boobie Trap

With a 70’s playlist and board game tables where you can play snakes and ladders and forfeit Jenga, Boobie Trap is all about having a laugh. Like it’s name suggests, this cocktail bar is largely decorated with boobs. Boobs on the ceiling, boobs in picture frames and topless mannequin beer dispensers.

Despite its outlandish decor, Boobie Trap likes to keep things simple; you won’t see many fancy cocktails on the menu. The food menu mainly consists of a BBQ, giving the its intended relaxed vibe.

Where: 308 Bleecker Street, NY 11237
Price: $


5. Kingston Hall

This 1960’s Jamaican themed bar is best known for its relaxed atmosphere and contemporary cocktail list. Kingston Hall’s signature cocktail is the Drunken Coconut, which is a mixture of rum, Malibu, coconut water and pineapple juice served in an open coconut.

The bar’s food menu promises you a delicious meal, with choices ranging from calamari two ways to jerk pork sliders.

Where: 149 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003
Price: $$


6. Pegu Club

The staff at Pegu Club like to see every cocktail as having its own personality, which could be why the menu is so creative. At Pegu Club, you can order a Bourbon-Chai Milk Punch, which is made up of cold comfort chai-infused bourbon, maple syrup and cream. The food menu - with flavours to complement the cocktail menu - consists of Asian inspired cuisine.

Where: 77 West Houston Street, New York, NY 10012
Price: $$$

7. Angel’s Share

Walk through the unmarked door in Japanese restaurant Village Yokocho and you’ll find Angel’s Share, an exclusive cocktail bar with great views of Stuyvesant Square. With innovative cocktails like the Charlie Brown (whiskey, peanut butter, cream, milk and nutmeg), you’ll be able to find something to get your palate going.

But, to enjoy Angel’s Share, you must abide by the rules: no groups of more than four, no shouting and no standing. These rules are strictly adhered to, so you won’t get away with any shenanigans in this cocktail bar.

Where: 8 Stuyvesant Street, New York, NY 10003
Price: $


8. The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog

If you’re after some variety, The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog will fulfill your needs with their 30 item cocktail list.

The three story bar specialising in cocktails ranging from the classic to the wacky, even offers you a cocktail served in a china tea cup and saucer if you go for the Pusherman (London gin, blanche armagnac, pineau des charentes, elderflower, genepy, lemon, celery bitters and cucumber soda).

Where: 30 Water Street, New York, NY 10004
Price: $$$$


9. Amor y Amargo

Not only can you drink cocktails at Amor y Amargo, but you can request a cocktail making class so that you can shake and sip like a pro.

This bar’s recommended cocktail list consists of an array of both conventional and unconventional flavours, and its intimate atmosphere takes you out of busy New York and into your own little world.

Where: 443 East 6th Street, New York, NY 10009
Price: $$

10. Bemelmans Bar

You can find the famous Bemelmans Bar tucked away inside The Carlyle Restaurant, and you’ll find yourself in good company, as some of history’s biggest names like John F. Kennedy used to have a penchant for sipping Martinis at this venue.

Their impressive list of classic cocktails and drinks will curb your alcohol cravings, but make sure you go suited and booted, because the dress code must be adhered to.

Where: 35 East 76th Street, New York, NY 10075
Price: $$$


11. Bar GOTO

Step out of New York and into Japan: Bar GOTO is a cocktail bar with a Japanese twist. The minimalistic interior, quaintly decorated with Bonsai trees and other bits of foliage, gives the bar an elegant feel which is emphasised by the small plates of Japanese cuisine on offer.

You can choose from savory pancakes or a selection of small plates, but the main event is definitely the cocktail list. All of the cocktails have Japanese names, giving you a drinking experience away from the norm.

Classy and quirky, Bar GOTO is perfect for anyone who loves exploring different cultures.

Where: 245 Eldridge Street, New York, NY 10002
Price: $$$


12. Holiday Cocktail Lounge

Holiday Cocktail Lounge has been going strong since 1835 and it’s immensely popular with locals and visitors alike. Why? Because it’s the master of its trade. Offering both a dinner menu and an audacious cocktail menu, you can eat, drink and be merry here until the small hours of the morning.

Where: 75 St. Marks Place, New York, NY 10003
Price: $$$


13. Employees Only

This unpretentious speakeasy provides you with the cocktail list of your dreams, with the subheadings: EO Classics, Fancy Cocktails, Aperitifs and Long Drinks. The late night dining menu - which expertly complements the cocktail menu - ensures that you can last all evening.

Where: 510 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
Price: $$$$


14. Nite Cap

Nite Cap is all about having fun, with its reasonably priced menu littered with jokes, drinking games and pulling tips, you won’t be able to help but crack a smile, even on the dullest of days.

The cocktail list brings you all the classics, but with a refreshing twist. However, as Nite Cap doesn’t have a food menu, we recommend you line your stomach before you go!

Where: 151 Rivington Street, New York, NY 10002
Price: $$


15. Pouring Ribbons

Pouring Ribbons’ simplistic interior leaves all eyes on their impressively extensive cocktail list. The list itself features scales ranging from ‘comforting’ to ‘adventurous’ and ‘refreshing’ to ‘spirituous’ so that newcomers know what they’re letting themselves in for.

Their most adventurous cocktail is named Ambrosial Sin and contains a mixture of lapsang souchong-infused barbancourt rhum, hamilton Jamaican black rum, Johnnie Walker Black Label scotch, bonal and mole bitters.

Where: 225 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009
Price: $$


16. Flatiron Lounge

The swanky, 1920’s style Flatiron Lounge is one of the city’s best known cocktail bars, serving the oldie-but-goodie cocktails and also keeping up with the times with the more contemporary classics.

What really gives Flatiron Lounge its charm is its seasonal menu, featuring ‘daily flights’, which are three small cocktails that have a common taste theme.

Where: 37 West 19th Street. New York, NY 10011
Price: $$$


17. The Rum House

Situated right in the heart of Times Square, The Rum House is the perfect place for a pre or post show tipple. Their menu consists of both classic cocktails and rum cocktails that you can enjoy whilst watching their nightly live jazz and piano performances.

Where: 228 West 47th Street, New York, NY 10036
Price: $$


18. Analogue

This spacious, retro cocktail bar is one of the more sophisticated on our list. If you want a high quality drink in a no-fuss atmosphere, this is the place for you. Jazz is played quietly in the background, whilst you sip on your expertly made cocktail.

The cocktails - you can even take classes on how to make them yourself at Analogue - are given creative, but filling names such as Dorian Gray and Breakfast of Champions. The wide selection ensures that there will be something for everyone in your party to enjoy.

Where: 19 West 8th Street, New York, NY 10011
Price: $$$


19. Mother’s Ruin

Mother’s Ruin is an all-rounder, serving brunch, dinner and an eclectic selection of drinks. The shabby chic interior gives the place a homely feel and the creative cocktail menu will leave your tastebuds tingling. If you’re not keen on cocktails, embrace your inner child and try one of the alcoholic slushies on offer.

Where: 18 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012
Price: $


20. Ship

The Ship is a boat themed cocktail bar with authentic nautical decor. Their unusual cocktail menu is what gives this place its charm, and you can order a twist on the classics, such as the Black Forest Martini, or go for something completely different like the Dog Day Afternoon.

If you want to visit The Ship, we recommend that you book in advance because it can be a challenge to get a table.

Where: 158 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10013
Price: $$$


If you’re going to be travelling soon, check out our "21 Things To Do To Kill Time When Delayed At The Airport".