With a city full of downright lovable dive bars, glitzy cocktail lounges, brewery tap rooms and spots to dance the night away, New Yorkers are spoiled for choice when it comes to places to drink. The only thing harder than getting over a hangover in the city that never sleeps is picking the bar to visit. We’ve made the task a little easier by rounding up the best bars in New York City, broken down by style.
Best Cocktail Bar: Pouring Ribbons
Pouring Ribbons has mastered the art of reinvention. Every few months, the East Village cocktail lounge overhauls its drink menu around a completely new concept—past thematic iterations have been everything from Route 66 (think: boozy floats and a flapjack-flavored Old Fashioned) to Cuba circa-1958 (with cocktails that would impress Hemingway himself). But despite the atmosphere of change, one thing always stays the same: The quality of the cocktails. The passionate bartenders personally invest themselves in every tipple and have been known to experiment with making their own bitters and garnishes in their down time. Their efforts have earned Pouring Ribbons a reputation as the most creative cocktail bar in the city.
Best Romantic Bar: Le Boudoir
When you’re in the mood for romance, slip into Le Boudoir. Francophiles swoon over the Brooklyn Heights speakeasy’s Marie Antoinette-inspired decor, which was designed to look like the private chambers of the French Revolutionary muse herself. You and your date will feel like royalty as you get cozy on luxurious red-velvet banquettes and sip lavish cocktails from silver-plated goblets.
Best Bar for Dancing: Baby’s All Right
Bring your dancing shoes (and leave your inhibitions behind) when you go to Baby’s All Right. The bar, eatery and music venue in Williamsburg boasts a calendar chock-full of lively DJs, bands and indie performers. Unlike some of the city’s nightclubs, you won’t find frat boys and bottle service here. Instead, Baby’s All Right offers a consistently unpretentious dance party where you can get your groove on all night long, and come back for brunch the next day.
Best Sports Bar: Foley’s NY
On game day, there’s no better place than Foley’s to cheer on your team—especially if you’re watching baseball. The bar, which claims to have “NYC’s best sports memorabilia collection,” lines its walls with jerseys worn by the pros, stadium seats, hundreds of hypnotic bobbleheads and a staggering 3,500 autographed balls. And if baseball’s not really your thing thing, don’t worry—Foley’s doesn’t discriminate against other sports. Go there to watch the Super Bowl, hockey and basketball playoffs, March Madness, the World Cup and even NASCAR.
Best Beer Garden: Clinton Hall
Clinton Hall, the classic beer garden at Pod 51 hotel, has 20 rotating taps flowing with beer from around the world. But even if you’ve had one or two of the beers before, they’ll probably taste even better here. Why? The bar uses technology to calibrate the compressions and the exact blend of nitrogen and carbon dioxide , to match the brew master’s recommendations, thus serving each beer at its very best. Soak it all up with one of Clinton Hall’s 12 burgers or the famous doughnut grilled cheese.
Best Wine Bar: June
Cobble Hill’s cozy natural wine bar June has a menu of vino that’s so extensive, it would impress the snobbiest sommelier. Of course, you’ll find a curated selection of reds and whites you already know and love. But June’s not afraid to venture off the beaten path with offerings that might surprise you. The bar devotes entire sections of the menu to chilled red and sparkling orange wines, among other unexpected varietals. With so many bottles (many of which cost less than $100), you’ll find something tasty to sip as you drink in the intimate, train-like atmosphere complete with soft, vintage lighting.
Best Speakeasy: Bathtub Gin
Prohibition may have come and gone, but speakeasy culture still thrives in the Big Apple. Check it out for yourself at Bathtub Gin, the Roaring ‘20s-inspired bar tucked behind Stone Street Coffee Company. Inside, a copper clawfoot bathtub beckons tipsy visitors (often donning flapper dresses and Gatsby-inspired hats) to grab a gin cocktail and snap a glamour shot. For a truly Jazz Age experience, visit Bathtub Gin during one of its intimate jazz performances or burlesque nights.
Best Gay Bar: The Eagle NYC
If The Eagle had a dress code, it would consist of Levi’s and leather everything else. This gay club in Chelsea offers two floors of debauchery for men looking to celebrate their fetishes and have a good time. Take a look at the events calendar before you go—you wouldn’t want to leave your jockstrap at home on Tuesday nights!
Best Rooftop Bar: Gallow Green
Surprisingly, you won’t find a great view at one of the best rooftop bars in New York. Instead, Gallow Green offers a much more atmospheric experience, with jungle-like greenery, surrealist decor and twinkle lights galore. This is a spot where you could imagine joining Puck and the Mad Hatter at a garden party for nymphs and leprechauns. It’s immersive, but we wouldn’t expect anything less from the spot that’s also home the interactive theater production “Sleep No More.”
Best Champagne Bar: Air’s Champagne Parlor
Bubbly’s not reserved for birthdays and New Year’s Eve at Air’s Champagne Parlor. Instead, Champagne and sparkling wine star on the menu every day at this charming boîte, with bubbly lights, Champagne flute-shaped bar stools and marble everything. Owner Ariel Arce seems to be on a personal mission to bring bubbly to the masses. She keeps prices low and the atmosphere welcoming—even if you don’t know the first thing about this celebratory sipper.
Best Bar with a View: Bar SixtyFive
Great views come with a price in New York City—one that’s worth paying at Bar SixtyFive. Located just next door to the famous Rainbow Room on the 65th floor of Rockefeller Plaza, this lofty perch offers panoramic vistas of the most iconic buildings in the city. Tourists pay almost $40 for a birds’-eye view of NYC from Top of the Rock. Savvy travelers, on the other hand, take that money to Bar SixtyFive, where they can toast a nearly identical view of the epic skyline with a glass of champagne in hand. Don’t forget your camera.
Best Old-School New York Bar: Bemelmans Bar
The glitz and glam of old-school Manhattan lives on at Bemelmans Bar, the subterranean lounge beneath The Carlyle hotel. White-gloved waiters deliver strong martinis to couples as they listen to bouncing jazz trios. The mood isn’t all dark and sexy, though. Whimsical illustrations of children and animals enjoying life in Central Park—the only surviving murals from “Madeline” children’s book author, Ludwig Bemelmans, on public view—on the walls keep the mood lively, and all the more interesting.
Best Tiki Bar: Mother of Pearl
Think tiki bars are tacky? Then you haven’t been to Mother of Pearl. The vegan bar and restaurant takes the tropical theme to a chic level, with swaying palm leaf fans lining the walls, banquettes with vintage floral upholstery, bar stools with subtle totem designs and a giant green glass chandelier that looks like something you’d find under the sea. Best of all are the fruity cocktails, served in silver seashells, open-mouthed shark glasses and shrunken heads. Tuck one of the orchid garnishes behind your ear and let your mind drift off to Polynesia.
When the weather heats up, locals know it’s time to make a reservation at Loopy Doopy. The rooftop bar atop the Conrad New York serves boozy ice pops dunked in sparkling rose or prosecco that have become some of the most sought-after summertime treats in the city. Between the frozen indulgences and the breeze coming off the Hudson River, Loopy Doopy’s not the worst place to cool down on those scorching days.
Best Piano Bar: Brandy’s Piano Bar
Known for being a bit more buttoned-up, the Upper East Side might be the last place you’d expect to find the liveliest piano bar in Gotham. But Brandy’s Piano Bar makes it worth the trek uptown if you want to do sing-a-longs late into the night. The song selections are as eclectic as they are fun to belt out. Expect show tunes, Disney songs and hits from pop greats, like Carole King and Elton John. And yes, the pianists take requests—if you throw them a buck or two.
Best Dive Bar: Billymark’s West
If you want nothing more than a beer and a shot without feeling judged, you’ll fit right in at Billymark’s West. The Chelsea dive bar, owned by a former sessions drummer for Blondie, is a true neighborhood spot that’s been serving a loyal following of locals bottom-shelf liquor since 1956. The only frills you’ll find here are sticky floors and the smell of stale beer—just the way a dive bar should be.