7 Classic New York Bars

Toast your trip to New York City at one of these classic tippling spots

From sophisticated to casual, there is a classic New York City bar that will appeal to just about everyone. Whether you just want a spot to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail or are looking for a place to linger all evening, check out this list of inspiration and ideas.

  • 01 of 07

    The Oak Bar at The Plaza

    The Oak Room at The Plaza Hotel
    Corbis via Getty Images / Getty Images

    Impressionist murals by Everett Shinn depict New York City scenes on the walls, but the classic cocktails and oak panels stand out at this classic New York drinking establishment. Featured in the opening scenes of North by Northwest, the Oak Bar has been an important meeting place since it opened in 1907.

    • Address: 768 Fifth Avenue at the Plaza Hotel
    • Phone: 212-546-5320
    • Dress Code: business casual, no shorts, sneakers or sandals after 5 p.m.
  • 02 of 07
    the beautifully lit bar at Bemelman's Bar in The Carlyle Hotel
    arvindgrover/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Named after Ludwig Bemelmans, who created the Madeline books and painted the bar's famous murals, Bemelmans Bar is one of New York City's classic piano bars. The gold-leaf-covered ceiling and black granite bar combine to create an elegant environment for sampling classic cocktails. Live entertainment takes place Tues - Sat from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 - 12:30 p.m.

    • Address: Carlyle Hotel, 35 E. 76th St. (at Madison)
    • Telephone: 212-744-1600
    • Hours: noon - 2 a.m. (12:30 p.m. on Sundays)
    • Dress Code: business casual
  • 03 of 07
    Bull and Bear Restaurant and Pub
    Curt Teich Postcard Archives / Getty Images

    Best known for its beautiful mahogany bar, the Waldorf=Astoria's Bull & Bear is also credited with creating the Robb Roy and the Bronx Cocktail. The Bull & Bear keeps investment bankers and financial types comfortable with a stock-market ticker and tables the color of money.

    • Address: 301 Park Avenue
    • Phone: 212-872-4900
    • Dress Code: business casual
  • 04 of 07
    St Regis Hotel Bar
    FPG / Getty Images

    Located in the St. Regis Hotel, the King Cole Bar is popular with guests and non-guests alike. The Red Snapper (better known as a Bloody Mary) was invented here, amidst the Maxfield Parrish mural depicting Old King Cole.

    • Address: 2 East 55th Street at the St. Regis Hotel
    • Phone: 212-753-4500
    • Dress Code: business casual, no sneakers after 5 p.m.
    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07
    Old Town Bar
    Heather Cross

    First opened in 1892, Old Town Bar & Grill retains its classic charm with pressed tin ceilings and the oldest operating dumbwaiter in New York City. Featured in many TV shows and movies, including the opening credits of David Letterman during his NBC days, Old Town Bar is a casual place to enjoy beers and burgers. Men should be sure to check out the first-floor bathroom, for with its impressive fixtures.

    • Address: 45 East 18th Street
    • Phone: 212-529-6732
    • Dress Code: casual
  • 06 of 07
    Pete's Tavern
    Heather Cross

    The longest continually operating bar in New York City, Pete's Tavern opened in 1864 and remained open throughout Prohibition, disguised as a flower shop. In 1904, O. Henry wrote much of Gift of the Magi in one of his favorite booths by the front doors. This classic bar serves a full menu at reasonable prices, including nightly specials.

    • Address: 129 East 18th Street
    • Phone: 212-473-7676
    • Dress Code: casual
  • 07 of 07

    White Horse Tavern

    USA, New York State, New York City, Manhattan, Greenwich village,White Horse Tavern
    Stephen Rafferty / Getty Images

    One of the few wood-framed buildings remaining in New York City, the White Horse Tavern opened in 1880. Famous patrons include Dylan Thomas, who is rumored to have drunk himself to death here in 1953, Jack Kerouac, and Bob Dylan.

    • Address: 567 Hudson Street
    • Phone: 212-243-9260
    • Dress Code: casual