Though the original cocktail’s birthplace may be disputed, New York’s tippling culture is as strong as a triple-shot Manhattan, and boasts, at very least, bragging rights to the island’s namesake sip.
From finely finessed, classic libation stations to inventive, palate-tingling craft concoctors, here are eight first-rate cocktail slingers to seek out on your next trip to Gotham.
Cheers to: Urban art, club vibes and an uber hip crowd
From the crew behind Uptown Asian party palace Tao comes this sprawling, multi-level, street-art-splashed lounge in Bowery serving up innovative drinks like the Miss Demeanor (Brugal Anejo rum, lime and allspice tincture) alongside global shareables (think red snapper tostadas and crispy brisket bao buns), live DJ tunes and ace ambience.
199 Bowery, LES. +1 212 400 0199. vandalnewyork.com
Cheers to: Sasha Petraske’s libation legacy
The driver of NY’s craft cocktail movement and owner of speakeasy stalwart Milk & Honey, Petraske sadly passed away in 2015, but his partners Josh Bonsignore and Lucinda Sterling have opened this Red Hook nook in his honour. We think the simple but perfectly executed Hemingway Daiquiri and Journalist would have made the late mixmaster proud.
228 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn. +1 718 852 4888.
Cheers to: Nippon sips with creative flair
The concept of the humble izakaya is taken to luxe new levels at this swish dark wood den, where precision pours by an ex-Pegu Club barman are coupled with kickin’ tidbits like mini okonomiyaki (that’s a savoury Japanese pancake to the uninitiated). Go for the Umami Mary – kampai!
245 Eldridge St, LES. +1 212 475 4411. bargoto.com
Mother of Pearl
Cheers to: A tastefully tropi-cool tippler
Nightlife doyen Ravi DeRossi has done away with the painted ceilings and French vibes of Gin Palace, replacing his juniper joint with a pretty pastiche to all things Polynesian. The sophis-tiki treat reps Hawaiian-inspired pours like the Tide is High (pineapple, cashew, mezcal and reposado tequila), plus speciality shots, vegan snacks, leafy accents and colonial crown mouldings. A prize pick.
95 Ave A, East Village. +1 212 614 6818. motherofpearlnyc.com
The Up & Up
Cheers to: Well-made signatures and sample or sized-up options
This unassuming neighbourhood boite resides in a storied setting (the subterranean space was once home to the Beatnik stronghold Gaslight Cafe), but today the focus is squarely on the quirky concoctions featuring unusual ingredients like the Strunk Text made with tequila, pink peppercorn, chanterelles and celery shrub. Take full flight by going for ‘halfies’ (ie half servings), or, if you know what you like, get a bottled classic and settle in for the eve.
116 MacDougal St, Greenwich Village. + 1 212 260 3000. upandupnyc.com
Cheers to: Drinks with atelier attention to detail
An ex-Dead Rabbit ‘tender is behind the long list of Americana pleasers at this smart, UES lair repping lashings of leather and wood, as well as two bars and a sweatshop’s worth of sewing-machine and scissor imagery. The beverage program is a patchwork of pretty icons and house signatures with offerings spanning Tabletop (Roca Reposado, thyme, lime, celery soda and pink salt) to the warming Spindle (Louis Royer Force 53 Cognac, sorel, apple, honey and lemon bitters, served hot).
339 E 75th St, UES. +1 212 288 8033. seamstressny.com
Cheers to: Spice ‘tails
Boilermaker’s Greg Boehm and Nico de Soto turn up the heat with just 11 sips each showcasing a different spice. Opt for the Mustard Seed if you like it hot, or the milder Saffron is a foam-topped cup of gin, rosewater and pistachio pleasure.
649 E 9th St, East Village. macenewyork.com
Cheers to: Tequila-fuelled good times
The fiesta-resistance! A pair of Clover Clubbers showcase the spirits (and spirit) of Latin America with fun cocteles including the kicky Say Anything, made with jalapeño-infused blanco tequila, cachaça, Aperol, watermelon and mint. Just add Central-to-South snacks like Colombian Papas Rellenas and you’re set to salsa. Que, si!
221 Smith St, Brooklyn, +1 347 987 3260. leyendabk.com