There is a section on the best bars in New York in my previous Essential New York Guide, but I still wanted to dedicate a whole post for those who are serious about getting their drink on.
And even if you don't care too much about drinks, I love New York's bar culture. I've randomly met fun people here and there, and people are always open to strike up a conversation if you are. Cheers!
New York has arguably the best skyline in the world, and you don't need to pay a hefty $25-30 fee hiking the Rockefeller Center or Empire State Building to enjoy it. Here are a few of my favorite rooftop bars to enjoy a good view.
230 FIFTH This is the most popular rooftop bar with a chill vibe and a great view of the iconic Empire State Building. I love to take all my friends and family who visit from out of town to grab a Corona next to the palm trees.
LE BAIN This rooftop bar at the top of the Standard Hotel has one of the prettiest views of the Hudson River and Chelsea. In the summer I love coming on Sunday afternoons and watching the sunset over the river. Late at night it opens up to a trendy club scene crowd and can be difficult to get in if you don't come early enough.
MCCARREN HOTEL & POOL This Williamsburg hotel bar has an amazing view of the Manhattan skyline (formerly called King & Grove) and is in the central location near other bars and restaurants.
COCKTAIL BARS / SPEAKEASIES
I love that a bunch of amazing cocktail bars and speakeasies have sprung up over New York. It's unconsciously upped my standards for alcohol (sadly at the expense my wallet) and for the ambiance I now expect at bars.
PLEASE DON'T TELL This is the classic must-visit speakeasy in the East Village with the coolest entrance. It might take a long time to get seated, but there are other fun things to eat and explore in the area while you wait. The drinks and atmosphere are both pretty damn good.
APOTHEKE This hidden apothecary-themed gem is located in the middle of Chinatown, and if you're lucky you'll drop in when there's live music. Drinks here are so yummy that I question whether or not they actually have alcohol in them.
DEATH & CO This East Village cocktail bar with a cool, funky vibe and excellent, well-balanced drinks gets big stars for both critics and casual drinkers.
I love beer and I love being outdoors. Being in a spacious bar is pretty great too.
STANDARD BIERGARTEN Normally the Meatpacking district is known for its upscale bars and trendy clubs, but this is one of the chill/ friendly bars that I love to go to. I always have a good time hanging out with my friends and challenging people to foosball. It's also close to a lot of other nightlife and overall the neighborhood is fun to be in at night.
STUDIO SQUARE I love my neighborhood, Astoria, and the great beer gardens are one of the reasons why. I love how spacious this place is. It's amazing for any sports nights with the biggest screen in New York and the food is pretty great too.
RADEGAST HALL & BIERGARTEN This is a great Williamsburg beer garden with a pretty, modern barn-like vibe, awesome sausages, and German beer.
BERG'N Prepare your tastebuds and stomach for all the awesome food (including the ramen burger!) and beer/wine/cocktails at this Brooklyn food hall located next to the flea market.
Not necessarily the first type of bar that I choose, but here goes...
JACK DEMSEY'S This is a great sports bar that features soccer (no bias based on the fact that that's my favorite sport) is located in Manhattan and is full of fun, animated fans of other sports as well.
BREAK BAR & BILLARDS Another Astoria favorite of mine--it's spacious, has plenty of screens, sells Corona by the bucket and is also full bar games like of ping pong, foosball, and billards.
BLACK HORSE PUB This Brooklyn bar makes you feel like you're back in the UK. The owner is an English transplant who created a space where you can watch not only sports, but also where you can enjoy an English breakfast, read the daily newspaper, or get into a wits match over a good ale.
PROFESSOR THOM'S A great space in the East Village to pop in during game time. It gets pretty lively and fun around game time.
I tend to equate good ambiance with pretty, twinkly lights and beautiful, chic decor.
FLAT IRON ROOM Known for great whisky and spirits, this bar has a very upscale interior and clientele.
CAMPBELL APARTMENT I love this gem that's tucked away in the Grand Central Station. It's a classy and elegant place that feels like you're in a castle somewhere.
REFINERY ROOFTOP This is a very chic, modern rooftop with great decor and a great view of Midtown Manhattan. Definitely a great place to take a date.
BEST FUN / CHILL BARS
The New York bar scene can be pretty uptight at times--adhering to a proper dresscode, expensive/ fancy drinks, and annoying bouncers--but here are some of my favorites that are more chill and good for a low key night out.
FAT CAT Jazz, shuffleboard, ping pong, billards, you name it. It's a fun place in West Village to take a group of friends to hang around listening to live music or start competing over the many options of bar games. It's one of my favorite hang out places.
CROCODILE LOUNGE Free pizza with your drink. 'Nuff said.
BUA BAR The only downside is that this East Village bar can get a little crowded at nights, but the vibe is still chill with a great selection of cocktails.
POCHA 32 I always have so much fun in this place. Meeting random strangers on the table next to yours, playing Korean drinking games, and slurping down that delicious watermelon soju during the summers. Food is great too!
FRYING PAN This is a bar on a boat that is permanently docked on the Hudson River. It's so much fun to go in the warm days of summer. My friends & I always get a bucket of Corona and a jar of sangria and watch the sunset together.
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