New York City Bars & Nightlife
Have & Meyer
103 Havemeyer St., Williamsburg
In a complete—and admittedly welcome—departure from the Scandinavian hip that dominates Williamsburg, Have & Meyer have replicated the experience of the North Italian wine bar, right down to the Milanese staff. This natural wine bar may be small, but the wine list, the menu, and the service are top-notch. The snacks hold up their end of the bargain, too: overflowing cheese and charcuterie boards, classic antipasti, and a few excellent pastas.
111 N. 12th St., Greenpoint
Located on the rooftop of the William Vale Hotel in Brooklyn, Westlight is a go-to for after-work drinks (and after-after-work drinks) thanks to incredible views of New York's skyline and a great food and beverage program by Andrew Carmellini's Noho Hospitality Group. The menu has a few great small bites, like oysters, duck carnitas tacos, and tequila-cured salmon, but you really come here for the cocktail list: Our favorites are the Ruby Spritz for a hot afternoon, or the In Bloom, a vodka and cava drink that comes with fresh beet juice. Photos: Noah Fecks & Andrew Boyle
Air’s Champagne Parlor
127 Macdougal St., Greenwich Village
It's hard to imagine a better place to do drinks with girlfriends than this feminine champagne parlor, which features a marble bar, deep green velvet banquettes, and gold stools. In addition to an extensive list of champagnes and sparkling wines by the glass, they have a great little snack menu featuring oysters, caviar, charcuterie, and a seriously good grilled cheese. Come during their "bubbly hour," when you can get three glasses of champagne by the glass plus a snack for $30 a person.
80 Columbus Circle, Upper West Side
The Alinea team made their New York debut on the rooftop of the Mandarin Oriental, and while the restaurant is just as good as the Chicago version, we're actually most excited about their high-end bar, which is accessed through the kitchen. The cool interior feels like a cozy, leather-bound library, and there are plenty of great snacks (which come directly from the Alinea kitchen), but the real star here are the cocktails. There's a five-course tasting menu with ambitious cocktail pairings, or you can just order a la carte. Pro tip: The bartenders love whipping up custom mixtures, so don't be afraid to ask.
11 Howard St., Nolita
Aby Rosen's new nightclub, which spans the entire second floor of Nolita hotel 11 Howard, is supposed to be a total scene at night (that is, if you can catch it on a date when it's not closed for events), but we actually like it just as much in the early evening for after-work drinks. The room is lined with velvet banquettes and a long bar that's lit from underneath, with bouquets of cherry blossoms and fresh blooms in every corner.
La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels
249 Centre St., Little Italy
This downtown wine bar is from the same team behind some of our favorite bar-restaurant spots in London and Paris. The concept is a cozy, candle-lit, living room-esque space with plush couches and decorative throw pillows, mod chairs, and marble-topped tables. The wine list is unsurprisingly very French, and impressive, plus there's a small but sufficient small-plate snack and dinner menu. In other words, this makes an excellent date spot.
91 S. 6th St., Williamsburg
Loosie Rouge is one of the coolest Williamsburg openings in recent years. The cocktail menu and food take their cue from New Orleans bars and kitchens, while the interior decor feels more Scandinavian, with white-washed brick walls, a dark wood bar, and geometrically cut tables. On a warm day, the bright outdoor patio space has the best seats in the house, though. Check out Loosie Rouge's changing calendar to see what live music is on offer before you go.
180 West St., Greenpoint
Local restaurateur Andrew Tarlow (who brought you other old-school-Brooklyn-inspired destinations Diner, Marlow & Sons, and the Wythe Hotel) opened this low-key neighborhood gastropub in an early-1900s bar facing the East River that was once frequented by the workers from nearby shipyard docks. The kitchen here is minor, but chef Lee Desrosiers designed a menu of light, gently cooked fare—think poached fish, beef tartare, or heirloom veggies in broth—sourcing ingredients, naturally, from its sister business, Williamsburg butcher shop and artisan grocer Marlow & Daughters.
79-81 Macdougal St., Greenwich Village
Dante is an homage to the original Caffe Dante, which had been in Greenwich Village since 1915 and was once a preferred haunt for Italian immigrants—along with legends like Bob Dylan, Ernest Hemingway, Al Pacino, and Patti Smith. Since changing hands to new owner Linden Pride, it’s fortunately maintained a lot of its charm. The cocktails—all modern riffs on classic drinks—are made with fresh-pressed citrus or “fluffy” orange juice straight from the juicer. Every day from 4 to 7 in the evening, it hosts Negroni Sessions, where you can sample the twelve types of Negroni available on tap. Small plates to full-fledged Italian entrées are on offer at dinner time; there is a killer brunch, too.
1590 Second Ave., Upper East Side
The Penrose was a very welcome addition to the Upper East Side when it debuted on Second Avenue a few years ago, and the gastropub still feels noteworthy today in a neighborhood that is more known for its collegiate sports bars than craft-centric joints. Some would say that it feels more downtown than uptown, probably because the Penrose was done by the same people behind downtown spots The Wren and Wilfie and Nell. All that said, beyond the exposed brick and vintage décor, this is really a neighborhood spot—and a solid one at that. Besides the drinks, the snacks are satisfying, and you might find yourself wanting to stay for dinner, or come back the next day for brunch.