East Village Bars & Nightlife
Mother of Pearl
95 Avenue A, East Village
Mother of Pearl's elevated take on the tiki bar is unapologetically vibrant. Couches are done in retro floral prints, and bright orchids and lilies sit atop teal-patterned tables. Long, gathered white curtains separate an open, airy front sitting room from the bar, which is outfitted with kelly-green-topped stools. The cocktails, likewise, are decorated with flowers (and fruit) and are just as festive. The bar snacks hold up, as well, and there's a larger brunch menu on the weekends.
The Third Man
116 Avenue C, East Village
This Vienna-inspired cocktail bar—named after the classic 1949 British noir film—has a clandestine feel, with lots of iron beams, exposed brick, and dim lighting. Come for a well-mixed cocktail and Austrian small plate.
Please Don’t Tell (PDT)
113 St. Marks Place, East Village
Criff Dogs—a hot dog joint—was an institution even before PDT (Please Don't Tell) came onto the scene. It's one of the best bars in the city for fantastic cocktails dreamed up by owner Jim Meehan, whose book of recipes has brought good, old fashioned cocktails back into the modern lexicon. Plus, there are deluxe hot dogs on the menu to accompany your drinks. It's a tiny, dark space, and the setting is intimate on purpose, so it can be hard to get a seat. Drop by early to put your name on the list—they're great about giving you a call when a table is available. >>Photo: Noah Kalina
304 E. 6th St., East Village
With its extensive tequila and mezcal menu, this bar intends to enlighten us all about the two great Mexican imports, and it works: They make some great cocktails from each. There's also a surprisingly lengthy menu of inventive small plates, meaning that a trip here is an education in modern Mexican cuisine, too.
Death & Co.
433 E. 6th St., East Village
New York is full of prohibition-themed bars, but this one stands out for its incredible drinks. The space, dark and intimate, is meant for small parties to enjoy their drinks and snacks over quiet conversation (make a reservation as seating is scarce). The drink menu is sorted by spirits, then by "shaken" or "stirred," so you're bound to find something that meets, and then exceeds, your very particular expectations. Don't miss the incredible food, which justifies arriving with an empty stomach.
Bowery Hotel Bar
335 Bowery, East Village
Ideally located where NoHo, the East Village, and Nolita meet, this hotel's bright bedrooms and contrastingly cavernous bar attracts the rockstar set—for scene, but also for comfort. Downstairs, Gemma is a good spot for a drink (it’s also a good dinner option for bigger groups). There's a great bar on the second floor that's often rented out for events—and sometimes only available for hotel guests. But it's always worth asking.
125 E. 17th St., Gramercy
This is a Batali-Bastianich collaboration, so expect nothing less than delicious tapas—excellent meats, manchego cheese, boquerones—all served up as authentically as if you were in Madrid. If you come just for drinks, you won't be disappointed by the list, and you can pretty much make a meal out of a few of their authentic offerings. (If you're still hungry, head next door to Casa Mono.)
8 Stuyvesant St., East Village
Tucked away on the second floor through a hidden door in a Japanese restaurant, this speakeasy-style hideaway serves really great cocktails. The best part though is that they only allow a handful of parties in at once (and limited party sizes at that), meaning that it's never crowded. (Never crowded does not mean that you sometimes don't have to wait.)
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