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Bar Recommendations From the City's Top Drink Makers

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New York will never be lacking in jam-packed new hotspots or in storied taverns, but the city is also full of under-the-radar bars that serve awesome cocktails. Everyone has their good old standby, their go-to spot for that middle of the week, post-work drink. With that in mind, Eater asked some of the city's top bartenders and bar operators for their favorite hidden gems. Here's a map of their picks, which range from Julie Reiner's neighborhood haunt to the restaurant whose cocktail program Jim Meehan thinks is vastly underrated. Take a look:


Some of the bartenders couldn't pick just one hidden gem. Here's an honorable mentions list of some of their other go-to spots:

JakeWalk (Julie Reiner)
Sophie's (Eben Freeman)
Mona's (Eben Freeman)
Mug's Ale House (Eben Freeman)
Fanelli's (Eben Freeman)
Amor y Amargo (Brandon Duff)
Blue Ribbon Bar (Brandon Duff)
Wallflower (Leo Robitschek)
Gwynett Street (Leo Robitschek)
Lantern's Keep (Leo Robitschek)
Aska (Leo Robitschek)
Estela (Leo Robitschek)
ZZ's Clam Bar (Leo Robitschek)
wd-50 (Jim Meehan)
The Cecil (Benjamin Wood)

· All Cocktail Week Coverage [~ENY~]

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Blueprint

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196 5th Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 622-6644
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Julie Reiner, owner of the Clover Club and Flatiron Lounge says: "Park Slope is a bit of a desert for cocktails, so it is great to have a neighborhood bar that takes its cocktails and ice program seriously. I love to sit in the garden and sip on a delicious negroni or old fashioned. They have even brought in spirits upon my request." [Photo]

2. Cienfuegos

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443 E 6th St
New York, NY 10009
(212) 614-6818
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Brandon Duff, bar manager of Atera says this rum-centric bar is "good for group hangouts or dates with an awesome atmosphere to encourage copious amounts of alcohol to enter your blood stream." [Horine]

3. Lexington Bar & Books

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1020 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10021
Eben Freeman of The Butterfly says: "I hid out here waiting for Tailor to open and in a short year, managed to leave a piece of myself here amongst the nicotine stained walls. I have trained many a bartender in my day and this is the only place I can return to and see them make their Dark and Stormy the same way I showed them all those years ago." [Photo]

4. Momofuku Ssäm Bar

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207 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 254-3500
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Leo Robitschek, the bar manager at the NoMad and Eleven Madison Park thinks the restaurants of the Momofuku empire deserve as much attention as the bar: "Everyone talks about the cocktails at Booker and Dax which are delicious, but no one ever mentions what John Debary is doing in Momofuku. The drinks are delicious." [Kalina]

5. Evelyn Drinkery

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171 Avenue C
New York, NY 10009
Aaron Polsky of Amor y Amargo calls this cozy Alphabet City bar "a wolf in sheep's clothing." He continues: "It looks like a neighborhood bar, serves killer cocktails, very fast, spanning a very broad spectrum, with a good playlist and great bartenders." [Photo]

6. Lone Wolf

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1089 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 11221
Kasia Krupinska, of the Third Man picks this spot beneath the tracks of the J train: "I love the atmosphere, it's a darkly lit bar with extremely comfortable barstools and hospitable bartenders. It's my ultimate home away from home. The drinks are always consistent and the music is remarkable...Plus they serve the best pickle backs in Brooklyn!" [Photo]

7. Fedora

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239 W 4th St
New York, NY 10014
(646) 449-9336
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Of Fedora's bar manager Brian Bartels, PDT's Jim Meehan says: "He's the Usain Bolt of bartending: mysteriously holding off at the end of every race to coast through to the finish. It will be scary if he ever tries to realize his potential." [Krieger]

8. Apt 13

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115 Avenue C
New York, NY 10009
Benjamin Wood of Distilled NY picks the relatively new APT 13: "When you visit, do yourself a favor and let the team course and pair cocktails, wine and beer with dishes from the talented chef John Keller."

9. Louis 649

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649 E 9th St
New York, NY 10009
(212) 673-1190
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Eamon Rockey, experienced barman and current Betony GM, says this spot is "one of those bars that entirely transforms depending on who is behind the bar, but is always a lot of fun." He continues: "Some of my favorite bartenders in the city have snuck back there at one point or another and it is always an adventure to stop in for a random drink." [Photo]

10. Bearded Lady

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686A Washington Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11238
(469) 232-7333
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Here are two bar/drinks recommendations from Littleneck's owner and frequent bartender Aaron Lefkove: "Obviously I have to go with the Federale at Clem's which isn't really a cocktail (it's a beer and shot deal - but I'm more of a beer & shot guy than a cocktail guy anyway) but has been my go-to there for as long as I can remember which is probably since they first introduced it. But if pressed for a straight cocktail, though, it is definitely the Mr. Howell at the Bearded Lady which is a very classy daiquiri." [Photo: Foursquare]

11. Ba'sik

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323 Graham Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(347) 889-7597
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Gwynnett St.'s Carl McCoy likes Ba'sik partly because it's right across the street from his restaurant, but also because it offers "solid cocktails" made by "professional bartenders." [Photo]

1. Blueprint

196 5th Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11217
Julie Reiner, owner of the Clover Club and Flatiron Lounge says: "Park Slope is a bit of a desert for cocktails, so it is great to have a neighborhood bar that takes its cocktails and ice program seriously. I love to sit in the garden and sip on a delicious negroni or old fashioned. They have even brought in spirits upon my request." [Photo]
196 5th Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11217

2. Cienfuegos

443 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009
Brandon Duff, bar manager of Atera says this rum-centric bar is "good for group hangouts or dates with an awesome atmosphere to encourage copious amounts of alcohol to enter your blood stream." [Horine]
443 E 6th St
New York, NY 10009

3. Lexington Bar & Books

1020 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10021
Eben Freeman of The Butterfly says: "I hid out here waiting for Tailor to open and in a short year, managed to leave a piece of myself here amongst the nicotine stained walls. I have trained many a bartender in my day and this is the only place I can return to and see them make their Dark and Stormy the same way I showed them all those years ago." [Photo]
1020 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10021

4. Momofuku Ssäm Bar

207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
Leo Robitschek, the bar manager at the NoMad and Eleven Madison Park thinks the restaurants of the Momofuku empire deserve as much attention as the bar: "Everyone talks about the cocktails at Booker and Dax which are delicious, but no one ever mentions what John Debary is doing in Momofuku. The drinks are delicious." [Kalina]
207 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003

5. Evelyn Drinkery

171 Avenue C, New York, NY 10009
Aaron Polsky of Amor y Amargo calls this cozy Alphabet City bar "a wolf in sheep's clothing." He continues: "It looks like a neighborhood bar, serves killer cocktails, very fast, spanning a very broad spectrum, with a good playlist and great bartenders." [Photo]
171 Avenue C
New York, NY 10009

6. Lone Wolf

1089 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11221
Kasia Krupinska, of the Third Man picks this spot beneath the tracks of the J train: "I love the atmosphere, it's a darkly lit bar with extremely comfortable barstools and hospitable bartenders. It's my ultimate home away from home. The drinks are always consistent and the music is remarkable...Plus they serve the best pickle backs in Brooklyn!" [Photo]
1089 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 11221

7. Fedora

239 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014
Of Fedora's bar manager Brian Bartels, PDT's Jim Meehan says: "He's the Usain Bolt of bartending: mysteriously holding off at the end of every race to coast through to the finish. It will be scary if he ever tries to realize his potential." [Krieger]
239 W 4th St
New York, NY 10014

8. Apt 13

115 Avenue C, New York, NY 10009
Benjamin Wood of Distilled NY picks the relatively new APT 13: "When you visit, do yourself a favor and let the team course and pair cocktails, wine and beer with dishes from the talented chef John Keller."
115 Avenue C
New York, NY 10009

9. Louis 649

649 E 9th St, New York, NY 10009
Eamon Rockey, experienced barman and current Betony GM, says this spot is "one of those bars that entirely transforms depending on who is behind the bar, but is always a lot of fun." He continues: "Some of my favorite bartenders in the city have snuck back there at one point or another and it is always an adventure to stop in for a random drink." [Photo]
649 E 9th St
New York, NY 10009

10. Bearded Lady

686A Washington Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11238
Here are two bar/drinks recommendations from Littleneck's owner and frequent bartender Aaron Lefkove: "Obviously I have to go with the Federale at Clem's which isn't really a cocktail (it's a beer and shot deal - but I'm more of a beer & shot guy than a cocktail guy anyway) but has been my go-to there for as long as I can remember which is probably since they first introduced it. But if pressed for a straight cocktail, though, it is definitely the Mr. Howell at the Bearded Lady which is a very classy daiquiri." [Photo: Foursquare]
686A Washington Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11238

11. Ba'sik

323 Graham Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Gwynnett St.'s Carl McCoy likes Ba'sik partly because it's right across the street from his restaurant, but also because it offers "solid cocktails" made by "professional bartenders." [Photo]
323 Graham Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11211

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