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[A martini being poured at '21' Club]
[A martini being poured at '21' Club]
Daniel Krieger

15 Terrific Martini Bars in New York City

Where to score a perfect martini.

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[A martini being poured at '21' Club]
| Daniel Krieger

Whether shaken or stirred, a classic martini remains one of the world's most perfect cocktails. Some say the martini was invented in New York City, but like all cocktail origin stories this one comes tainted with drunken oral history. Regardless, here's where to taste New York's finest gin (and vodka) martinis — up, neat, cold, and dry or dirty. (Note: Bars are listed in alphabetical order.)

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. 21 Club

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21 W 52nd St
New York, NY 10019
(212) 582-7200
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One of Midtown Manhattan's classic restaurants makes a mean martini ($17) that's best neat, and some say, with a burger. The standard is offered with Plymouth Gin or Ketel One Vodka, though diners are welcome to request the vodka or gin of their choice. [Photo: Krieger]

2. Angel’s Share

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8 Stuyvesant St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 777-5415

Though it's been around for 21 years, walking into Angel's Share still feels like a great secret. There's no martini on the menu, but when requested an extremely dry, extremely cold glass will present itself ($15). [Photo: Facebook]

3. Bemelmans Bar

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35 E 76th St
New York, NY 10021
(212) 744-1600
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There is arguably no more elegant bar in Manhattan, and no more elegant martini. When you order a martini at the signature bar at the Carlyle Hotel, the bartender will offer you a choice of vodkas or gins, each with their own price (from $17 for Beefeater to $25 for Stolichnaya Elite). A petite ice cold glass will come filled to the rim next to a miniature carafe on ice with the remainder of your drink from the bartender's shaker. The price of each martini is the cost of the vodka or gin plus $3.75 but the live piano music, high society scene, house-made spicy cheddar crackers, fresh potato chips, and mixed nuts are free and unlimited. [Photo: Bemelmans Bar]

4. Charlie Palmer at The Knick

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6 Times Square
New York, NY 10036
(212) 204-4980
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One of the martini's many origin stories goes like this: In the early 1900s, John D. Rockefeller used to frequent Times Square's Knickerbocker Hotel. He always ordered his drinks from the house bartender — whose name was Martini di Arma di Taggia — and the drink he always ordered was a mixture of dry vermouth and gin. True or not, Charlie Palmer's new spot on the fourth floor of the Knick honors this legend with a house martini made from Tanqueray 10, dry vermouth, rouge vermouth, and orange and citrus bitters ($16). [Photo: The Knick/Official]

5. Clover Club

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210 Smith St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 855-7939
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The house martini at this Cobble Hill bar known for its craft cocktails is worth a taste. Served very cold and very neat it comes made from Gordon's gin (unless otherwise requested) and starts at $12. [Photo: Krieger]

6. Fort Defiance

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365 Van Brunt St
Brooklyn, NY 11231
(347) 453-6672
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St. John's martini (named for the proprietor) is the house martini at what might be Red Hook's favorite modern American restaurant. It's a crisp combination of Plymouth gin, dry vermouth, and orange bitters, garnished not with an olive but with a twist ($12). The breakfast version mixes gin with Cointreau, lemon, and orange marmalade. [Photo: Instagram]

7. Henry Public

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329 Henry St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 852-8630
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Henry's martini is a straightforward combination of Old Tom gin, dry vermouth, rosso vermouth, and orange bitters, garnished with an olive ($12). Consider ordering the restaurant's juniper pickles ($4) as a snack on the side. [Photo: Krieger]

8. King Cole Bar

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2 E 55th St
New York, NY 10022
(212) 753-4500
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A tiny jewel box of a bar tucked inside the lobby of the St. Regis hotel, the King Cole Bar's claim to fame is either the Maxfield Parrish mural of Old King Cole that hangs behind the bartenders or the legend that a bartender there invented the Bloody Mary. Either way, the bar knows how to mix a cold martini. The shaken or stirred blend of Hendrick's gin, Martini Rosso vermouth, and Nonino Amaro is garnished with burnt orange peel ($25) and perfumes the whole bar when it's made. [Photo: Foursquare]

9. Maison Premiere

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298 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11249
(347) 335-0446
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An ode to the martini at the King Cole Bar, Brooklyn's most popular oyster bar makes its version table-side: A shaken mix of Old Raj gin, Dolin Dry vermouth, and orange bitters is garnished with (the best part?) as many Castelvetrano olives as you want. It's a full $5 less than the one in Manhattan at the King Cole Bar, but there's a two-drink limit. [Photo Krieger]

10. Pegu Club

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77 W Houston St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 473-7348
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There are arguably more interesting, more thoughtful things to order at Audrey Saunders' Pegu Club than a martini, so consider the one made with Earl Grey tea-infused gin. It's not a classic martini (there is sugar and and egg white in addition to the gin) but it's just the right amount of smooth. [Photo: Pegu]

11. Pravda

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281 Lafayette St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 334-5015
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It might feel wrong to order a gin martini here, so give into the pressure and consider the caviar martini, a vodka infused with cucumber and dill served with a tiny spoonful of caviar ($15). [Photo: Foursquare]

12. Russian Vodka Room

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265 W 52nd St
New York, NY 10019
(212) 307-5835
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Stay away from the flavored, colored, sweetened martinis on the list and go for the Filthy Russian, a dirty martini made with vodka and garnished with stuffed olives ($16). [Photo: Instagram]

13. Keens Steakhouse Pub

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72 W 36th St
New York, NY 10018
(212) 947-3636
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Though New York City's best steakhouses generally serve better Manhattans than martinis, Keen's does a solid job at both. Pick from among a dozen different gins and vodkas; the martini here is very dry unless otherwise specified ($14-$17). [Photo: Krieger]

14. The Campbell Apartment

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15 Vanderbilt Ave
New York, NY 10017
(212) 980-9476
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It's a sad fact that you can't get a great gin martini elsewhere in Grand Central Terminal except at The Campbell Apartment's bar. Pick your gin (or vodka) and ask for it very cold ($15). [Photo: The Campbell Apartment]

15. The Odeon

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145 W Broadway
New York, NY 10013
(212) 233-0507
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There's something beautiful about sipping on a martini ($14) at The Odeon's bar just as the sun begins to set across downtown Manhattan. It's a nice accompaniment to a half dozen Island Creek oysters or the steak tartare.

1. 21 Club

21 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

One of Midtown Manhattan's classic restaurants makes a mean martini ($17) that's best neat, and some say, with a burger. The standard is offered with Plymouth Gin or Ketel One Vodka, though diners are welcome to request the vodka or gin of their choice. [Photo: Krieger]

21 W 52nd St
New York, NY 10019

2. Angel’s Share

8 Stuyvesant St, New York, NY 10003

Though it's been around for 21 years, walking into Angel's Share still feels like a great secret. There's no martini on the menu, but when requested an extremely dry, extremely cold glass will present itself ($15). [Photo: Facebook]

8 Stuyvesant St
New York, NY 10003

3. Bemelmans Bar

35 E 76th St, New York, NY 10021

There is arguably no more elegant bar in Manhattan, and no more elegant martini. When you order a martini at the signature bar at the Carlyle Hotel, the bartender will offer you a choice of vodkas or gins, each with their own price (from $17 for Beefeater to $25 for Stolichnaya Elite). A petite ice cold glass will come filled to the rim next to a miniature carafe on ice with the remainder of your drink from the bartender's shaker. The price of each martini is the cost of the vodka or gin plus $3.75 but the live piano music, high society scene, house-made spicy cheddar crackers, fresh potato chips, and mixed nuts are free and unlimited. [Photo: Bemelmans Bar]

35 E 76th St
New York, NY 10021

4. Charlie Palmer at The Knick

6 Times Square, New York, NY 10036

One of the martini's many origin stories goes like this: In the early 1900s, John D. Rockefeller used to frequent Times Square's Knickerbocker Hotel. He always ordered his drinks from the house bartender — whose name was Martini di Arma di Taggia — and the drink he always ordered was a mixture of dry vermouth and gin. True or not, Charlie Palmer's new spot on the fourth floor of the Knick honors this legend with a house martini made from Tanqueray 10, dry vermouth, rouge vermouth, and orange and citrus bitters ($16). [Photo: The Knick/Official]

6 Times Square
New York, NY 10036

5. Clover Club

210 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

The house martini at this Cobble Hill bar known for its craft cocktails is worth a taste. Served very cold and very neat it comes made from Gordon's gin (unless otherwise requested) and starts at $12. [Photo: Krieger]

210 Smith St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

6. Fort Defiance

365 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

St. John's martini (named for the proprietor) is the house martini at what might be Red Hook's favorite modern American restaurant. It's a crisp combination of Plymouth gin, dry vermouth, and orange bitters, garnished not with an olive but with a twist ($12). The breakfast version mixes gin with Cointreau, lemon, and orange marmalade. [Photo: Instagram]

365 Van Brunt St
Brooklyn, NY 11231

7. Henry Public

329 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Henry's martini is a straightforward combination of Old Tom gin, dry vermouth, rosso vermouth, and orange bitters, garnished with an olive ($12). Consider ordering the restaurant's juniper pickles ($4) as a snack on the side. [Photo: Krieger]

329 Henry St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

8. King Cole Bar

2 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022

A tiny jewel box of a bar tucked inside the lobby of the St. Regis hotel, the King Cole Bar's claim to fame is either the Maxfield Parrish mural of Old King Cole that hangs behind the bartenders or the legend that a bartender there invented the Bloody Mary. Either way, the bar knows how to mix a cold martini. The shaken or stirred blend of Hendrick's gin, Martini Rosso vermouth, and Nonino Amaro is garnished with burnt orange peel ($25) and perfumes the whole bar when it's made. [Photo: Foursquare]

2 E 55th St
New York, NY 10022

9. Maison Premiere

298 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249

An ode to the martini at the King Cole Bar, Brooklyn's most popular oyster bar makes its version table-side: A shaken mix of Old Raj gin, Dolin Dry vermouth, and orange bitters is garnished with (the best part?) as many Castelvetrano olives as you want. It's a full $5 less than the one in Manhattan at the King Cole Bar, but there's a two-drink limit. [Photo Krieger]

298 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11249

10. Pegu Club

77 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

There are arguably more interesting, more thoughtful things to order at Audrey Saunders' Pegu Club than a martini, so consider the one made with Earl Grey tea-infused gin. It's not a classic martini (there is sugar and and egg white in addition to the gin) but it's just the right amount of smooth. [Photo: Pegu]

77 W Houston St
New York, NY 10012

11. Pravda

281 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

It might feel wrong to order a gin martini here, so give into the pressure and consider the caviar martini, a vodka infused with cucumber and dill served with a tiny spoonful of caviar ($15). [Photo: Foursquare]

281 Lafayette St
New York, NY 10012

12. Russian Vodka Room

265 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

Stay away from the flavored, colored, sweetened martinis on the list and go for the Filthy Russian, a dirty martini made with vodka and garnished with stuffed olives ($16). [Photo: Instagram]

265 W 52nd St
New York, NY 10019

13. Keens Steakhouse Pub

72 W 36th St, New York, NY 10018

Though New York City's best steakhouses generally serve better Manhattans than martinis, Keen's does a solid job at both. Pick from among a dozen different gins and vodkas; the martini here is very dry unless otherwise specified ($14-$17). [Photo: Krieger]

72 W 36th St
New York, NY 10018

14. The Campbell Apartment

15 Vanderbilt Ave, New York, NY 10017

It's a sad fact that you can't get a great gin martini elsewhere in Grand Central Terminal except at The Campbell Apartment's bar. Pick your gin (or vodka) and ask for it very cold ($15). [Photo: The Campbell Apartment]

15 Vanderbilt Ave
New York, NY 10017

15. The Odeon

145 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

There's something beautiful about sipping on a martini ($14) at The Odeon's bar just as the sun begins to set across downtown Manhattan. It's a nice accompaniment to a half dozen Island Creek oysters or the steak tartare.

145 W Broadway
New York, NY 10013

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