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A black walnut countertop doubles as a cocktail bar and sushi counter at Uchu, a restaurant on the Lower East Side. Photo by Alex Staniloff

19 Impressive Whiskey Bars in NYC

Rare bourbon and far-flung Scotch are the main draws here

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Whiskey is a global phenomenon, so it makes sense that an international destination like New York isn’t short on places to explore the spirit, whether imported from Kentucky or Japan. Specialty bars and quite a few booze-forward restaurants have libraries full of the brown stuff that would make even a Pappy Van Winkle collector envious. These are the most exciting whiskey-centric bars around NYC.

Note: This list is arranged geographically, north to south.

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Caledonia Bar

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At this cozy Scottish hideaway, grab a glass of something special, like the complex 12-year-old Glendronach or the hefty, peaty 18-year-old Highland Park. The kitchen turns out familiar fare from across the Atlantic like Scotch eggs and fish and chips. There’s an additional location on the Upper East Side.

Caledonia Bar
Caledonia Bar
Caledonia/Instagram

Bondurants

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A small neighborhood bar with big ambitions, Bondurants provides local craft beers and an extensive list of American whiskeys alongside comforting Southern-style food. The bracing cask-strength bourbons are right at home with fried green tomatoes, fries brined in IPA, and a burger laced with pimento cheese.

The Flatiron Room

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Whiskey geeks will take any excuse to dive into the epic selection of brown liquors at the retro-styled Flatiron Room, featuring more than 1,000 varieties from across the world. Most of them can be purchased by the bottle and kept at the bar for future imbibing with a group. Non-whiskey enthusiasts can partake in other spirits, live jazz shows, and hearty bar bites.

Maysville

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From the team behind Brooklyn’s dearly departed Char No. 4, Maysville’s kitchen focuses on Southern-inspired, meat-heavy dishes that complement its list of over 150 American whiskeys, all available in one- or two-ounce pours for maximum sampling. Dinner, with entrees in the upper-20’s, can be pricey, so sidle up to the marble-topped, backlit bar for brunch, including country ham benedict and biscuits and gravy — paired with plenty of the brown stuff.

Maysville
Maysville
Maysville

Highlands

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A Scottish gastropub, Highlands is more stylish than many of the pubs scattered across rural Scotland. Decorated with stag heads and animal-print wallpaper, the handsome West Village space is also a temple to whiskies both Scottish and otherwise. The full food menu bridges modern tastes and Old World traditions with dishes ranging from local burrata to haggis. At nightfall, it becomes more of a date destination, and toward midnight, a bit of a meat market.

Daddy-O

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The type of corner bar that draws West Village locals every night of the week, Daddy-O successfully strikes a balance somewhere between dive and cocktail den. In addition to the robust Scotch selection and cheap PBR cans, the food menu available until 4 a.m. includes tater tots and a notably juicy burger on a sesame seed bun made with Pat LaFrieda beef.

Angel's Share

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Angel’s Share helped put speakeasy-style bars on the map in New York, and the secret is long out — but it’s still worth the trip. Upstairs and through an unmarked door at izakaya Village Yokocho, the mood suddenly turns serene at the mixology haven. Studious bartenders create Japanese-influenced cocktails under a cherub mural, while purists dive into the long whiskey list, including a number of Asian varieties.

Angel’s Share
Angel's Share
Angel’s Share/Facebook

Death & Company

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This long, narrow, low-ceilinged bar in the East Village remains a reliable cocktail spot more than a decade after its opening. In addition to the novel libations, the menu has a concise list of standout whiskeys like the cultishly beloved Wild Turkey Rare Breed.

Death & Company
Death & Company
Death & Company

Saxon + Parole

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The clubby vibe is central to the appeal of Saxon + Parole, where groups at brunch go for the food as much as being seen. But the thoughtfully composed, if pricey at $30 on average, American dishes deliver, as does the bar headed by Maxime Belfand, which has its own whiskey brand. Certain cocktails can be batched up and housed in a personalized bottle to drink whenever.

Beer snobs delight in the rotating brews at d.b.a., but the easy-going East Village hangout has a smartly curated whiskey menu to match, full of single-malt scotches. The dog-friendly outdoor patio is an unlikely escape in the neighborhood’s tight quarters.

d.b.a.
d.b.a.
Emily S./Yelp

Root & Bone

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This Alphabet City restaurant adds a chic twist to Southern hospitality, from white-brick walls and wood chairs to elevated staples like sweet tea-brined fried chicken from chefs Jeffrey McInnis and Janine Booth. Bourbon aficionados luxuriate at the bar for the collection of over 80 whiskeys.

Root & Bone
Root & Bone
Daniel Krieger

Grand Bar & Lounge

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Grand Bar is known for its stately decor and fashionable Soho regulars chatting at the leather banquettes by the high windows. But it’s also a rare hotel bar that manages more than a simple Manhattan, with 50 American whiskeys and meticulous cocktails from Natasha David and Jeremy Oertel. There’s also a full food menu with weekend brunch.

Grand Bar & Lounge
Grand Bar & Lounge
Grand Bar & Lounge

The recently opened Uchu is split between a 10-seat omakase sushi tasting area and the even smaller eight-seat kaiseki counter, with luxurious dishes like caviar wrapped with rice in toasted nori. The latter space doubles as a whiskey bar with over 80 Japanese bottles, and a new $90 cocktail tasting menu on Sundays and Mondays features some of them.

The bar at Uchu with high blue stools Photo: Uchu

Copper & Oak

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The slightly more modest Lower East Side sibling to Brandy Library is still on the fancy end of the spectrum. Expect to find hardcore whiskey enthusiasts at the eight bar stools, barely making a dent in the hundreds of bottles available, which are lit up like works of art. Cocktails aren’t even an option here.

Copper & Oak
Copper & Oak
Copper & Oak

Brandy Library

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It’s easy to feel out of place at Brandy Library, where Tribeca locals in blazers sip rare, high-dollar spirits from snifters. But the friendly staff will happily fix a cocktail or recommend a whiskey and climb a ladder to retrieve it from the labyrinthine vertical shelves. The roomy leather chairs are ideal for nursing an after-work dram, especially with a date. The bar also hosts ticketed classes exploring various liquors and regions.

Brandy Library
Brandy Library
Jazz F./Yelp

The Whiskey Ward

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The Whiskey Ward may look like a laid-back dive, and it is, but one with an exceptional rotating whiskey selection, which can be imbibed neat, as part of a flight, or in a pickleback. The unpretentious Lower East Side watering hole doesn’t judge, whether a customer is new to whiskey or seeking out a single-barrel expression unlikely to be found anywhere else in the city.

The Whiskey Ward
The Whiskey Ward
The Whiskey Ward

The Craic

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This subterranean outpost of Manhattan’s Caledonia could be confused for any old neighborhood watering hole, except amid the high-rent environment of central Williamsburg, it’s a welcome change of pace. The relaxed atmosphere and pool table don’t necessarily signal that the Irish and Scottish pub is serving more than 100 whiskies.

The Craic
The Craic
Bill S./Yelp

Ward III

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This elegant, dimly lit Tribeca cocktail bar from the team behind Times Square’s Rum House is all about its spirits, particular hard-to-find whiskey from around the world. But the rum, gin, tequila, and mezcal selections are equally worthwhile.

Ward III
WARD III PARTS AND LABOR
Photo by Paul Wagtouicz via Ward III

Noorman's Kil

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Amid Grand Street’s row of bars in Williamsburg, Noorman’s Kil provides a counterpoint by focusing solely on whiskey. Only part of its archives of over 400 bottles is neatly displayed on shelves, and bartenders are happy to help pick one out or fix a cocktail. Gourmet grilled cheeses offer nourishment if the night gets long.

Noorman's Kil
Noorman's Kil
Noorman’s Kil

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Caledonia Bar

At this cozy Scottish hideaway, grab a glass of something special, like the complex 12-year-old Glendronach or the hefty, peaty 18-year-old Highland Park. The kitchen turns out familiar fare from across the Atlantic like Scotch eggs and fish and chips. There’s an additional location on the Upper East Side.

Caledonia Bar
Caledonia Bar
Caledonia/Instagram

Bondurants

A small neighborhood bar with big ambitions, Bondurants provides local craft beers and an extensive list of American whiskeys alongside comforting Southern-style food. The bracing cask-strength bourbons are right at home with fried green tomatoes, fries brined in IPA, and a burger laced with pimento cheese.

The Flatiron Room

Whiskey geeks will take any excuse to dive into the epic selection of brown liquors at the retro-styled Flatiron Room, featuring more than 1,000 varieties from across the world. Most of them can be purchased by the bottle and kept at the bar for future imbibing with a group. Non-whiskey enthusiasts can partake in other spirits, live jazz shows, and hearty bar bites.

Maysville

From the team behind Brooklyn’s dearly departed Char No. 4, Maysville’s kitchen focuses on Southern-inspired, meat-heavy dishes that complement its list of over 150 American whiskeys, all available in one- or two-ounce pours for maximum sampling. Dinner, with entrees in the upper-20’s, can be pricey, so sidle up to the marble-topped, backlit bar for brunch, including country ham benedict and biscuits and gravy — paired with plenty of the brown stuff.

Maysville
Maysville
Maysville

Highlands

A Scottish gastropub, Highlands is more stylish than many of the pubs scattered across rural Scotland. Decorated with stag heads and animal-print wallpaper, the handsome West Village space is also a temple to whiskies both Scottish and otherwise. The full food menu bridges modern tastes and Old World traditions with dishes ranging from local burrata to haggis. At nightfall, it becomes more of a date destination, and toward midnight, a bit of a meat market.

Daddy-O

The type of corner bar that draws West Village locals every night of the week, Daddy-O successfully strikes a balance somewhere between dive and cocktail den. In addition to the robust Scotch selection and cheap PBR cans, the food menu available until 4 a.m. includes tater tots and a notably juicy burger on a sesame seed bun made with Pat LaFrieda beef.

Angel's Share

Angel’s Share helped put speakeasy-style bars on the map in New York, and the secret is long out — but it’s still worth the trip. Upstairs and through an unmarked door at izakaya Village Yokocho, the mood suddenly turns serene at the mixology haven. Studious bartenders create Japanese-influenced cocktails under a cherub mural, while purists dive into the long whiskey list, including a number of Asian varieties.

Angel’s Share
Angel's Share
Angel’s Share/Facebook

Death & Company

This long, narrow, low-ceilinged bar in the East Village remains a reliable cocktail spot more than a decade after its opening. In addition to the novel libations, the menu has a concise list of standout whiskeys like the cultishly beloved Wild Turkey Rare Breed.

Death & Company
Death & Company
Death & Company

Saxon + Parole

The clubby vibe is central to the appeal of Saxon + Parole, where groups at brunch go for the food as much as being seen. But the thoughtfully composed, if pricey at $30 on average, American dishes deliver, as does the bar headed by Maxime Belfand, which has its own whiskey brand. Certain cocktails can be batched up and housed in a personalized bottle to drink whenever.

d.b.a.

Beer snobs delight in the rotating brews at d.b.a., but the easy-going East Village hangout has a smartly curated whiskey menu to match, full of single-malt scotches. The dog-friendly outdoor patio is an unlikely escape in the neighborhood’s tight quarters.

d.b.a.
d.b.a.
Emily S./Yelp

Root & Bone

This Alphabet City restaurant adds a chic twist to Southern hospitality, from white-brick walls and wood chairs to elevated staples like sweet tea-brined fried chicken from chefs Jeffrey McInnis and Janine Booth. Bourbon aficionados luxuriate at the bar for the collection of over 80 whiskeys.

Root & Bone
Root & Bone
Daniel Krieger

Grand Bar & Lounge

Grand Bar is known for its stately decor and fashionable Soho regulars chatting at the leather banquettes by the high windows. But it’s also a rare hotel bar that manages more than a simple Manhattan, with 50 American whiskeys and meticulous cocktails from Natasha David and Jeremy Oertel. There’s also a full food menu with weekend brunch.

Grand Bar & Lounge
Grand Bar & Lounge
Grand Bar & Lounge

Uchu

The recently opened Uchu is split between a 10-seat omakase sushi tasting area and the even smaller eight-seat kaiseki counter, with luxurious dishes like caviar wrapped with rice in toasted nori. The latter space doubles as a whiskey bar with over 80 Japanese bottles, and a new $90 cocktail tasting menu on Sundays and Mondays features some of them.

The bar at Uchu with high blue stools Photo: Uchu

Copper & Oak

The slightly more modest Lower East Side sibling to Brandy Library is still on the fancy end of the spectrum. Expect to find hardcore whiskey enthusiasts at the eight bar stools, barely making a dent in the hundreds of bottles available, which are lit up like works of art. Cocktails aren’t even an option here.

Copper & Oak
Copper & Oak
Copper & Oak

Brandy Library

It’s easy to feel out of place at Brandy Library, where Tribeca locals in blazers sip rare, high-dollar spirits from snifters. But the friendly staff will happily fix a cocktail or recommend a whiskey and climb a ladder to retrieve it from the labyrinthine vertical shelves. The roomy leather chairs are ideal for nursing an after-work dram, especially with a date. The bar also hosts ticketed classes exploring various liquors and regions.

Brandy Library
Brandy Library
Jazz F./Yelp

Related Maps

The Whiskey Ward

The Whiskey Ward may look like a laid-back dive, and it is, but one with an exceptional rotating whiskey selection, which can be imbibed neat, as part of a flight, or in a pickleback. The unpretentious Lower East Side watering hole doesn’t judge, whether a customer is new to whiskey or seeking out a single-barrel expression unlikely to be found anywhere else in the city.

The Whiskey Ward
The Whiskey Ward
The Whiskey Ward

The Craic

This subterranean outpost of Manhattan’s Caledonia could be confused for any old neighborhood watering hole, except amid the high-rent environment of central Williamsburg, it’s a welcome change of pace. The relaxed atmosphere and pool table don’t necessarily signal that the Irish and Scottish pub is serving more than 100 whiskies.

The Craic
The Craic
Bill S./Yelp

Ward III

This elegant, dimly lit Tribeca cocktail bar from the team behind Times Square’s Rum House is all about its spirits, particular hard-to-find whiskey from around the world. But the rum, gin, tequila, and mezcal selections are equally worthwhile.

Ward III
WARD III PARTS AND LABOR
Photo by Paul Wagtouicz via Ward III

Noorman's Kil

Amid Grand Street’s row of bars in Williamsburg, Noorman’s Kil provides a counterpoint by focusing solely on whiskey. Only part of its archives of over 400 bottles is neatly displayed on shelves, and bartenders are happy to help pick one out or fix a cocktail. Gourmet grilled cheeses offer nourishment if the night gets long.

Noorman's Kil
Noorman's Kil
Noorman’s Kil

Related Maps