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The exterior of a bar with lounge seating on the rooftop Charissa Fay/Nomad

New York City's Top Cocktail Bars Open Right Now

Influential and essential places that are staying open with new changes and additions during the pandemic

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New Yorkers aren’t bumping elbows with a perpetual stream of tipsy strangers as they previously did in cocktail bars. In fact, many of the establishments previously on this list have permanently closed due to the financial downturn from the pandemic, while many others have yet to reopen.

Still, not unlike the city’s restaurants, many cocktail bars have adapted to the pandemic with new business models that include a mix of to-go cocktails, outdoor drinking, and recently, a limited return to indoor dining. Despite a months-long shutdown and the new challenges of eating out, the city’s most inspired and creative mixologists have proved once again that craft cocktails are here to stay.

Below, a guide to the cocktail bars mixing top-notch drinks across the city right now, with notes on what to order and what to expect when you get there.

A number of New York restaurants have resumed outdoor and indoor dining services. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for outdoor or indoor dining, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the NY Health Department’s website. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with indoor or outdoor dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

For more New York dining recommendations, check out the new hotspots in Manhattan, Queens, and the Hamptons and our guides to brunch, food halls and Michelin-starred restaurants offering outdoor dining.

Note: This is an updated map originally published in 2015.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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The Honey Well

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A popular uptown date spot — perhaps thanks to its 1970s- era decor and chill vibe— this subterranean bar’s backyard garden is the place to be for almost gimmicky yet sophisticated drinks served out of unique containers: Honey bears, Spanish porrons, honey pots and more.

67 Orange Street

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Harkening back to the drinking culture of the Harlem Renaissance, this speakeasy style lounge currently operates as a delivery and sidewalk establishment, vending cocktail kits, shareable punches and individual drinks. The menu is structured by spirit preference, with mixologist David Libespere, who has been leading the show here for the last three years.

Dutch Kills

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Created by late cocktail visionary Sasha Petraske, Dutch Kills is still one of the top places to go for “bespoke” cocktails. Request a specialty cocktail based on liquor and taste preferences or order off the menu full of specific riffs on classic cocktails like The Quill, a Negroni with an absinthe rinse. Sidewalk seating is semi-covered and tables are distanced, and a new rule-following sandwich menu offers hefty subs to soak up the booze.

Dutch Kills’ dark and moody interior Dutch Kills [Official Photo]

The NoMad Bar

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Recently relocated to the rooftop of its namesake hotel, the new-and-improved al fresco Nomad Bar offers the same high quality cocktail, but with views. Led by fine-dining superstar Leo Robitschek — of Eleven Madison Park —Nomad bar’s opulence is part of it’s charm, but not too intimidating for cocktail newbies. Don’t be afraid to ask questions while paging through the extensive menu, and when in doubt, just trust a bartender.

The exterior of a bar with lounge seating on the rooftop Charissa Fay/Nomad

Jungle Bird

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Named for the welcome drink served at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton in the early 1970’s, founder Krissy Harris’ Southeast Asian and California influenced bar serves tropical, not tiki, cocktails, along with small bites, like dumplings and shrimp skewers. The namesake drink, shaken with pineapple infused rum, Campari, Contratto and lime is a nice place to start. Drink outdoors on the colorful sidewalk patio, or inside the velour and leather clad bar.

Katana Kitten

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Cheeky Japanese cocktail bar Katana Kitten has two settings depending on the mood: Upstairs is a more open place to sip cocktails such as the Amaretto Sour (rye, amaretto, salted plum, honey, lemon, egg white, red shiso), while the downstairs den is rowdier and more izakaya-like. In its first year on the scene, Katana Kitten made a splash, winning Spirited Award’s “best new American bar.” Now, with Covid restrictions in place, guests can also sip outside while munching on sandos, skewers, and nori fries dippable in Japanese curry sauce.

Katana Kitten has a bar to the right with stools and lights hanging above Katana Kitten [Official Photo]

The sleek, narrow craft cocktail bar is a neighborhood gathering spot as soon as it opens, with highly sought after outdoor tables.. Seasonal cocktails center around specialty spirits, house-made infusions and liqueurs, like the signature Hotel Danger which blends peach-infused mezcal with chipotle agave, Aperol, lemon and a grapefruit twist. Frozen, barrel aged and bottled cocktails are also all served to go.

The Up & Up

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Away from the noisycollege bars that swarm the Village, the Up & Up is a refreshingly sophisticated underground den. Its balance between high-end cocktails in a low-key vibe make it a favorite for the restaurant industry, and anyone just looking for a cozy space to sip on stellar drinks. The staff is friendly and jazzed to help guests decide on a beverage. A small list of snacks and exceptional lighting await, too. Due to COVID-19, the bar is now taking reservations for the first time, and takeout of all cocktails is also offered.

The Up & Up The Up & Up [Official Photo]

Angel’s Share

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This secret cocktail lounge is hidden behind a door near the entrance of Japanese restaurant Village Yokocho, a helpful partnership when Angel’s Share went takeout only in spring 2020. The Japanese restaurant’s small plates are served to-go along with complex cocktails, like the umami-forward Giant Steps, made with butter fat washed whiskey, nixta, maple, soy sauce and angostura bitters.

Angel’s Share Angel’s Share [Official Photo]

This chic cocktail establishment transformed the 100-year-old Caffe Dante circa 2015 to reinvigorate the space with a contemporary, all-day cafe and all-night drinking vibes. The signature concoction, the Garibaldi, simply mixes “fluffy” (fresh-pressed) orange juice with Campari for an all too easy to sip cocktail. Balance more liquor-forward drinks and tableside martini service for four with a few rounds of fresh handmade pasta and flatbreads.

A red cocktail over ice sits on top of a menu, listening roughly a dozen types of drinks available, mostly Negronis. A slice of orange sits atop the glass.
One of Dante’s iconic Negronis
Steve Freihon/Dante

Death & Company

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Death & Co. is a dark, warm, comfortable place to enjoy a sophisticated cocktail. The menu at this influential bar includes punches, juleps, drinks made with Spanish spirits, and plenty of whiskey-based cocktails. Reservations for indoor and outdoor drinking are accepted, as are pre-orders for takeout.

Death & Company Death & Company [Official Photo]

Amor y Amargo

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This tiny sliver of a bar is a bitters cocktail destination open since 2011 from East Village restaurateur Ravi DeRossi and renowned bartenders Sother Teague and Max Green. The menu runs from less to more bitter, ending in the 8 Amaro Sazerac, a house mix of eight amari, green chartreuse, and orange citrate. Before the bar gets back on its feet, they’re selling curated selection of bourbons, ryes, and whiskeys for pickup.

Bar Goto

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Kenta Goto opened this contemporary Lower East Side izakaya in 2015 after years of bartending at the trailblazing Pegu Club, which closed in 2020. Here, Goto has crafted a list of eye-opening cocktails highlighting Japanese flavors and spanning all tastes. The small space, and its accompanying outdoor seating, also serves great bar food: Do not sleep on the miso chicken wings or the okonomiyaki.

Hotel Delmano

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It’s not a hotel, but it does feel a bit like it could be a hotel bar from another era. The Hotel Delmano team is always coming up with new drinks, though they’re happy to make a hit from the back catalog or something that’s never been on the menu before. Fancypants cocktails don’t get much better than this, plus, an outdoor patio with street-facing wicker chairs feels très chic.

Hotel Delmano Hotel Delmano [Official Photo]

Attaboy

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Two Milk & Honey veterans, Sam Ross and Michael McIlroy, opened this cocktail lounge in their former employers’ original home.They nixed the reservations-only system but kept the practice of making bespoke cocktails. With its dim lighting and intimate vibe, this is a great place to go at the beginning or end of the night, which are also the times when it’s easiest to actually get a table. Full patio service, as well as to-go cocktails, are also an option.

Pokito Brooklyn

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Dating back to 2015, this bar proudly run by neighborhood artists excels at beautiful, seasonal cocktails with surprising twists. Ingredients like butterfly pea leaf-infused vodka and Thai chili infused tequila add an extra oomph to bottled and frozen cocktails. Tamales are served for satiating food cravings, and outdoor dining plus takeout are now available.

Sally’s

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Sally’s is the type of neighborhood bar locals may stop into for a quick sip, and then stay all night. Tropical cocktails come in small and fun size (doubles) variations, and are far too easy to drink. The aptly-named Fuhgeddaboudit mixes “all the rums” with coconut, pineapple, and just enough blue Curacao to add a fun color. Caribbean Okonomiyaki and steamed buns are also worth indulging in, as are boozy brunch and Monday movie nights in the backyard.

The Brooklyn outpost of the East Village original, and sister bar to Greenpoint’s Ramona, Elsa predates the Disney hype of the name and harkens back to the early era of New York cocktail culture. Now, patio and to-go imbibers can enjoy the signature 30-day barrel aged classic drinks, including a tequila old fashioned, as well as house specialties, like the Alt-Country stirred with spicy bourbon, sweet tea and lemon.

Grand Army

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Very strong neighborhood bar feels and even better lists of cocktails and small bites make Grand Army a destination. Cocktails range widely from slow sippers to boozy fruit punches. For snacks, Grand Army focuses on sustainable raw bar items like oysters, littleneck clams, and ceviche. Non-cocktail drinkers will find an impressive beer list with options from local breweries. Outdoor dining and takeout is available.

Grand Army Grand Army [Official Photo]

Clover Club

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Julie Reiner’s Smith Street bar works as both a casual after-work hangout and a date night destination. The menu has Champagne-based drinks, frozens, punches, fizzes, tiki cocktails, juleps, and original creations. Clover Club’s outdoor cocktail garden on Smith Street is not too loud or crowded, and offers plenty of space for sipping specialty Old Fashioneds and noshing on deviled eggs. A full brunch menu, and cocktail list, are also served.

Leyenda

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Across the street from The Clover Club, and a sister bar to the legendary spot, Ivy Mix’s Latin-inspired cocteleria offers big flavors in liquid form. Well-balanced drinks like the Brooklyn Burro (White Guyanese rum, pineapple, ginger, lime, aromatic bitters, soda), pair well with bean-stuffed pupusas or chicken mole enchiladas. Everything can be enjoyed on the patio or backyard, or toted away for takeout.

Leyenda Daniel Krieger/Eater

Bearded Lady

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Colorful, late-night Prospect Heights cocktail bar Bearded Lady comes from the makers of Crown Heights’ standout tiki bar Super Power and offers a similar drink menu of tiki takes, including a killer frozen painkiller but also original cocktails that change with the season, like a recent fermented peach one. Frozens, as well as new canned cocktails are sold from a takeout window, and cold drinks can also be enjoyed outdoors until 11 p.m. every night.

Bearded Lady Bearded Lady [Official Photo]

Hunky Dory

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Part of an ongoing wave of all-day cafes making the most of culinary talent and coveted real estate, Hunky Dory transforms into an excellent bar hours after equally excellent breakfasts and lunches are served. $15 cocktails include gratuity and tax, and are served through a window or for outdoor enjoyment. Owner Claire Sprouse’s creations are fondly wacky riffs on the classics, like the Pimms Cup with homemade pimms and “fun fruits” and a Mangoni stirred with mango brandy and sweet vermouth.

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The Honey Well

A popular uptown date spot — perhaps thanks to its 1970s- era decor and chill vibe— this subterranean bar’s backyard garden is the place to be for almost gimmicky yet sophisticated drinks served out of unique containers: Honey bears, Spanish porrons, honey pots and more.

67 Orange Street

Harkening back to the drinking culture of the Harlem Renaissance, this speakeasy style lounge currently operates as a delivery and sidewalk establishment, vending cocktail kits, shareable punches and individual drinks. The menu is structured by spirit preference, with mixologist David Libespere, who has been leading the show here for the last three years.

Dutch Kills

Dutch Kills’ dark and moody interior Dutch Kills [Official Photo]

Created by late cocktail visionary Sasha Petraske, Dutch Kills is still one of the top places to go for “bespoke” cocktails. Request a specialty cocktail based on liquor and taste preferences or order off the menu full of specific riffs on classic cocktails like The Quill, a Negroni with an absinthe rinse. Sidewalk seating is semi-covered and tables are distanced, and a new rule-following sandwich menu offers hefty subs to soak up the booze.

Dutch Kills’ dark and moody interior Dutch Kills [Official Photo]

The NoMad Bar

The exterior of a bar with lounge seating on the rooftop Charissa Fay/Nomad

Recently relocated to the rooftop of its namesake hotel, the new-and-improved al fresco Nomad Bar offers the same high quality cocktail, but with views. Led by fine-dining superstar Leo Robitschek — of Eleven Madison Park —Nomad bar’s opulence is part of it’s charm, but not too intimidating for cocktail newbies. Don’t be afraid to ask questions while paging through the extensive menu, and when in doubt, just trust a bartender.

The exterior of a bar with lounge seating on the rooftop Charissa Fay/Nomad

Jungle Bird

Named for the welcome drink served at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton in the early 1970’s, founder Krissy Harris’ Southeast Asian and California influenced bar serves tropical, not tiki, cocktails, along with small bites, like dumplings and shrimp skewers. The namesake drink, shaken with pineapple infused rum, Campari, Contratto and lime is a nice place to start. Drink outdoors on the colorful sidewalk patio, or inside the velour and leather clad bar.

Katana Kitten

Katana Kitten has a bar to the right with stools and lights hanging above Katana Kitten [Official Photo]

Cheeky Japanese cocktail bar Katana Kitten has two settings depending on the mood: Upstairs is a more open place to sip cocktails such as the Amaretto Sour (rye, amaretto, salted plum, honey, lemon, egg white, red shiso), while the downstairs den is rowdier and more izakaya-like. In its first year on the scene, Katana Kitten made a splash, winning Spirited Award’s “best new American bar.” Now, with Covid restrictions in place, guests can also sip outside while munching on sandos, skewers, and nori fries dippable in Japanese curry sauce.

Katana Kitten has a bar to the right with stools and lights hanging above Katana Kitten [Official Photo]

Ramona

The sleek, narrow craft cocktail bar is a neighborhood gathering spot as soon as it opens, with highly sought after outdoor tables.. Seasonal cocktails center around specialty spirits, house-made infusions and liqueurs, like the signature Hotel Danger which blends peach-infused mezcal with chipotle agave, Aperol, lemon and a grapefruit twist. Frozen, barrel aged and bottled cocktails are also all served to go.

The Up & Up

The Up & Up The Up & Up [Official Photo]

Away from the noisycollege bars that swarm the Village, the Up & Up is a refreshingly sophisticated underground den. Its balance between high-end cocktails in a low-key vibe make it a favorite for the restaurant industry, and anyone just looking for a cozy space to sip on stellar drinks. The staff is friendly and jazzed to help guests decide on a beverage. A small list of snacks and exceptional lighting await, too. Due to COVID-19, the bar is now taking reservations for the first time, and takeout of all cocktails is also offered.

The Up & Up The Up & Up [Official Photo]

Angel’s Share

Angel’s Share Angel’s Share [Official Photo]

This secret cocktail lounge is hidden behind a door near the entrance of Japanese restaurant Village Yokocho, a helpful partnership when Angel’s Share went takeout only in spring 2020. The Japanese restaurant’s small plates are served to-go along with complex cocktails, like the umami-forward Giant Steps, made with butter fat washed whiskey, nixta, maple, soy sauce and angostura bitters.

Angel’s Share Angel’s Share [Official Photo]

Dante

A red cocktail over ice sits on top of a menu, listening roughly a dozen types of drinks available, mostly Negronis. A slice of orange sits atop the glass.
One of Dante’s iconic Negronis
Steve Freihon/Dante

This chic cocktail establishment transformed the 100-year-old Caffe Dante circa 2015 to reinvigorate the space with a contemporary, all-day cafe and all-night drinking vibes. The signature concoction, the Garibaldi, simply mixes “fluffy” (fresh-pressed) orange juice with Campari for an all too easy to sip cocktail. Balance more liquor-forward drinks and tableside martini service for four with a few rounds of fresh handmade pasta and flatbreads.

A red cocktail over ice sits on top of a menu, listening roughly a dozen types of drinks available, mostly Negronis. A slice of orange sits atop the glass.
One of Dante’s iconic Negronis
Steve Freihon/Dante

Death & Company

Death & Company Death & Company [Official Photo]

Death & Co. is a dark, warm, comfortable place to enjoy a sophisticated cocktail. The menu at this influential bar includes punches, juleps, drinks made with Spanish spirits, and plenty of whiskey-based cocktails. Reservations for indoor and outdoor drinking are accepted, as are pre-orders for takeout.

Death & Company Death & Company [Official Photo]

Amor y Amargo

This tiny sliver of a bar is a bitters cocktail destination open since 2011 from East Village restaurateur Ravi DeRossi and renowned bartenders Sother Teague and Max Green. The menu runs from less to more bitter, ending in the 8 Amaro Sazerac, a house mix of eight amari, green chartreuse, and orange citrate. Before the bar gets back on its feet, they’re selling curated selection of bourbons, ryes, and whiskeys for pickup.

Bar Goto

Kenta Goto opened this contemporary Lower East Side izakaya in 2015 after years of bartending at the trailblazing Pegu Club, which closed in 2020. Here, Goto has crafted a list of eye-opening cocktails highlighting Japanese flavors and spanning all tastes. The small space, and its accompanying outdoor seating, also serves great bar food: Do not sleep on the miso chicken wings or the okonomiyaki.

Hotel Delmano

Hotel Delmano Hotel Delmano [Official Photo]

It’s not a hotel, but it does feel a bit like it could be a hotel bar from another era. The Hotel Delmano team is always coming up with new drinks, though they’re happy to make a hit from the back catalog or something that’s never been on the menu before. Fancypants cocktails don’t get much better than this, plus, an outdoor patio with street-facing wicker chairs feels très chic.