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A wide-mouthed glass sits on a wooden table filled with orange-tinged liquid and a slice of orange. The top of the glass is set on fire with a small blue flame.
The Willy’s 50/50 at Philomena’s.
Kevin Lapsley/Philomena’s

NYC’s Hottest Cocktail Bars, September 2021

A 1970s-themed bar and the first legal whiskey distillery in Manhattan since the Prohibition Era join the list this month

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The Willy’s 50/50 at Philomena’s.
| Kevin Lapsley/Philomena’s

Welcome to the Cocktail Heatmap, a guide to the hottest drinking dens of the moment across New York City. It’s worth noting that a lot has changed in the past year. Takeout cocktails made a brief, but beautiful, appearance in New York City, and neighborhood bars added, then jettisoned, Cuomo chips from their menus to keep pace with shifting guidelines. As more establishments across the city inch back toward “normal,” check out this list of the hottest newly opened cocktail bars right now.

Added to the list in September: Bandits (a rowdy, 1970s-themed bar in the West Village); Great Jones Distilling Co. (the first legal whiskey distillery to open in Manhattan since Prohibition); Philomena’s (a bar with a fancy ice program); and Overstory (a sky-high lounge 63 floors above Crown Shy).

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. La Noxe

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315 7th Ave
New York, NY 10001
(917) 477-3103
Visit Website

A true speakeasy is often hidden away and is one of those spots where customers can get in because they know somebody that knows somebody. None of that air of exclusivity exists for La Noxe, which is located in a subway station at 28th Street in Chelsea, and went viral on TikTok during the pandemic. Even Jimmy Kimmel mentioned it on his show. The waiting list has been impossibly long ever since, but for guests who can nab a reservation, there’s a tightly curated drink menu including skin contact wines and house cocktails.

2. The Lab at Patent Pending

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49 W 27th St
New York, NY 10001
(212) 689-4002
Visit Website

Patent Pending feels like a true speakeasy (customers have to enter through a coffee shop), but to find the Lab at Patent Pending and its craft cocktail menu, it’s even more of an adventure. The private area within this Flatiron spot has five bar seats, a banquette for 10, and another lounge for about another dozen guests — a perfect nook for those still sticking to their pod.

3. Cubbyhole

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281 W 12th St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 243-9041

One of the few lesbian-owned bars in NYC reopened earlier this year and also introduced a more formal outdoor seating arrangement. This tiny watering hole isn’t known for craft cocktails or esoteric craft brews, but fans of Cubbyhole go here for the fun and inclusive vibe that goes beyond the LGBTQ+ community.

A green-painted exterior of a bar with red and white umbrellas unfurled over tables outside. A green plywood patio sits on the cobblestone street next to the bar entrance.
Cubbyhole now has outdoor seating.
Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner/Eater NY

4. Mace

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35 W 8th St
New York, NY 10011

Nico de Soto’s Mace was a mainstay in the East Village before the pandemic and while it did stay open as a roving pop-up during parts of the past year, the award-winning bar now has a new permanent home in Greenwich Village. Fans of Mace are already flocking to the bar, which has indoor and outdoor seating, for travel-themed menu: a frozen slushie incorporating wasabi and cilantro (a nod to Miami Vice), a black sesame cocktail with roots in Peru, and even an eye-catching ube drink.

A purple cocktail filled with pebble ice and topped with a green garnish sits on a wooden table with a black and white checkered chair visible in the background.
An ube cocktail from Mace.
John Shyloski/Mace

5. Bandits

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44 Bedford St
New York, NY 10014
(917) 261-6447
Visit Website

A ‘70’s-themed diner collides with highbrow cocktail-making at stylish West Village newcomer Bandits. Grab a seat at one of the bar’s brown leather stools situated underneath a golden disco ball affixed to the ceiling, and ease into cocktails like Bradshaw on Bedford, a frothy pink drink made with rhubarb, rose petal, and sun dried tomato; and the Smokey Cokey, featuring rum and fernet mixed with a Coca-Cola reduction. Pair the drinks with plates of hot and crispy tots and tuna melts.

The inside of a diner with wood paneled walls and a bar, black and white checkered floor, and dark brown leather booths with white tables.
Inside Bandits.
Front of House/Bandits

6. Great Jones Distilling Co

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686 Broadway
New York, NY 10012
(332) 910-9880
Visit Website

Great Jones’s claim to fame is that it’s the first legal whiskey distillery to open in Manhattan since the Prohibition Era, and it went all-out for the honors. Located in Noho, the sprawling, shiny four-story space encompasses multiple bars — including a cellar speakeasy — that are stocked with a wide range of whiskey cocktails. Later this year, the distillery is set to launch a restaurant led by a Per Se alum.

A indoor room with a spiral staircase and dark wooden floor-to-ceiling shelves showcasing bottles of whiskey.
Great Jones Distillery is a 28,000-square-foot space spanning four floors.
Great Jones Distillery Co.

7. Pineapple Club

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509 E 6th St
New York, NY 10009
(212) 697-8600
Visit Website

The Pineapple Club offers a slice of the tropical getaway that’s been off limits for most people during the past year. Mezcal ginger margaritas, pina coladas, and coconut mai tais are just a few of the libations served in this bi-level space filled with pineapple-adorned wallpaper and plants.

An orange cocktail garnished with orangle slices and a paper straw set on a dark table with decorative light brown streaks.
Tropical drinks are the specialty at Pineapple Club.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

8. Etérea

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511 E 5th St
New York, NY 10009

Ravi DeRossi continues his East Village tear this tequila and mezcal bar specializing in vegan Mexican cooking. The bar is the latest in a string of East Village openings from the prolific restaurateur, who also unveiled vegan soul food restaurant Cadence during the pandemic.

A glass tumbler filled with pink liquid sits on a teal blue napkin with a vintage perfume bottle in the background. Eric Medsker/Etérea

9. The Bar at Veranda

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23 Grand St
New York, NY 10013
(212) 201-9117
Visit Website

Next door to chef George Mendes new restaurant, located inside the ModernHaus hotel, is the Bar at Veranda. This sleek space features a stunning marble-top bar, a terrace, and plenty of plush seats. Johnny Swet created the cocktails, which range from twists on classics like the charred shishito margarita (complete with wasabi syrup and togarashi salt) to the Drink Pink, with pink gin, strawberry, and rhubarb bitters. Mendes’s bar snack menu includes vadouvan-spiced popcorn and his signature Portuguese items such as salt cod croquettes.

A backlit bar with dark stools arranged around a curving light counter.
The Bar at Veranda.
Matthew Pastula/The Bar at Veranda

10. Double Chicken Please

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115 Allen St
New York, NY 10002
(646) 678-5452
Visit Website

GN Chan and Faye Chen traveled around the country in a Volkswagen minivan before finally opening their long-awaited Lower East Side bar. It was well worth the wait. Their balanced cocktails are full of unexpected ingredients like fennel, winter melon, and a variety of different teas, including oolong and lapsang souchong. The hot honey fried chicken sandwich is also not to be missed.

A lone orange cocktail sits on the counter of a bar, overflowing with ice but not liquid. In the background, a row of taps is visible.
There are a number of cocktails on tap at Double Chicken Please.
Sahid Limon/Double Chicken Please

11. Philomena's

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790 Grand St
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Philomena’s — from the team behind the Late Late and Hotel Chantelle — debuted in East Williamsburg in August with a focus on infused, intricately carved ice cubes as the centerpiece of each cocktail. Case in point: The bar’s signature drink involves a pink, watermelon-rosé infused ice cube cut in the shape of a rose and dropped in a glass filled with prosecco. The cocktails are paired with a light spread of bar snacks, including hummus, duck liver mousse, and bottarga onion dip.

A coupe glass filled with yellow prosecco and a pink rose ice cube sits on a dark table with green plants in the background and a small white candle to the right of the drink.
Philomena’s signature cocktail.
Kevin Lapsley/Philomena’s

12. Runaway BK

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321 Starr St
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(929) 480-8969
Visit Website

Outdoor spaces have been the most in-demand feature of bars during the pandemic, so it’s no surprise this Bushwick rooftop has been popular since opening in August. The laidback theme here extends to the fun cocktail menu, which includes favorites like the Mountain Lady, a hibiscus gin and rhubarb concoction topped with mint syrup, lime, tonic, and sprig of rosemary.

13. Overstory

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70 Pine Street Ground Floor
New York, NY 10005
(212) 517-1932
Visit Website

James Kent and Jeff Katz of Crown Shy acclaim recently opened the doors on Saga, their highly anticipated second restaurant on the 63rd floor of the same building. For some of the same glam at a fraction of the price, head to this upstairs cocktail bar with views of downtown Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge, and New Yorkers dining on a $245 tasting menu below. The cocktails come from beverage director Harrison Ginsberg, who also handles the drinks at the team’s other restaurants. At $24 apiece, be warned that part of what you’re paying for is the view.

A cocktail in an angled glass rests on a brass countertop with an engraved piece of ice and a brown honeycomb
The terroir old fashioned, made with tequila.
Overstory

14. Sally’s

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151 Tompkins Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11206

From the hit Bushwick jerk chicken and tropical drink destination Sally’s Roots comes the new-ish Bed-Stuy bar Sally’s. The cozy, corner bar is similarly tropical, and a large number of cocktails here have some combination of rum, pineapple juice, and lime. All the cocktails here are priced in both small and “fun-size” quantities, and the food is playful mix of Caribbean and Asian flavors, evident in dishes like the pulled pork steamed buns, the curry crab rangoon, and the curried vegetable bowl.

A tall cocktail made with coffee, milk, and lots of ice stands against a white backdrop. Sally Roots

15. Bar Meridian

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406 Prospect Pl
Brooklyn, NY 11238
(347) 295-0185
Visit Website

This low-key spot calls itself a “modern corner bar for all of us.” During the day, it’s not unusual to find guests sipping cocktails with their dogs hanging out, and at night, for those choosing to sit indoors, there’s a gently lit room anchored by a horseshoe-shaped bar and vintage jukebox. A solid bar menu, which includes tomato pie and sardines on milk bread, complements a wine menu full of natty options, craft brews, and cocktails.

16. Oldies

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946 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11232

The team behind one of New York City’s oldest and most beloved modern speakeasies, Angel’s Share, has opened a casual Japanese cocktail bar in Sunset Park’s Industry City. Oldies focuses on drinks with freshly squeezed fruit — strawberry, pineapple, yuzu, and persimmon — mixed with whisky and some honey, as well as Japanese highballs made with whisky and carbonated water. Food includes Japanese-style fried chicken and corn tempura in the light-filled, 12-seat space with plenty of standing room.

A photo of a bar with green bar seats, a wooden bar counter, and a wooden cabinet in the back that holds all the liquor. Natalie Sarpi/Industry City

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1. La Noxe

315 7th Ave, New York, NY 10001

A true speakeasy is often hidden away and is one of those spots where customers can get in because they know somebody that knows somebody. None of that air of exclusivity exists for La Noxe, which is located in a subway station at 28th Street in Chelsea, and went viral on TikTok during the pandemic. Even Jimmy Kimmel mentioned it on his show. The waiting list has been impossibly long ever since, but for guests who can nab a reservation, there’s a tightly curated drink menu including skin contact wines and house cocktails.

315 7th Ave
New York, NY 10001

2. The Lab at Patent Pending

49 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001

Patent Pending feels like a true speakeasy (customers have to enter through a coffee shop), but to find the Lab at Patent Pending and its craft cocktail menu, it’s even more of an adventure. The private area within this Flatiron spot has five bar seats, a banquette for 10, and another lounge for about another dozen guests — a perfect nook for those still sticking to their pod.

49 W 27th St
New York, NY 10001

3. Cubbyhole

281 W 12th St, New York, NY 10014
A green-painted exterior of a bar with red and white umbrellas unfurled over tables outside. A green plywood patio sits on the cobblestone street next to the bar entrance.
Cubbyhole now has outdoor seating.
Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner/Eater NY

One of the few lesbian-owned bars in NYC reopened earlier this year and also introduced a more formal outdoor seating arrangement. This tiny watering hole isn’t known for craft cocktails or esoteric craft brews, but fans of Cubbyhole go here for the fun and inclusive vibe that goes beyond the LGBTQ+ community.

281 W 12th St
New York, NY 10014

4. Mace

35 W 8th St, New York, NY 10011
A purple cocktail filled with pebble ice and topped with a green garnish sits on a wooden table with a black and white checkered chair visible in the background.
An ube cocktail from Mace.
John Shyloski/Mace

Nico de Soto’s Mace was a mainstay in the East Village before the pandemic and while it did stay open as a roving pop-up during parts of the past year, the award-winning bar now has a new permanent home in Greenwich Village. Fans of Mace are already flocking to the bar, which has indoor and outdoor seating, for travel-themed menu: a frozen slushie incorporating wasabi and cilantro (a nod to Miami Vice), a black sesame cocktail with roots in Peru, and even an eye-catching ube drink.

35 W 8th St
New York, NY 10011

5. Bandits

44 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014
The inside of a diner with wood paneled walls and a bar, black and white checkered floor, and dark brown leather booths with white tables.
Inside Bandits.
Front of House/Bandits

A ‘70’s-themed diner collides with highbrow cocktail-making at stylish West Village newcomer Bandits. Grab a seat at one of the bar’s brown leather stools situated underneath a golden disco ball affixed to the ceiling, and ease into cocktails like Bradshaw on Bedford, a frothy pink drink made with rhubarb, rose petal, and sun dried tomato; and the Smokey Cokey, featuring rum and fernet mixed with a Coca-Cola reduction. Pair the drinks with plates of hot and crispy tots and tuna melts.

44 Bedford St
New York, NY 10014

6. Great Jones Distilling Co

686 Broadway, New York, NY 10012
A indoor room with a spiral staircase and dark wooden floor-to-ceiling shelves showcasing bottles of whiskey.
Great Jones Distillery is a 28,000-square-foot space spanning four floors.
Great Jones Distillery Co.

Great Jones’s claim to fame is that it’s the first legal whiskey distillery to open in Manhattan since the Prohibition Era, and it went all-out for the honors. Located in Noho, the sprawling, shiny four-story space encompasses multiple bars — including a cellar speakeasy — that are stocked with a wide range of whiskey cocktails. Later this year, the distillery is set to launch a restaurant led by a Per Se alum.

686 Broadway
New York, NY 10012

7. Pineapple Club

509 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009
An orange cocktail garnished with orangle slices and a paper straw set on a dark table with decorative light brown streaks.
Tropical drinks are the specialty at Pineapple Club.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

The Pineapple Club offers a slice of the tropical getaway that’s been off limits for most people during the past year. Mezcal ginger margaritas, pina coladas, and coconut mai tais are just a few of the libations served in this bi-level space filled with pineapple-adorned wallpaper and plants.

509 E 6th St
New York, NY 10009

8. Etérea

511 E 5th St, New York, NY 10009
A glass tumbler filled with pink liquid sits on a teal blue napkin with a vintage perfume bottle in the background. Eric Medsker/Etérea

Ravi DeRossi continues his East Village tear this tequila and mezcal bar specializing in vegan Mexican cooking. The bar is the latest in a string of East Village openings from the prolific restaurateur, who also unveiled vegan soul food restaurant Cadence during the pandemic.

511 E 5th St
New York, NY 10009

9. The Bar at Veranda

23 Grand St, New York, NY 10013
A backlit bar with dark stools arranged around a curving light counter.
The Bar at Veranda.
Matthew Pastula/The Bar at Veranda

Next door to chef George Mendes new restaurant, located inside the ModernHaus hotel, is the Bar at Veranda. This sleek space features a stunning marble-top bar, a terrace, and plenty of plush seats. Johnny Swet created the cocktails, which range from twists on classics like the charred shishito margarita (complete with wasabi syrup and togarashi salt) to the Drink Pink, with pink gin, strawberry, and rhubarb bitters. Mendes’s bar snack menu includes vadouvan-spiced popcorn and his signature Portuguese items such as salt cod croquettes.

23 Grand St
New York, NY 10013

10. Double Chicken Please

115 Allen St, New York, NY 10002
A lone orange cocktail sits on the counter of a bar, overflowing with ice but not liquid. In the background, a row of taps is visible.
There are a number of cocktails on tap at Double Chicken Please.
Sahid Limon/Double Chicken Please

GN Chan and Faye Chen traveled around the country in a Volkswagen minivan before finally opening their long-awaited Lower East Side bar. It was well worth the wait. Their balanced cocktails are full of unexpected ingredients like fennel, winter melon, and a variety of different teas, including oolong and lapsang souchong. The hot honey fried chicken sandwich is also not to be missed.

115 Allen St
New York, NY 10002

11. Philomena's

790 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
A coupe glass filled with yellow prosecco and a pink rose ice cube sits on a dark table with green plants in the background and a small white candle to the right of the drink.
Philomena’s signature cocktail.
Kevin Lapsley/Philomena’s

Philomena’s — from the team behind the Late Late and Hotel Chantelle — debuted in East Williamsburg in August with a focus on infused, intricately carved ice cubes as the centerpiece of each cocktail. Case in point: The bar’s signature drink involves a pink, watermelon-rosé infused ice cube cut in the shape of a rose and dropped in a glass filled with prosecco. The cocktails are paired with a light spread of bar snacks, including hummus, duck liver mousse, and bottarga onion dip.

790 Grand St
Brooklyn, NY 11211

12. Runaway BK

321 Starr St, Brooklyn, NY 11237

Outdoor spaces have been the most in-demand feature of bars during the pandemic, so it’s no surprise this Bushwick rooftop has been popular since opening in August. The laidback theme here extends to the fun cocktail menu, which includes favorites like the Mountain Lady, a hibiscus gin and rhubarb concoction topped with mint syrup, lime, tonic, and sprig of rosemary.

321 Starr St
Brooklyn, NY 11237

13. Overstory

70 Pine Street Ground Floor, New York, NY 10005
A cocktail in an angled glass rests on a brass countertop with an engraved piece of ice and a brown honeycomb
The terroir old fashioned, made with tequila.
Overstory

James Kent and Jeff Katz of Crown Shy acclaim recently opened the doors on Saga, their highly anticipated second restaurant on the 63rd floor of the same building. For some of the same glam at a fraction of the price, head to this upstairs cocktail bar with views of downtown Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge, and New Yorkers dining on a $245 tasting menu below. The cocktails come from beverage director Harrison Ginsberg, who also handles the drinks at the team’s other restaurants. At $24 apiece, be warned that part of what you’re paying for is the view.

70 Pine Street Ground Floor
New York, NY 10005

14. Sally’s

151 Tompkins Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11206
A tall cocktail made with coffee, milk, and lots of ice stands against a white backdrop. Sally Roots

From the hit Bushwick jerk chicken and tropical drink destination Sally’s Roots comes the new-ish Bed-Stuy bar Sally’s. The cozy, corner bar is similarly tropical, and a large number of cocktails here have some combination of rum, pineapple juice, and lime. All the cocktails here are priced in both small and “fun-size” quantities, and the food is playful mix of Caribbean and Asian flavors, evident in dishes like the pulled pork steamed buns, the curry crab rangoon, and the curried vegetable bowl.

151 Tompkins Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11206

15. Bar Meridian

406 Prospect Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11238

This low-key spot calls itself a “modern corner bar for all of us.” During the day, it’s not unusual to find guests sipping cocktails with their dogs hanging out, and at night, for those choosing to sit indoors, there’s a gently lit room anchored by a horseshoe-shaped bar and vintage jukebox. A solid bar menu, which includes tomato pie and sardines on milk bread, complements a wine menu full of natty options, craft brews, and cocktails.

406 Prospect Pl
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Related Maps

16. Oldies

946 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11232
A photo of a bar with green bar seats, a wooden bar counter, and a wooden cabinet in the back that holds all the liquor. Natalie Sarpi/Industry City

The team behind one of New York City’s oldest and most beloved modern speakeasies, Angel’s Share, has opened a casual Japanese cocktail bar in Sunset Park’s Industry City. Oldies focuses on drinks with freshly squeezed fruit — strawberry, pineapple, yuzu, and persimmon — mixed with whisky and some honey, as well as Japanese highballs made with whisky and carbonated water. Food includes Japanese-style fried chicken and corn tempura in the light-filled, 12-seat space with plenty of standing room.

946 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11232

Related Maps