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Green lamps stationed at every table in the pink and velvet bar room.
The East Village’s new HiLot comes from the team behind neighboring ’70s-themed bar Joyface.
Rachel Robshaw/HiLot

NYC’s Hottest New Cocktail Bars, December 2022

A cocktail bar with extensive aperitivo options and a 1970s-themed bar with a mirrored ceiling are on this month’s list

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The East Village’s new HiLot comes from the team behind neighboring ’70s-themed bar Joyface.
| Rachel Robshaw/HiLot

Welcome to the Cocktail Heatmap, a guide to the hottest places to grab a dirty martini — okay fine, a Dirty Shirley — in New York City right now. After subsisting on takeout drinks served from plastic cups for the first year of the pandemic, the city’s cocktail bars are back in full swing, reinventing classics and cashing in on nostalgia.

New to the list in December: Bar Americano, a cocktail bar with an extensive aperitivi list, and HiLot, a 1970s-themed bar with a mirrored ceiling.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Pebble Bar

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Pebble Bar, which sits in a historic four-story townhouse, is the leading cocktail destination in the newly-revamped Rockefeller Center. A team of nightlife veterans, and some celebrity investors, have transformed what was an Irish bar into a see-and-be-seen spot. It’s Rockefeller Center, so this bar still mainly services tourists and some after-work finance bros. But it’s certainly the coolest option before or after dining at one of the area’s new restaurants like Le Rock, from the Frenchette team, or Jupiter, from folks at King.

A tropical cocktail with crushed ice and mint leaves in a tall glass at Pebble Bar.
The Limelight cocktail at Pebble Bar.
Max Flatow/Pebble Bar

Nubeluz

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Following the opening of Zaytinya earlier this year, restaurateur José Andrés debuted Nubeluz, a rooftop bar at the Ritz-Carlton in Nomad. Cocktails like the Foggy Hill, made with mezcal, vermouth, Cynar, Aperol, and an orange-thyme “aromatic cloud” pair with sky-high views and caviar service.

The Manhattan skyline is visible from a cocktail bar with velvet chairs and booths.
Nubeluz sits on the 50th floor of the Ritz Carlton Nomad.
Bjorn Wallander/Nubeluz

Discolo

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Discolo is the latest in a series of openings planned for this Chelsea address, which was once home to the upscale Italian restaurant Del Posto. Mel’s the pizzeria came first, followed by Al Coro, the Italian tasting menu spot helmed by chef Melissa Rodriguez. This underground cocktail bar with a light-up ceiling that syncs to music is bringing up the rear. Fun riffs on classic cocktails include an appletini with champagne, a mezcal negroni with pear.

A bartender pours a red mixer into a stainless steel container.
The ceiling syncs to music at Discolo.
Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet/Eater NY

Martiny’s

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New Yorkers mourned the closing of Angel’s Share in the East Village, but for cocktail enthusiasts, the same exacting standards of a Japanese bar — crystal-clear ice, balanced cocktails, and detail-oriented service — live on at Martiny’s. Takuma Watanabe, the head bartender at Angel’s Share for eight years, has converted a historic carriage house in Gramercy into his own establishment spanning three floors. Martinis are the specialty at this cozy spot, but Watanabe also has a collection of rare Japanese whiskies.

A low ball glass with a green matcha cocktail.
A matcha cocktail at Martiny’s.
Melanie Landsman/Eater NY

Bar Americano

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Did Greenpoint need another bar serving apertivo? Probably not. But the new spot, located at the street level of a landmarked apartment building, has apertivo aplenty and neighborhood charm. Saddle up to the rounded bar, and stop by for cocktails, wine, and beer, alongside several non-alcoholic apertivo options. Snacks include Mallorcan bread with tomato, croquettes with sofrito, and burrata with lavender.

A rounded bar with a wall of liquor.
Bar Americano’s golden glow is ideal for a date.
Bar Americano

11 Tigers

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The Pouring Ribbons-sized hole left in the East Village earlier this year has now been filled by 11 Tigers, a Thai and Japanese bar taking over the same space. The newcomer describes itself as a cross between a Japanese izakaya and a Thai sum ya dong, or roadside stall. Several of the cocktails are mixed with the bar’s ya dong, a gin steeped with 11 different types of herbs, including star anise and lemongrass. There’s also an extensive dinner menu with tom yum ramen, squid ink fettuccine bathed in curry, and plenty more.

The Nines

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Restaurateur Jon Neidich — who’s also behind Brooklyn hits like Le Crocodile and Deux Chats — opened this bar draped in corduroy, above the popular nightlife spot Acme. There’s often live music, and the room is great for people-watching: Many patrons dress as though they work in fashion, and their outfits often live up to the restaurant’s name. The menu is all about classic cocktails, but the food, from a Saxon & Parole alum, is just as luxurious as the space: caviar on a baked potato, gnudi with truffles, and a burger slathered in black garlic.

A table with white plates of food (including baked potatoes, blinis, bagels, and burgers) and cocktails.
A spread of cocktails and food at the Nines.
Liz Clayman/The Nines

Milady's

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The Soho dive bar that closed in 2014 has been revived by Julie Reiner of Leyenda and Clover Club, where a Big Apple Martini and fancy gelatin shots are on the menu, side-by-side with a shot and a beer. There’s a food menu that’s equally as polarized, with chilled lobster tails as well as chicken tenders and loaded potato skins.

Blue pineapple-shaped jelly shots are presented in clam shells.
Gelatin shot called jigglers at Milady’s in Soho.
Shannon Sturgis/Milady’s

Plenty of bars call themselves speakeasies without actually delivering on that theme, but to its credit, PS is found behind a wall that otherwise looks like a shelf lined with chocolates. The spot led by an all-women team is located inside Pine & Polk, a provisions shop that opened in May. If you can get past the arduously long menu names, like the “Science Behind the Smell of Books,” there are lots of interesting ingredients to explore here.

A clear glass of tea with alcohol infusion set on a white plate.
A tea-infused cocktail at PS.
Ashley Sears

Eavesdrop

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High-end audio equipment and fancy, acoustic paneling set this cocktail bar apart from the many neighborhood bars in this stretch of Brooklyn. Eavesdrop opened earlier this year, bringing a cocktail lounge and “listening bar” (think: vinyl records and live DJs playing from a custom speaker system) to Greenpoint. The team is going for a laid-back, living room-like atmosphere with light wood walls.

A wood paneled room is filled with records and small tables with black barstools.
Inside Eavesdrop, a cocktail lounge and “listening” bar in Greenpoint.
Peter Fisher/Eavesdrop

The East Village’s newest cocktail bar comes from the owners of Joyface, a ’70s-themed bar next door that can feel like a club on weekends. At HiLot, the vibe is more reined in, but only slightly. Cocktails start at around $20 each, with names like “the OnlyFans,” and tables can be reserved on Tock ahead of time. (The bar claims to accept walk-ins, but really, it’s worth making a reservation.) While Joyface has come to be known for its waterbed, at HiLot, find sexy design touches like a mirrored ceiling and clawfoot tub in its bathroom.

A 1970s-themed booth.
HiLot is dripping in vibes.
Rachel Robshaw/HiLot

Wiggle Room

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At Wiggle Room — from the team behind hot spots like Mister Paradise and Pretty Ricky’s — find riffs on classic cocktails. The Vesper martini, known for its potent mix of gin and vodka, is reborn as the Wiggle ’Tini and gets a touch of cherry blossom. For espresso martini lovers, their version, which they have on tap, is made from vodka, cacao rum, and cold brew. Any of these drinks are liable to lead to a night out, as the first floor is set up for dancing with a rotating lineup of DJs.

A highball glass with a fizzy cocktail and several ice cubes on a black-and-white table.
A highball from Wiggle Room.
Jenna Murray/Spilled Milk Creative

Holywater

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This underground spot with a nautical theme comes from brothers Alex and Miles Pincus, known for their Manhattan boat bars Grand Banks and Pilot. Under a hanging hammerhead shark and bronze mermaids, sip classic cocktails divided into two categories: New Orleans, where the brothers are from, and New York City. A food menu lists seafood dishes like trout roe tater tots, charbroiled salmon collars, and towers of shellfish.

A orange colored cocktail in a highball glass with garnishes of mint, orange wedges, and a cherry with a metal straw sticking out. The cocktail is set on a wooden table with a book, two votives, and a candle in the background.
The Mezcal Hurricane at Holywater.
Holywater

Swan Room

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The swanky cocktail lounge adjacent to Ignacio Mattos’s Corner Bar is a fine place to grab a martini and a shrimp cocktail, oysters Rockefeller, olives, or pommes frites. With a vaulted ceiling and pink marble walls, the former bank teller room feels like a throwback, but the Dimes Square people-watching says otherwise.

Deux Chats

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Jon Neidich is cranking out hits. After opening the Nines, also on this list, the restaurateur followed up with “Dimes Square” wine bar Le Dive. Deux Chats, a French-feeling cocktail bar in Williamsburg, is his latest. Martinis here come two ways: gin, manzanilla, and vermouth with celery, or “kinky,” with spicy vodka, ancho reyes verde, vermouth, and cocchi Americano. The name of the latter says it all: Between the seafood towers, emerald green spot, and strong cocktails, Deux Chats is a good date spot, even when stopping by on the early side.

An art nouveau bar at Deux Chats, opening July 26.
The emerald back-bar features a mural of two cats.
Melissa Hom/Deux Chats

Pebble Bar

Pebble Bar, which sits in a historic four-story townhouse, is the leading cocktail destination in the newly-revamped Rockefeller Center. A team of nightlife veterans, and some celebrity investors, have transformed what was an Irish bar into a see-and-be-seen spot. It’s Rockefeller Center, so this bar still mainly services tourists and some after-work finance bros. But it’s certainly the coolest option before or after dining at one of the area’s new restaurants like Le Rock, from the Frenchette team, or Jupiter, from folks at King.

A tropical cocktail with crushed ice and mint leaves in a tall glass at Pebble Bar.
The Limelight cocktail at Pebble Bar.
Max Flatow/Pebble Bar

Nubeluz

Following the opening of Zaytinya earlier this year, restaurateur José Andrés debuted Nubeluz, a rooftop bar at the Ritz-Carlton in Nomad. Cocktails like the Foggy Hill, made with mezcal, vermouth, Cynar, Aperol, and an orange-thyme “aromatic cloud” pair with sky-high views and caviar service.

The Manhattan skyline is visible from a cocktail bar with velvet chairs and booths.
Nubeluz sits on the 50th floor of the Ritz Carlton Nomad.
Bjorn Wallander/Nubeluz

Discolo

Discolo is the latest in a series of openings planned for this Chelsea address, which was once home to the upscale Italian restaurant Del Posto. Mel’s the pizzeria came first, followed by Al Coro, the Italian tasting menu spot helmed by chef Melissa Rodriguez. This underground cocktail bar with a light-up ceiling that syncs to music is bringing up the rear. Fun riffs on classic cocktails include an appletini with champagne, a mezcal negroni with pear.

A bartender pours a red mixer into a stainless steel container.
The ceiling syncs to music at Discolo.
Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet/Eater NY

Martiny’s

New Yorkers mourned the closing of Angel’s Share in the East Village, but for cocktail enthusiasts, the same exacting standards of a Japanese bar — crystal-clear ice, balanced cocktails, and detail-oriented service — live on at Martiny’s. Takuma Watanabe, the head bartender at Angel’s Share for eight years, has converted a historic carriage house in Gramercy into his own establishment spanning three floors. Martinis are the specialty at this cozy spot, but Watanabe also has a collection of rare Japanese whiskies.

A low ball glass with a green matcha cocktail.
A matcha cocktail at Martiny’s.
Melanie Landsman/Eater NY

Bar Americano

Did Greenpoint need another bar serving apertivo? Probably not. But the new spot, located at the street level of a landmarked apartment building, has apertivo aplenty and neighborhood charm. Saddle up to the rounded bar, and stop by for cocktails, wine, and beer, alongside several non-alcoholic apertivo options. Snacks include Mallorcan bread with tomato, croquettes with sofrito, and burrata with lavender.

A rounded bar with a wall of liquor.
Bar Americano’s golden glow is ideal for a date.
Bar Americano

11 Tigers

The Pouring Ribbons-sized hole left in the East Village earlier this year has now been filled by 11 Tigers, a Thai and Japanese bar taking over the same space. The newcomer describes itself as a cross between a Japanese izakaya and a Thai sum ya dong, or roadside stall. Several of the cocktails are mixed with the bar’s ya dong, a gin steeped with 11 different types of herbs, including star anise and lemongrass. There’s also an extensive dinner menu with tom yum ramen, squid ink fettuccine bathed in curry, and plenty more.

The Nines

Restaurateur Jon Neidich — who’s also behind Brooklyn hits like Le Crocodile and Deux Chats — opened this bar draped in corduroy, above the popular nightlife spot Acme. There’s often live music, and the room is great for people-watching: Many patrons dress as though they work in fashion, and their outfits often live up to the restaurant’s name. The menu is all about classic cocktails, but the food, from a Saxon & Parole alum, is just as luxurious as the space: caviar on a baked potato, gnudi with truffles, and a burger slathered in black garlic.

A table with white plates of food (including baked potatoes, blinis, bagels, and burgers) and cocktails.
A spread of cocktails and food at the Nines.
Liz Clayman/The Nines

Milady's

The Soho dive bar that closed in 2014 has been revived by Julie Reiner of Leyenda and Clover Club, where a Big Apple Martini and fancy gelatin shots are on the menu, side-by-side with a shot and a beer. There’s a food menu that’s equally as polarized, with chilled lobster tails as well as chicken tenders and loaded potato skins.

Blue pineapple-shaped jelly shots are presented in clam shells.
Gelatin shot called jigglers at Milady’s in Soho.
Shannon Sturgis/Milady’s

PS

Plenty of bars call themselves speakeasies without actually delivering on that theme, but to its credit, PS is found behind a wall that otherwise looks like a shelf lined with chocolates. The spot led by an all-women team is located inside Pine & Polk, a provisions shop that opened in May. If you can get past the arduously long menu names, like the “Science Behind the Smell of Books,” there are lots of interesting ingredients to explore here.

A clear glass of tea with alcohol infusion set on a white plate.
A tea-infused cocktail at PS.
Ashley Sears

Eavesdrop

High-end audio equipment and fancy, acoustic paneling set this cocktail bar apart from the many neighborhood bars in this stretch of Brooklyn. Eavesdrop opened earlier this year, bringing a cocktail lounge and “listening bar” (think: vinyl records and live DJs playing from a custom speaker system) to Greenpoint. The team is going for a laid-back, living room-like atmosphere with light wood walls.

A wood paneled room is filled with records and small tables with black barstools.
Inside Eavesdrop, a cocktail lounge and “listening” bar in Greenpoint.
Peter Fisher/Eavesdrop

HiLot

The East Village’s newest cocktail bar comes from the owners of Joyface, a ’70s-themed bar next door that can feel like a club on weekends. At HiLot, the vibe is more reined in, but only slightly. Cocktails start at around $20 each, with names like “the OnlyFans,” and tables can be reserved on Tock ahead of time. (The bar claims to accept walk-ins, but really, it’s worth making a reservation.) While Joyface has come to be known for its waterbed, at HiLot, find sexy design touches like a mirrored ceiling and clawfoot tub in its bathroom.

A 1970s-themed booth.
HiLot is dripping in vibes.
Rachel Robshaw/HiLot

Wiggle Room

At Wiggle Room — from the team behind hot spots like Mister Paradise and Pretty Ricky’s — find riffs on classic cocktails. The Vesper martini, known for its potent mix of gin and vodka, is reborn as the Wiggle ’Tini and gets a touch of cherry blossom. For espresso martini lovers, their version, which they have on tap, is made from vodka, cacao rum, and cold brew. Any of these drinks are liable to lead to a night out, as the first floor is set up for dancing with a rotating lineup of DJs.

A highball glass with a fizzy cocktail and several ice cubes on a black-and-white table.
A highball from Wiggle Room.
Jenna Murray/Spilled Milk Creative

Holywater

This underground spot with a nautical theme comes from brothers Alex and Miles Pincus, known for their Manhattan boat bars Grand Banks and Pilot. Under a hanging hammerhead shark and bronze mermaids, sip classic cocktails divided into two categories: New Orleans, where the brothers are from, and New York City. A food menu lists seafood dishes like trout roe tater tots, charbroiled salmon collars, and towers of shellfish.

A orange colored cocktail in a highball glass with garnishes of mint, orange wedges, and a cherry with a metal straw sticking out. The cocktail is set on a wooden table with a book, two votives, and a candle in the background.
The Mezcal Hurricane at Holywater.
Holywater

Swan Room

The swanky cocktail lounge adjacent to Ignacio Mattos’s Corner Bar is a fine place to grab a martini and a shrimp cocktail, oysters Rockefeller, olives, or pommes frites. With a vaulted ceiling and pink marble walls, the former bank teller room feels like a throwback, but the Dimes Square people-watching says otherwise.

Deux Chats

Jon Neidich is cranking out hits. After opening the Nines, also on this list, the restaurateur followed up with “Dimes Square” wine bar Le Dive. Deux Chats, a French-feeling cocktail bar in Williamsburg, is his latest. Martinis here come two ways: gin, manzanilla, and vermouth with celery, or “kinky,” with spicy vodka, ancho reyes verde, vermouth, and cocchi Americano. The name of the latter says it all: Between the seafood towers, emerald green spot, and strong cocktails, Deux Chats is a good date spot, even when stopping by on the early side.

An art nouveau bar at Deux Chats, opening July 26.
The emerald back-bar features a mural of two cats.
Melissa Hom/Deux Chats

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