CALLING ALL LOVERS of craft cocktail
1. Bemelsman Bar
Madeline, the Bemelmans Bar is a timeless venue attracting notable figures, politicians, movie stars, and magnates with its rich cocktail menu and live evening entertainment. Located on the Upper East Side, the bar retains its Art Deco heritage
with chocolate brown leather sofas, black glass tables rimmed in nickel, a striking black granite counter, and a ceiling covered in 24-carat gold leaf. Guests are enchanted by its distinctive New York style and huge murals, Bemelmans' only publicly accessible project.
An old haunt established in 1915, Dante offers a welcome break in Greenwich Village after a busy day exploring the city. Under new ownership for a century, it's retained a faded elegance evoking past regulars like Patti Smith, Hemingway, and Anaïs Nin
, making it one of the best bars in Manhattan. You can enjoy aperitifs, Bellinis, and unusual amari and bitters, and there's also a popular Martini Hour (only $10, from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM) beloved by local fans.
After eight years at NYC's pioneering cocktail bar Angel's Share, Tokyo-native Takuma Watanabe opened his first solo project in 2022: a three-level Japanese bar in Gramercy
. Named, like the cocktail, after the building's most notable tenant—a barn in the 1800s, then home to an artist named Philip Martiny, the sculptor behind Washington Square Arch. From crystalware to soft jazz, impeccable techniques to design details, every element displays Watanabe's meticulous skills and aesthetic taste, also paying homage to Tokyo's famed Ginza district bars..
4. Musette Wine Bar
More than just a wine bar in Central Harlem, Musette is an exceptional venue, its menu crafted with the finesse of a work of art, and its wine list only an oenology expert could write. These traits make it unquestionably one of Manhattan's best bars. The charming environment, a cross between a European bistro and a country house
, offers warm lighting and fresh flowers on every table. Start with one of their weekly changing "flights," paired with a platter of cold cuts and Provence herb wings, and follow the chefs' recommendations.
5. Double Chichen Please
After touring the country in a 1977 yellow van, GN Chan and Faye Chen opened this venue in the Lower East Side. The menu features two fried chicken sandwiches: try the spicy honey one
. The front room offers draft cocktails and dishes like chicken liver mousse. The back room has pricier cocktails and an ambitious menu. The "taptails" are numbered 1 to 15; try the 5 or 6. The cocktails are light but effective, perfect for when the venue gets lively.
6. Bar Goto
Bar Goto is a great minimalist haven from the Lower East Side party storm, offering okonomiyaki, sleek Japanese design, and excellent highballs. Owner and bartender Kenta Goto, formerly of the now-closed Pegu Club, maintains his predecessor's famed attention to detail
. This care is evident in his highballs and delicate Coupe cocktails, like the one with pink cherries, sake, gin, and maraschino. The food here is more than just a snack to accompany drinks. The okonomiyaki, with kewpie mayonnaise, bonito flakes, and stuffed with bacon, shrimp, and squid, makes it one of the best bars in Manhattan.
7. 67 Orange Street
Named after the address of Almack's Dance Hall, one of the first African American-owned bars in 19th century New York City, 67 Orange Street is ironically not on Orange Street. Instead, it's a cocktail destination in Harlem, where owner Karl Franz Williams has created a lively atmosphere with Prohibition-era details that echo the spirit of the bar's name. Since opening in 2008, this two-story bar offers a variety of classic cocktails with modern and original twists
, many named in homage to African American history, like "The Color Purple" and "Emancipation Again." Celebrated for sparking the craft cocktail movement in Uptown upon opening, the bar's legacy continues as a neighborhood staple.
8. The Dead Rabbit
The Dead Rabbit is undoubtedly one of the best bars in Manhattan. Spread over three levels in the Financial District, it offers an impressive mix of classic and signature cocktails
, a dedicated Irish whiskey drink list, draft beers, and non-alcoholic creations. The food menus vary by floor, with some overlaps. Be sure to try the Irish-inspired food like Guinness-braised burgers and chicken pot pie in the taproom downstairs, and smoked salmon deviled eggs and lamb ribs in the Parlor Room upstairs.
BEST BARS IN MANHATTAN: THE MAP
9. Death & Co
Death & Co is the ideal haven, tailor-made for its visitors. With Hunter S. Thompson quotes in the menu, the bar resonates with its clientele. Drink enthusiasts appreciate the wide selection of sophisticated cocktails, from Cure For Pain to the delightful Rita Hayworth, each one intriguing and captivating. Recently, it's become known not just as a bar but also a place for an excellent meal
, with American dishes that pair well with shaken or stirred cocktails..
10. The Bar Room
The Bar Room at the Beekman, one of the best venues in Manhattan, features a unique and sophisticated design
, carefully detailed. Sitting at the bar – a magnificent piece of craftsmanship with teal stools and a green and gold motif – you might find yourself next to a Vogue designer, an investment banker, or a visiting tech millionaire from Dubai. It's a genuine place to savor cocktails with a seasonal menu that always seems to suit the outside weather; also notable is the extensive list of amari, perfectly matching the sparkling atmosphere with soft lighting.
Danny Meyer blends the best of a big-city bar with the retro charm of a typical Southern joint. Located at 271 Eleventh Ave., New York, NY, 10001, it's known for its lively bar scene, famous chef's cuisine, and private dining spaces. Porchlight offers a Southern-influenced menu
, with po'boys sandwiches during the day and irresistible snacks like onion dip at happy hour. Don't miss the bean-free, earthy, and smoky Texas red chili, perfect with the bar's fantastic cocktails. Due to the crowd, reservations are recommended.
12. No Bar
No Bar, one of the best bars in Manhattan with a characteristic inclusive atmosphere, has replaced the Narcbar on the ground floor of The Standard, East Village. Created by Angela Dimayuga, former executive chef of Mission Chinese, it offers cocktails, drag nights, and a festive atmosphere
. The venue is decorated with cow print booths, Dachi Cole mirrors, and neon lights. The creativity is reflected in the menu with drinks like "Spill the Tea," featuring bourbon, mezcal, vanilla, and mole bitters.
13. The Rum House
Despite becoming increasingly popular in tourist guides, The Rum House retains an exclusive atmosphere, offering a welcoming and comfortable environment, a true refuge from the frenzy of Times Square. The bar specializes in rum
, offering a wide choice of customized "daiquiris" (classic, dark, pineapple-flavored, or Hemingway-inspired) or a particularly rich coconut version of the Piña Colada called “The Escape”. Those in search of rare rums will find all the brands they desire.
In the space that once housed Milk & Honey, where the modern cocktail revival began, the speakeasy vibe
still lingers. The exclusive cocktails served today at one of Manhattan's best bars would honor Sasha Petraske. At Attaboy, the beer and wine list, while available, is less popular: patrons always prefer choosing an exclusive cocktail. Among Attaboy's various creations, the Penicillin (created by Sam Ross, the founder of this wonderful venue) is highly recommended, featuring a unique mix of ginger, lemon, and Scotch..
15. Middle Branch (LB33)
In a quiet corner of a two-story townhouse on 33th St, there's a first-class cocktail bar that astonishes its patrons. The team behind the bar serves extraordinary cocktails, from customized options to originals like the Island Old Fashioned based on rum. The exterior is discreet, with no sign, while the interior is sumptuously decorated
with embossed wallpaper, exposed bricks, and dark woods, under a sophisticated pressed tin ceiling. The cocktails are reasonably priced for Manhattan, without skimping on sculpted ice or dropper-measured ingredients..
16. Jimmy’s Corner
The list of the best bars in Manhattan wouldn't be complete without this bar in the heart of Times Square (surprisingly devoid of tourists). It's a venue saturated with boxing memorabilia
, once dominated by Midtown's media world. In one photo, the late owner and former boxing trainer Jimmy Glenn even poses with the late Muhammad Ali. Jimmy’s Corner is steeped in the true spirit of New York: a venue definitely worth discovering.
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