The Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, yeah, The Brooklyn Bridge, they’re all cool, but there’s so much more to New York than those typical tourist spots. New York has to be one of the best place to party on the planet. After all, it’s not for nothing that its earnt the moniker, The City That Never Sleeps. Whatever it is you’re looking for, whether its top views and classy drinks or a spot right in the raucous heart of humanity, New York (and this list) has something for you – and there’s no better way to get to know a city than you have a drink with its mighty fine inhabitants.
If you are looking for more cool places to have a cheeky drink at why not download our New York Pocket Guide for use on the go.
1. The Rusty Knot
The Rusty Knot is your prime example of a trendy, West Village pseudo-dive bar, popular with the hipster and cool crowd. Complete with neon signs, pool table and good, old-fashioned(ish) juke box, it’s a real slice of almost-authentic Americana, with plenty of drinks deals to keep you happy. The highlight? Pickleback shots: a combination of whiskey and pickle juice. Yeah, that’s what I thought at first, but it is good.
425 West St, New York, NY 10014, United States
2. Union Pool
This former pool-supply shop is a little more the genuine article when it comes to dive-ism. Just take a look at its corrugated iron walls and faded décor that give it that illicit, prohibition-era feel. But that’s all part of the Union Pool‘s charm. Pick a spot in one of the traditional half-moon booths and join Williamburg’s creative crowd in checking out the latest local up-and-comers on the bar’s stage. Or head out to the courtyard with the chain-smokers for a little fresh air. Come on, as if that’s such a thing in a city this size.
484 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211, United States
3. Brooklyn Surf Bar
Something of a quirk, the Brooklyn Surf Bar is worth a visit simply for the spectacle. Resembling an over-sized a seaside shack, the walls are adorned with surf kitsch, decked out in Hawaiian bamboo and covered in sand. Yeah, OK, it’s not actually that hard to get to the beach in New York, but not everyone can be bothered to leave the city proper. So if you find yourself gasping on a sunny day, hit this place up for some sun, sand (sans-sea) and some good times. A great place for an all-day warm-up session before hitting the town.
139 N 6th St, New York, NY 11222, United States
4. 230 Fifth
Now for a slight change of pace. 230 Fifth is professed to be New York’s largest outdoor rooftop garden, and is strategically located to deliver fantastic views of The Empire State Building and the rest of the city. It’s best to hit this spot up at night, when the city is lit up and at its most awe-inspiring (and it really is awe-inspiring). During the colder months the deck is dotted with electric heaters and snuggly blankets are on-hand to keep you wrapped up warm. But if the New York chill gets too much you can always retreat into the classy Penthouse Bar, with its dark and stylish interior and moody lighting. It’s not cheap, but it’s pretty darn cool.
230 5th Ave, New York, NY 10001, United States
5. 55 Bar
You can’t really visit New York without sampling just a little of its might fine Jazz and Blues, and the 55 Bar is a great place to start. It’s another prohibition-era dive bar, but what better to take you back to the golden era of Jazz? It’s compact, slightly crowded and displays its history proudly. Grab yourself a Wild Turkey with a little ice and settle on in. You won’t know where the evening went.
55 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014, United States
6. Fat Cat
Not for the faint-hearted. The Fat Cat is a raucous live music venue and pool-games halls, all wrapped into one wonderland dreamscape. Set down in a gigantic basement space, it’s packed full of the sweaty bodies of the West Village’s young and cool, glugging cheap beers and cutting their way through all the ping-pong, pool and shuffleboard they can cram into the evening. Meanwhile, others either nod appreciatively, fingers on chin, or slam-dance to the entertainment on the stage – depending on what’s on. Hit this one up once the night gets going.
75 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014, United States
7. 1020 Bar
The 1020 Bar is your ideal stop if you’re looking for a good, contemporary American bar with atmosphere, energy and friendly faces. The bar gets a little frantic, but that’s all part of the fun. It pulls in the university crowd and local folk, who are always up for a chat with the visitors. Don’t let the abundance of TV screens showing sport put you off – they’re actually a good conversation starter. I mean, no one but an American will ever understand American football or baseball, and you have plenty of opportunity to get to know them as they explain. Oh, and remember to tip the bar staff. Don’t get a reputation else you’ll never get served.
1020 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025, United States
8. Mulberry Street Bar
This very cool, low-key bar in the heart of Italy made its reputation by appearing in several gangster films. It’s a cool place to start a night with a few good American ales and some fine New York pizza. Check out the old school red-checked tablecloths, and definitely eat the calzone.
176 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013, United States
Smalls is possibly the best place to see rising talent on the New York Jazz scene. Located in a basement, it’s compact, but the sound is glorious. It’s also dark and dimly lit, giving it that perfect Jazz-like atmosphere. The drink selection is grand and the music is excellent – what more could you want.
183 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014, United States
10. McSorley’s Old Ale House
Possibly the best entry on this list, McSorley’s is the oldest bar in New York and hasn’t really changed since it opened in 1860. There’s still sawdust on the floors, aged and yellowed artwork and newspaper clipping adorn the walls and there’s even a wood burner. It’s almost a museum, but thankfully, doesn’t go so far in informing you of its legacy that it becomes a cheap novelty. Unlike with similar places, it still has an authenticity. You have two choices as far as drinks go, and that’s light beer or dark beer, and you’ll get two with your order. Make sure you tip else you won’t be getting served. Oh, and try the cheese platter: cheddar, crackers, killer mustard and raw onions. No, it’s tasty, I promise.
15 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003, United States