50 best New York bars: Soho

Two of the best New York bars battle for the attentions of cocktail cognoscenti in Soho. Which one is your favorite?

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  • 50 best New York bars: Lani Kai

     

     

  • Photograph: Jeff Gurwin

    50 best New York bars: Pegu Club

50 best New York bars: Lani Kai

 

 

Lani Kai

  • Critics choice

Cocktail doyenne Julie Reiner (Flatiron Lounge, Clover Club) channels her Hawaiian roots at this stunning bi-level lounge. The vibe is more Four Seasons than Trader Vic’s—lush flora and woven barstools replace the usual tiki statues—but the bar maintains a laid-back attitude. Teas, fresh fruits and syrups, and floral garnishes brighten the more than 25 tropical tipples. The towering Isle of Islay swizzle balanced the smokiness of peated whiskey with breezy notes of citrus and spice from house-made falernum and passion fruit. Large-format punches, meanwhile, are built for groups; bring your crew and offset the booze with pupu platters featuring Pacific Rim–inspired goodies like decadent crab rangoon.

  1. 525 Broome St, (between Sullivan and Thompson Sts)
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Pegu Club

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

The far-reaching influence of New York's reigning queen of mixology, Audrey Saunders, is hard to measure. Her storied cocktail lounge, the Pegu Club, begat many of today's standard-bearers, including Death & Company, PDT and Mayahuel. Pay a visit to the urbane barroom, a second floor sanctum on bustling Houston Street, and explore Saunders’ eminent opus, which includes new classics such as the Gin-Gin Mule. She first served the drink—a vivacious elixir of homemade ginger beer with Tanqueray gin, fresh mint and lime juice—at the Beacon Restaurant & Bar in 2000. Equally renowned is the Earl Grey MarTEAni, a frothy and fragrant nod to English teatime traditions made with loose-leaf–infused Tanqueray gin, lemon juice and an egg white.

  1. 77 W Houston St, (between West Broadway and Wooster St)
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