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Bars near the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chill out with a cocktail or beer at these bars near the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The Rum House

Critics' pick

In 2009, this rakish, 1970s-vintage piano bar in the Edison Hotel looked destined to go the way of the 99¢ peep show. But the team behind Tribeca mixology den Ward III ushered in a second act, introducing some key upgrades (including serious cocktails) while maintaining the charmingly offbeat flavor of the place. Forget you're a stone's throw from Times Square while listening to nightly live jazz acts and sipping dark-spirit–heavy tipples, such as a funky old-fashioned riff that showcases the rich, tropical complexity of Banks 5 Island Rum. Those who suffer the cruel fate of being in Times Square on a weekend morning can console themselves with a range of six Bloody Marys (noon–5pm).

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Midtown West

Rattle N Hum

Critics' pick

Owner Patrick Donagher is more interested in converting craft-beer newbs than scaring them off: A giant chalkboard wall suggests craft alternatives to mainstream swill, and a daily-changing menu offers 40 mostly American drafts ($7--$9), to help you find your new favorite beer. Purists gravitate toward the casks (between two and four at any time), as well as some of the expert picks on the list of 150 bottles, including Jolly Pumpkin's funky La Roja sour ale ($21). See what strikes your fancy on the daily-changing menu (organized by style, with tasting flights available for curious drinkers), or dig into the bar's stash of seasonal ales.

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Midtown

Fairytail Lounge

Critics' pick

This Hell's Kitchen watering hole packs a lot of glittery, pseudo-Victorian personality into a small space. Patrons can sip cocktails off the backs of sexy centaur mannequins, or park at the bar while bopping their heads to tunes from various DJs during weekly theme nights.

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Hell's Kitchen

Empire Hotel Rooftop

This rooftop lounge, backed by restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow, features 3,000 square feet of outdoor space and private chaise longue-equipped cabanas. Three separate terraces offer views of Lincoln Center and Central Park, and an appropriately sleek bar—constructed of stacked metal pipes—dispenses specialty cocktails like the Oran’gin the Mood (orange juice, Bombay Sapphire, Patrón Citrónge and club soda). There’s also a swimming pool on the upper level, but locals shouldn’t bother with the SPF: It’s open to hotel guests only.

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Upper West Side

Ava Lounge

Plant yourself on a mod white banquette in this bi-level penthouse lounge, accented with wood paneling and erotic art, and take in the dizzying views of Times Square. If the vista from the heated rooftop garden doesn’t weaken your knees, cocktails like the Gin & Sin—a potent mix of gin, Chambord, and fresh lemon and lime juices—might.

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Midtown West

40/40 Club

Hip-hop heavyweight Jay-Z is a co-owner of this multimillion-dollar sports lounge. The DJ’s jams are infectious enough to inspire some rump shaking, but this is not a dance club. Rather, it’s a retreat for those who appreciate another kind of fancy footwork—that of athletes. Gargantuan projection screens display sporting events and lower-level booths feature smaller plasma monitors—just tell your server which game you want to watch.

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Flatiron

The Flatiron Room

More than 400 varities of whiskey line the shelves at this bar from nightlife maven Tommy Tardie and cocktail ace Miguel Aranda (Bar Masa, Apotheke). Check out the ancient flooring (the planks are 100-year-old reclaimed wood) while nibbling cured meats, cheeses, oysters and ceviches and enjoying nightly jazz performances.

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Midtown

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Roof Garden Café and Martini Bar

Perched on top of one of the world's finest museums is one of the city's finest vantage points—from both a sight and cultural perspective. During the warm months, vistors can sip a beverage while taking in spectacular views of Central park, with the city's tony skyline beyond. Vying for the vista's wow factor are the the annual seasonal exhibits, including 2012's "Cloud City" by Tomas Saraceno, a splendid, perception-changing installation.

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Central Park

Hudson Terrace

Once a strictly private-events space, this bi-level venue from the owners of Village Pourhouse opens its temperature-controlled, weather-shielded roof deck to the public most nights of the week until 10pm. Drinks, which include cocktails like mojitos, as well as wine and beer, can be sipped while enjoying Hudson River views and items from the grill, including a duo of mini kobe burgers.

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Hell's Kitchen

Stout

Brothers Martin and Mark Whelan have the luck of the Irish: After success with St. Andrews and Maggie’s Place, they’ve scored 16,000 square feet for their beer theme park, Stout. You can sample 142 beers and devour oysters, or pub grub like shepherd’s pie and fish-and-chips.

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Midtown West

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