The best New York bars for winter: where to escape the cold

Some New York bars are better suited for winter drinking than others. Find out where you can seek refuge from the chilly temps with good beer and cocktails.

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  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    The best New York bars for winter

    The Stand

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    The best New York bars for winter

    Randolph Beer

  • The best New York bars for winter

    Kent Ale House

  • Photograph: Sean Ellingson

    The best New York bars for winter

    Center Bar

  • Photograph: Heami Lee

    The best New York bars for winter

    The Pony Bar

  • The best New York bars for winter

    The Habitat

  • Photograph: Alex Strada

    The best New York bars for winter

    Jimmy’s No. 43

Photograph: Filip Wolak

The best New York bars for winter

The Stand

The Stand

  • Critics choice

Good for: cocktails,  groups

In the past, comedy venues left much to be desired in terms of food and drink, but a spate of recently opened venues—this bi-level Gramercy spot included—remedy that. Before heading downstairs to catch stand-up routines, peruse the list of signature cocktails, reasonably priced beers and wines at the upstairs bar. The Boozler combines seasonal flavors of ginger liqueur and pear puree with Ransom Old Tom gin and fresh tarragon. If hunger pangs strike, the comfort-food–inspired menu by RSVP’s Seth Levine has plenty of filling options, including cheeseburger dumplings and fish-and-chips.

  1. 239 Third Ave, (between 19th and 20th Sts), 10003
Book online

Randolph Beer

  • Price band: 2/4

Good for: beer

Craft brews are the focus at this warm Nolita tavern, decorated with wood from a century-old Kentucky barn and other salvaged materials from across the country. Behind the bar, a custom-built draft line dispenses 48 mostly stateside beers organized by tasting notes such as “crisp & light” (Tripel Horse from New Jersey’s River Horse) and “malt & roast” (Three Philosophers Belgian–style quadrupel from upstate’s Brewery Ommegang). To offset the booze, fill up on the cheddar-brat sandwich with horseradish mustard and “corn off the cob” with cotija cheese, piquillo peppers and chili-lime.

  1. 343 Broome St, (between Bowery and Elizabeth St)
Book online

Kent Ale House

  • Price band: 1/4

Good for: beer, groups

It’s only a few blocks from Bedford Avenue, but this brewhouse feels like it’s been imported from the Catskills. The spacious, exposed-brick-and-dark-wood haven offers a rotating selection of 24 drafts and 22 bottles, annotated with helpful tasting notes. On a recent visit, a server recommended the Captain Lawrence Katchkie Harvest ale, a caramelly brew made with locally grown squash instead of the season’s ubiquitous pumpkin riffs (also on offer). A menu of rib-sticking pub food—a “Kids” grilled cheese (pear, bacon, sharp cheddar), customizable burgers and hot dogs—provides all the more reason to linger.

  1. 51 Kent Ave, (at North 11th)
More info

Center Bar

  • Price band: 2/4

Good for: cocktails, chill

Take in the treetops of Central Park and toast the fact that you’re nice and cozy at this fourth-floor lounge. The extensive cocktail list includes mint juleps, Sazeracs and other classics, as well as signature creations like the Cliff Dweller (Inocente tequila, aperol, Cointreau, lime). If you prefer vino to spirits, take your pick from an 80-bottle-strong wine list. Refined, belly-warming bites from Chef Michael Lomonaco include arancini filled with porcini mushrooms, pecorino and prosciutto and braised Berkshire pork belly with pistachios and aged port.

  1. Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle, (at Broadway), 10019
Book online

The Pony Bar

  • Price band: 1/4

Good for: beer, lively

The sibling of the popular Hell’s Kitchen spot brings the same unpretentious vibe and quality beer uptown. The all-American brew list, featuring 20 taps, recently included a roasty Ithaca Beer Company 14th Anniversary black ale and the brightly hopped Ballast Point Sculpin IPA. The best part: Each pour (most 14oz) will only set you back $5. A menu of elevated bar food, including a fried-oyster-and-bacon sandwich and “sloppy” duck sliders, ensures you won’t have to venture into the cold in search of a proper meal.

  1. 1444 First Ave, (at 75th St)
More info

The Habitat

  • Price band: 1/4

Good for: beer

Since opening in 2008, this Greenpoint watering hole has become a neighborhood favorite thanks to a serious beer list, hearty food and nightly happy-hour specials. The compact space is dressed in warm wood not unlike a ski lodge, and wide booths encourage sharing a dozen wings. The bar’s 12 drafts change frequently, highlighting stateside craft breweries (Cottrell, Dark Horse) and international imports (Spaten, Franziskaner). Select pints are just $4 during happy hour, and if you have a tough time choosing, spring for a flight of four eight-ounce pours.

  1. 988 Manhattan Ave, (between Huron and India Sts)
More info

Jimmy’s No. 43

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Good for: beer

Though owner Jimmy Carbone takes his beer seriously, he cultivates a supremely egalitarian atmosphere at this intimate drinkery. Brewhounds will find plenty to please their discerning palates; we’ve sampled such obscure pours as unfiltered Franconian lagers and a Japanese brown ale brewed at the foot of Mount Fuji. Bartenders will also happily walk nonconnoisseurs through the dozen beers on tap. If you’re completely beer-averse, you can still hang and opt for one of seven wines by the glass or a pint of crisp Farnum Hill cider.

  1. 43 E 7th St, (between Second and Third Aves)
More info


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