Best bars in West Village: The essential drinking spots

The best bars in the neighborhood range from subterranean cocktail dens to quirky themed bars and down-to-earth pubs.

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Whatever your poison, the West Village offers several worthwhile drinking options. Sasha Petraske’s cocktail den Little Branch and beer-geek haven Blind Tiger Ale House are among the best bars in the neighborhood. Though it's no longer the city's trendiest gayborhood, the West Village still has some of our favorite gay watering holes, and it's the site of the landmark Stonewall Inn. Oenophiles will welcome Vin Sur Vingt, which serves French wine, cheese, charcuterie and other Gallic snacks. For something more substantial, consult our selection of restaurants and cheap eats.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to West Village

Blind Tiger Ale House

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Long before craft entered the lexicon, there was Blind Tiger, one of the OGs of the New York beer scene. Since its arrival in 1995, Blind Tiger has achieved legendary status thanks to a meticulously curated program and some of the city's best bar food. The 28 taps ($6.50--$11), two casks and one gravity keg (usually $7), plus more than 80 bottles ($7--$55), make this the first port of call for brewhounds who want to track down pours they can't find anywhere else. Weekly events,

  1. 281 Bleecker St, (at Jones St)
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Corner Bistro

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

The burgers at this dimly lit Village standby are legendary, and the New Yorkers who love them legion. You may have to wait in line for a good hour to get your hands on one (and you will need both hands). Fortunately, several $2.50 drafts (including McSorley’s Ale) will help you bide your time, as will the Yankees on the tube, and a jukebox that plays everything from Calexico to Coltrane. Go for the Bistro Burger, a fat patty of broiled beef, cheese and smoky bacon on a

  1. 331 W 4th St, (at Jane St), 10014
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Highlands

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This buzzing barroom marks the overdue arrival of a stylish Scottish tavern in NYC. The look is urban drawing room: Furnishings include stag heads, and the charming staff sports tartan ties. Scotch is the thing—sip from a collection of 100 whiskeys, or try one of the smart cocktails, which provide a perfect introduction to the spirit. We liked the citrusy Blood and Sand, made with 12-year-old Highland Park, Cherry Heering, orange juice and bitters. It’s worth bringing an

  1. 150–152 W 10th St, (between Greenwich Ave and Waverly Pl)
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Little Branch

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

As befits cocktail progenitor Sasha Petraske’s liquid legacy, the drinks at this clubby, low-ceilinged Village rathskeller are nigh perfect. If you choose to deviate from the menu, just give the neatly attired, polite bartenders a base liquor and a hint of your mood, and they can tailor a drink on the fly. A call for rye got us a spot-on Italian twist on a Manhattan, featuring maraschino liqueur, Carpano Antica vermouth and amaro. Custom-made cocktails—no password or secret

  1. 20 Seventh Ave South, (at Leroy St)
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Orient Express

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The legendary passenger train is the inspiration for this cocktail bar from Osman Cakir of Turks & Frogs. Drinks like the Sleeping Car, made with house-infused apricot cognac, calvados and mint, showcase ingredients that nod to the train’s eastbound route; the decor—vintage suitcases, stacks of tattered passports—further reflects the theme.

  1. 325 W 11th St, (between Greenwich and Washington Sts)
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Rusty Knot

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This Hudson River–hugging nautical “dive bar” from Taavo Somer (Freemans) and Ken Friedman (the Spotted Pig) is a confusing—but successful—high-low hybrid. Faux Tiffany lamps and neon beer signs clash with the elaborate tiki cocktails (devised by Milk and Honey vet Toby Maloney), and with the foppish hordes who queue up outside the place. You’d never find the eponymous Rusty Knot—a refreshing, blender-whirred mix of rum, ice and mint—or eats like a luxe

  1. 425 West St, (at 11th St)
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Vin Sur Vingt

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

New York's Francophiles have no shortage of places to go for Gallic comforts: haute-cusine temples with Michelin stars to spare, charming Lyonnaise-style bouchons and pedigreed patisseries at the ready when a macaron craving strikes. But one French institution that's a bit harder to come by is the bistro vins—the type of humble, caflike watering hole where you might while away a Paris afternoon sipping beaujolais. For a taste of what you've been missing, head to Vin Sur Vingt,

  1. 201 W 11th St, (between Greenwich and Seventh Aves), 10014
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