Most democratic cocktail bar: The Summit Bar

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  • Photographs: Lizz Kuehl

Photographs: Lizz Kuehl

Exclusivity pervades New York cocktail culture, with bars hidden behind faux phone booths and inside unmarked, darkened dens. But Alphabet City's understated Summit forgoes the pretense—no reservations or covert knocks required—without compromising its drink savvy. Barkeep Greg Seider (Minetta Tavern) has created a split-personality menu that appeals to traditionalists (old-fashioneds, whiskey sours), as well as adventurous imbibers. We can pass hours at the black-granite bar, slowly sipping Seider's quirky "alchemical" inventions like the Situation (given depth by Afghan-raisin--infused rye and caraway-flavored agave). The Summit Bar 133 Ave C between 8th and 9th Sts (no phone)

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