Best bars in Soho: The essential drinking spots

The best bars in the neighborhood range from sophisticated cocktail parlors to one of only a few brewpubs in the city.

Whatever your poison, Soho offers several worthwhile drinking options, including a couple from two of the city's top mixology mavens: Audrey Saunders’s seminal cocktail den Pegu Club and Julie Reiner’s tropical haven Lani Kai are among the best bars in the neighborhood. Craft-beer aficionados should head to 508 GastroBrewery, where chef-brewer Anderson Sant’anna De Lima pairs proprietary beers and plates. For more ideas, consult our selection of restaurants, cheap eats and nightlife.

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The Ear Inn

When it opened in 1830, the historic Ear Inn was popular with colorful characters ambling in from the docks of the Hudson. The basic decor (dark-wood bar, wobbly tables and chairs, lots of retro ephemera) hasn’t changed much since, but locals continue to pack the place thanks to its relaxed vibe and historical charm. Free snacks such as fried chicken and sausages can be had weeknights from 4 to 7pm, mitigating any wallet damage wreaked by a few $6 pints of Guinness.

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Downtown

508 GastroBrewery

Home-beer-brewing enthusiast Anderson Sant'anna de Lima, owner of 508, has converted his American restaurant into this modern brewpub which pours his creations. Grab a seat at the glass-topped aqua bar and sip a draft IPA or a bottle of Belgian strong ale, all made in stills below the eatery. An eclectic menu—featuring ceviche, short-rib meatballs, and truffled mac and cheese—offsets the booze.

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Downtown

Lani Kai

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.

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Pegu Club

Critics' pick

Thanks to the arrival of other serious mixology dens (PDT, Death & Company), Audrey Saunders’s imperial Pegu Club is no longer cutting-edge. But it’s still the gold standard for some of the city’s finest elixirs. The eponymous house cocktail is a sweet-and-sour blend of gin, bitters, fresh lime juice and orange curaçao; the Earl Grey MarTEAni, a tipsy take on afternoon tea, features Earl Grey–infused gin and lemon juice frothed with egg white. If you want to tweak your tipple, feel free: Every table comes with droppers of simple syrup, bitters, and lemon and lime juices.

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Soho

Puck Fair

Critics' pick

Although there are 25 different beers on tap and 60 by the bottle at this airy trilevel pub, Guinness is the star: Thanks to the pricey Kilkenny cooling system, the black stuff tastes almost as good as it does on the Emerald Isle. Gaggles of Irish and other Euro expats take their pints at the enormous bar or small wooden tables. Retreat to the slightly quieter downstairs to tuck into pub grub like bangers and mash (available until 4am) in peace.

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Nolita

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