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Photograph: Brent Herrig

The 50 best bars in NYC right now

The best new bars and longtime favorites in NYC include cocktails, craft beers with unusual infusions, natural wines and sake spots.

By Amber Sutherland-Namako, Bao Ong and Time Out contributors
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Everything’s easier at the bar. Your dive’s beer is ice cold, the wine bar has harder-to-find bottles, and cocktail destinations shake and stir myriad ingredients into ideally calibrated glassware. The options are unending, the ice is nicer, and you aren’t just drinking, you’re at the spot. 

Whether you’ve recently curated the best to-go cocktails in your neighborhood, learned to make the classics at home or simply become a super-regular at the liquor store, it's time to take it easy once more. These are the 50 best bars in NYC. 

The best of the city under one roof

bars
Photograph: Time Out / Nitzan Rubin

Time Out Market New York

Restaurants Food court DUMBO

Everything you love about New York City's best bars can be found at Time Out Market: cocktails worthy of a hidden speakeasy, panoramic views of the skyline and happy hours to end your (work-from-home) day. Just like our curation of eateries, we've put in just as much thought when it comes to building our bars. Some of the city's best bartenders were behind us on Day One with Instagrammable libations and today, the creativity keeps flowing. We dare you to order just one. Don't miss our brand-new Love Local Brews Bar focusing on brews made specifically in Kings Country.

Best bars in NYC

MACE mace cocktail
MACE mace cocktail
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

1. Mace

Bars Lounges Greenwich Village

Mace has been a regular on local and international “best of” lists since it first opened in 2015. A recent move to West 8th Street gives the perennial fave a little more room for outdoor dining, in addition to a comfortable interior and 27-foot zinc bar. Its record of excellence, combined with a fresh new location helps it land in our top spot. Sip spice and botanical-forward cocktails like the rye-based Lavender or frozen Wasabi + Cilantro with rum, and see how fast you’ll make Mace your own personal recommendation.

Angel's Share
Angel's Share
Photograph: Courtesy Angel's Share

2. Angel’s Share

Bars Lounges East Village

Neither its famously unmarked door nor its barely concealed entrance up a staircase and through Village Yokocho restaurant have been secret for quite some time, but our enduring fondness for Angel’s Share is evidence that the place is simply special even in the absence of speakeasy gimmicks. The recent addition of outdoor seating has made it a little easier to sample the refined cocktails here, but you should still arrive early in small parties and prepare to wait. 

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Attaboy
Attaboy
Photograph: Filip Wolak

3. Attaboy

Bars Cocktail bars Lower East Side

Not all spin-offs are created equal. Luckily for Gotham’s cocktail-swigging masses, this Milk and Honey redux falls into the former school—but with a livelier, lighter air. Attaboy’s up-tempo retro tunes and nicely lit, lived-in digs (whitewashed brick, tarnished sign hanging on the wall), amount to a breezy evolution of its form. Expect custom-mixed drinks at the brushed-steel bar. 

The Boulevardier at the Long Island Bar
The Boulevardier at the Long Island Bar
Photograph: Virginia Rollison

4. The Long Island Bar

Bars Cocktail bars Cobble Hill

A revivalist spirit is at the core of this retrofitted wonder that has a way of filling up fast. The recent addition of outdoor seating . . . hasn't eased the crowds that much, actually, but it's worth the wait for best-in-class gimlets and kicky new frozen options. 

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The Dead Rabbit
The Dead Rabbit
Photograph: Filip Wolak

5. The Dead Rabbit

Bars Cocktail bars Financial District

A pair of Belfast bar vets conjured up this version of a rough-and-tumble 19th-century tavern, then put a refined cocktail parlor upstairs so you can imbibe like a boss. Taking its name from the Five Points–era gang, the Dead Rabbit evokes the kind of watering hole where bare-knuckle dudes puff out their chests and throw back pints.

Maracuja
Maracuja
Photograph: Courtesy Maracuja

6. Maracuja

Restaurants Williamsburg

There is no cocktail menu at this Grand Street staple that changed hands last year, but you can still order whatever you wish from its “if you know it, we can make it” un-menu. Maracuja also has a dozen-some-odd tap and bottle beer selections, plenty of wine varieties and a $5-$8 happy hour from 4pm-7pm every day. Those cocktails you dream into creation are otherwise $11, and entrées like pulpo y papas and paella make it easy to turn drinks into dinner. Show up early for a spot in the secret garden. 

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Sunny's
Sunny's
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

7. Sunny’s

Bars Dive bars Red Hook

A canonical NYC destination, Sunny’s still feels serendipitous when you luck into it on a random, meandering afternoon. It has nautical nods, a long bar and booths up front, tables and enough room for twangy live music in the back and a side yard for alternating breaths of fresh air and the opposite of fresh air. There’s a full bar, but they’re particularly adept at making beer here. 

Good Judy
Good Judy
Photograph: Courtesy Dave Jeffers

8. Good Judy

Bars South Slope

Good Judy has been “a home for queers + allies to join together in unity and solidarity” since it opened last July. Enter through the narrow facade and you’ll find a half-dozen seats at the glossy bar on the main level, a piano lounge upstairs and a patio in the back. Soak up cocktails with vegan dogs, soft pretzels and queso. 

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Bemelmans Bar
Bemelmans Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Don Riddle

9. Bemelmans Bar

Bars Lounges Lenox Hill

The Central Casting ideal of Old New York, the Carlyle Hotel’s throwback grandeur is juxtaposed with Ludwig Bemelmans’ whimsical original murals. It’s as expensive as you’d expect, and the $15 cover charge from 6pm-9pm gets you a seat and nothing more, but $21 cocktails like the JFK daiquiri, mezcal martini and Earl Grey-infused Grey Goose with lemon and honey aren’t too much more than you’ll spend in less lovely environs. 

10. Pilot

Bars Cocktail bars Brooklyn Heights

Few tableaus are as naturally cinematic as Pilot’s, a polished historic schooner docked toward the south end of Brooklyn Bridge Park. The East River glitters between you and the view of Lower Manhattan, and colorful cocktails give selfies a ‘who, me?’ quality. 

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Maison Premiere
Maison Premiere
Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

11. Maison Premiere

Bars Cocktail bars Williamsburg

This recently reopened, lovely NOLA-inspired salon—where the green walls are fogged with a faux patina that suggests decades of Gauloises smoke—is devoted to the twin pleasures of oysters and absinthe. Sip one of the potent varieties of the anise-flavored liqueur, best enjoyed in the lush backyard.

Night of Joy
Night of Joy
Time Out, Photograph: Jolie Ruben

12. Night of Joy

Bars Lounges Greenpoint

This casual low-rise rooftop is just as enjoyable as some of its sky-high peers. The first come, first sit, second floor fills up fast, however, so dispatch a member of your party to get there early and make sure to reward ‘em with gimlets, old blossom rum lemonades and frozens into the evening. 

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Photograph: Roxana Marroquin

13. Dutch Kills

Bars Cocktail bars Long Island City

If you’re weary of craft-cocktail bars aching to impress with unnecessary embellishments, this LIC standout is a welcome shift. Compared to many of its cramped Manhattan counterparts, Dutch Kills’ space allows you to enjoy its well-balanced elbow-benders without feeling like you’re sipping on the subway nearby.

Clover Club
Clover Club
Photograph: Filip Wolak

14. Clover Club

Bars Lounges Carroll Gardens

This standard-bearing cocktail parlor from mixology matriarch Julie Reiner (Leyenda, Flatiron Lounge) expresses its Victorian bent in intricate tile work, curved leather booths, marble tables, vintage sofas and a functioning fireplace. The centerpiece is the 19th-century mahogany bar, where vest-clad barkeeps stir and shake throwback potions, handily defined in the novel-like menu. Choose among regal crystal bowls of punch or finely wrought drinks, both classic and new.

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Matthias Gaggl

15. Apothéke

Bars Lounges Chinatown

This unmarked boîte is the sort of contrived hideout that might be cooked up by an overgrown kid with a chemistry set. The bar is littered with old vials, the cocktails are referred to as “prescriptions,” and the bartenders-cum-pharmacists are in rare form.

Joyface bar
Joyface bar
Photograph: Courtesy Joyface/Simon Lewis Studio

16. Joyface

Bars East Village

Concealed from the outside by heavy red curtains, this seems like the sort of place you’ll get up to something. The swingin,’ multi-textured lounge is lined with deep shades and dim lights across a couple of levels separated by a few stairs. Break in your platforms over “Old Friends,” (mules, martinis, margaritas, etc.), “New Friends,” like The Joyface (a Miller High Life topped with tequila, aperol and lime) and “Friends” like a bundle of six pony beers and accompanying shots. 

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17. Bar Goto

Bars Izakaya Lower East Side

Pegu Club alum Kenta Goto’s glimmering black-and-gold beverage den is nicely secluded from the chaos of nearby Houston Street. Here, you’ll encounter expert cocktails and Japanese comfort food. While this bar feels more grown-up than other LES spots, there are still plenty of fun touches, like the cherry blossom-garnished martini.

Bandits
Bandits
Photograph: Courtesy Front of House

18. Bandits

Restaurants West Village

New from the team behind The Garret bars, Bandit’s getting away with the best parts of 1970s style. Its wood-paneled interior and almost avocado-green accents can accommodate 32 inside, and a more-stylish-than-most curb shed fits an additional 30. For snacks, it’s got all types of tots and drinks include wine, beer and shots. Cocktails like the Bradshaw on Bedford (vodka, lemon juice, rose petal, rhubarb, sun dried tomato and basil) call to mind one famous fictional West Village character. 

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Grand Army
Grand Army
Photograph: Filip Wolak

19. Grand Army

Bars Cocktail bars Boerum Hill

At press time, this breezily-chic bar’s frequently-updated cocktail menu is “Summer Cocktails Starring . . . Nicholas Cage.” Imagine with that what you will, and know that it includes, of course, the Wild at Heart (a martini with manzanilla and orange wine), mezcal-based Snake Eyes and a Moonstruck spritz, named for the film that shot nearby. 

Death and Company
Death and Company
Photograph: Beth Levendis

20. Death & Company

Bars Cocktail bars East Village

The nattily attired bartenders are deadly serious about drinks at this Gothic saloon, a pioneer in New York's now relentless mania for craft cocktails. Behind the imposing wooden door, jet black wallscushy booths and chandeliers set a luxuriously somber mood. Tipples here are consistently among the city's best, many of which have propelled mixology trends across the country. 

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Talea Beer Co.
Talea Beer Co.
Photograph: Courtesy Talea Beer Co.

21. Talea Beer Taproom

Bars Breweries Williamsburg

This woman-owned brewery opened its first taproom in Williamsburg in March. In addition to refreshing, summery, fruit-forward beer, cocktails, wine, and snacks are also on the evning menu. Sit inside our out, and grab draft and canned beer to go when it's time to say goodnight. 

 

Peachy's
Peachy's
Photograph: Gabi Porter

22. Peachy's

Bars Cocktail bars Chinatown

At Peachy’s, you’re bound to break half of the rules. NO PHOTOS, NO FIGHTING, the hot-pink neon-lit sign commands as you descend below Doyers Street into the Chinese Tuxedo–owned cocktail bar. While nothing stirs us to brawl, it’s harder to resist snapping pics of the cool-kid cavern with its Gucci tiger-print wallpaper, flickering candles and flower arrangements that could be plucked straight from a wedding at the Plaza. Indeed, the bar is all #vibes, right down to the cocktails. 

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Photograph: Courtesy of Elsa

23. Elsa

Bars Cocktail bars Cobble Hill

Elsa serves up its original (and since closed) East Village locale's cutesy-fancy feels in this Cobble Hill iteration designed by Home Studios, the team behind many of the city’s most aesthetically pleasing interiors. The drinks incorporate ingredients like grated cinnamon in the Cloudbusting daiquiri and dandelion and burdock in the Broken Mirror.

Goldie's
Goldie's
Photograph: Courtesy Goldie's

24. Goldie’s

Bars Lounges Greenpoint

With the right mix of tacky and glamorous '70s casino-esque décor, Goldie's has become one of New York's most evocative bars. This Greenpoint favorite magically always has the perfect amount of people in it, so you never have to worry about folks crowding the pool table. There's a backyard, too. 

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25. Montero

Bars Sports Bars Brooklyn Heights

A real-deal dive bar in an area less and less hospitable to the genre, Montero’s a grizzled old charmer decked out in the seafaring accoutrement you’d expect from a spot that got its start serving sailors so many years ago. Today, it lights up on karaoke nights when visitors belt out PBR-emboldened versions of former and current hits. 

Dear Irving on Hudson
Dear Irving on Hudson
Photograph: Courtesy Noah Fecks

26. Dear Irving on Hudson

Bars Cocktail bars Hell's Kitchen

The team behind Dear Irving and Raines Law Room opened the second outpost of the former in midtown. Dear Irving on Hudson is a bi-level cocktail bar that takes up the 40th and 41st floors of the Aliz Hotel in Times Square. While the bustling location is worlds away from the quiet block of Irving Place, the founders are sticking to some familiarities. Most noticeably, a handful of cocktails and a "time travel" theme, with one floor akin to 1960s James Bond and another decked out in Art Deco finishes.

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Evil Twin Brewing
Evil Twin Brewing
Photograph: Courtesy Evil Twin Brewing/Caroline Lethbridge

27. Evil Twin Brewing

Bars Breweries Ridgewood

Evil Twin commands a following for its innovative suds amongst craft beer lovers. Now, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø and his wife have opened a permanent brewery and taproom with cans like Cherry Cola Sour and Spicy Avocado Margarita you can enjoy in the greenhouse space and beer garden.

Raines Law Room
Raines Law Room
Photograph: Courtesy Raine's Law Room

28. Raines Law Room

Bars Lounges Flatiron

There is no bar to belly up to at this louche lounge. Drinks are prepared in a beautiful but half-hidden back room surrounded by gleaming examples of every tool and gizmo a barkeep could wish for. From this gorgeous tableau comes an austere cocktail list, which includes classics like the Manhattan and Negroni, and variations thereof. Who needs a barstool anyway?

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'L'Antonieta' Cocktail - 16-20
'L'Antonieta' Cocktail - 16-20
Photograph: Liz Clayman

29. Excuse My French

Bars Cocktail bars Lower East Side

In lieu of coarse language, you’ll find picturesque French cocktails on the menu at this basement bar from the duo behind Ladurée in Soho. The narrow, 30-seat space, fitted with blue-and-gold damask wallpaper and budget replicas of famous paintings, also serves traditional small plates.

The Honeywell
The Honeywell
Photograph: Angie Vasquez

30. The Honey Well

Bars Cocktail bars Harlem

Bartenders at this effortlessly cool downstairs bar have served fantastic sips in such unlikely vessels as upturned “lightbulbs,” honey bears and even glowing approximations of lava lamps. Retro tunes and amber hues play off of wood paneling and beaded curtains inside, and there’s a dreamy, vine-lined garden out back. 

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PDT
PDT
Photograph: Roxana Marroquin

31. PDT

Bars Lounges East Village

The entrance to this taxidermy-strewn saloon is hidden behind an old phone booth inside Crif Dogs. Pick up the receiver and a hostess opens the back wall of the booth. Inside, a team of barkeeps offer thoughtful cocktail creations. The staff is happy to talk you through any libation on the menu, or suggest an haute dog brought in from next door. It’s that kind of dedication that makes getting in worth the effort.

Tia Mia at Leyenda
Tia Mia at Leyenda
Photograph: Filip Wolak

32. Leyenda

Bars Cocktail bars Carroll Gardens

The crowds that started filing into Leyenda for Best American Bartender Ivy Mix’s “pan-Latin inspired” cocktails when it first opened in 2015 have seldom slowed since then. Though it’s roomy, spots in the Smith Street space, where candle light flickers off a tin ceiling, fill up quick for freshly shaken and draft drinks. 

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Broken Shaker
Broken Shaker
Photograph: Gabi Porter

33. Broken Shaker

Bars Cocktail bars Kips Bay

A giddy enthusiasm electrifies the rooftop bar that crowns the Freehand New York. Located in the less-fun nexus of Gramercy and Flatiron, the Miami import is packed with happy-go-lucky twenty- and thirtysomethings that just seem relieved that it even exists, let alone that they are there. Unlike some rooftops around the city, with sleek designs and glass parapets, Broken Shaker is meticulously crafted to look and feel like a well-worn oasis. 

Amor y Amargo
Amor y Amargo
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

34. Amor y Amargo

Bars Cocktail bars East Village

Curious drinkers can find plenty of ways to mix edification and inebriation at this colorful nook. The focus here is on amaro and other bitters, which can be sampled via tasting flights and in excellent stirred cocktails. Sip your way through a range of fernet or herbal liqueurs made by Carthusian monks, then try a modern-day cocktail.

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Photograph: Courtesy Bar Pisellino

35. Bar Pisellino

Restaurants Italian West Village

Those of us who can’t squeeze into Jody Williams and Rita Sodi’s megahit Via Carota might try our luck at the couple’s spot across the street, Bar Pisellino. The Italian jewel box serves coffee, pastries and sandwiches during the day, and it shines for the plays on Italian classics you’ll note in pistachio and spumoni cocktails. 

HOLIDAY COCKTAIL LOUNGE assorted cocktails
HOLIDAY COCKTAIL LOUNGE assorted cocktails
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

36. Holiday Cocktail Lounge

Bars Cocktail bars East Village

The decades-old East Village mainstay—whose barstools are said to have hosted Frank Sinatra, Allen Ginsberg and Joey Ramone—is a welcome anomaly in a city with so much turnover. And though the place has been spruced up some—duct-taped booths traded for green banquettes, neon beer signs for gilded sconces—the joint hasn’t been scrubbed clean of its charm.

Venue says Holiday Cocktail Lounge cozy indoors is open - also outdoors in our charming rear yard or sidewalk seating. We love you! Wear a mask!

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Photograph: Courtesy Hunky Dory

37. Hunky Dory

Restaurants American creative Crown Heights

A nod to David Bowie’s fourth album, Hunky Dory is a joyful, groovy spot for snacks and sips. Takes on martinis, palomas and Irish coffees incorporate pickled okra, whey and vanilla-oat whip, respectively. Sample a smattering when they’re $11 at happy hour until 5pm on weekdays. 

38. The Ten Bells

Bars Wine bars Lower East Side

Break out a magnifying glass to navigate the chalk-drawn wine list at this dimly lit vino depot, or stop investigating and simply ask for a recommendation from Ten Bells’ myriad options. Narrow it down even further at daily happy hour until 7pm, when select carafes are $18. 

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Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

39. Aldo Sohm Wine Bar

Bars Wine bars Midtown West

Across the galleria from Le Bernardin, Aldo Sohm’s vino-hub is far less buttoned-up than its big brother, but the level of detail here proves this grape didn’t fall far from the vine. Toss out any preference—bold and spicy, sweet and bubbly—and your sommelier-server will deliver. Between pours, you can get schooled on the ins and outs of grapes and regions—without any sniff-and-swirl snootiness.

Photograph: Courtesy of the Magician

40. The Magician

Bars Dive bars Lower East Side

Magician is the least-themed bar in New York city, eschewing tropes for cheap drinks, a good jukebox when it works, a long, worn bar, plenty of tables suitable for big groups and a bring-your-own food policy with plenty of options to order from nearby. 

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Tørst
Tørst
Photograph: Courtesy Daniel Krieger

41. Tørst

Bars Beer bars Greenpoint

Tørst—Danish for “thirst”—is helmed by brewer Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø and chef Daniel Burns, formerly of the planet’s hottest restaurant, Noma in Copenhagen. Their take on the taproom is in a minimalist space that looks and smells like a modernist log cabin, with rare brews from throughout Europe and North America. 

Lucy's a.k.a Blanche's Tavern
Lucy's a.k.a Blanche's Tavern
Lucy's a.k.a Blanche's Tavern

42. Lucy’s

Bars Dive bars East Village

Helmed by beloved neighborhood fixture Lucy herself, Lucy’s is best experienced in the lively evening hours. After dark, locals shoot pool on two worn tables and choose tunes from a jukebox that includes Paul Stanley and polka king Stan Yankovic. Plan to pay cash for your beer and shots. 

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LaLou
LaLou
Photograph: Liz Clayman

43. LaLou

Restaurants Contemporary European Prospect Heights

This Prospect Heights wine bar and restaurant highlights lesser-seen European natural wines. LaLou takes its name from Lalou Bize-Leroy, a "trailblazing" Burgundy winemaker. Here, dishes are meant to pair well with the of 150+ bottles and by-the-glass wine options.     

44. Accidental Bar

Restaurants East Village

The only reason the East Village wine bar Lois left its place on this list is because it recently changed hands and became Accidental Bar. New owner Austin Powers has shifted the focus to sake in the familiar space where natural light pours in before big glass globe lights illuminate the tin ceiling overhead. Wine, bubbly, beer and cider are still available, along with otsumami plates for a variety of snack pairings. 

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Grimm Artisanal Ales
Grimm Artisanal Ales
Photograph: Gabi Porter

45. Grimm Artisanal Ales

Bars Breweries East Williamsburg

Think of the Grimm team as mad scientists of beer, concocting novel creations like an IPA with gummy bear hops and a Key lime pie sour, both in colorful cans. Snacks transcend expected beer bar fare, swapping stale pretzels with soppressata and goat cheese. 

The Wayland
The Wayland
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

46. The Wayland

Bars Cocktail bars East Village

The jammed Wayland may be the nieghborhood's most versatile barroom, with a menu infused with DIY flourishes, crafting proprietary bitters and jams from a pantry of seasonal ingredients. Meanwhile, the memory of Banjo Jim's, a honky-tonk dive that used to occupy the space, is kept alive with Miller High Life longnecks, eclectic tunes on the speakers and an upright piano that hosts the occasional jam session.

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La Compagne
La Compagne
Photograph: Filip Wolak

47. La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels

Bars Wine bars Little Italy

Subverting snobbery at every turn, the owners here (formerly of Eleven Madison Park) have been known to offer Tracksuit Tuesdays, Wine Boot Camps and other hospitable parties. Wine director Caleb Ganzer has crafted an approachable list of vin that’s complemented by chef Eric Bolyard’s “fringe France” cooking.

Photograph: Courtesy Pokito/Natasha Otrakji

48. Pokito

Bars Williamsburg

Welcome to one of New York’s most underrated bars. Pokito is run by artists, which is evident in design details that punctuate the colorful, cozy space. The delightful decor extends even to the restroom, which is outfitted with mismatched wall art. Cocktails are infused with flavors like jasmine tea, rosewater and lavender.

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Photograph: Courtesy Getaway

49. Getaway

Bars Cocktail bars Greenpoint

Though it’s presently operating at truncated hours, Getaway is known for its zero-proof cocktails and alcohol-free beer and wine, making it an appealing social setting even if you don't drink. Expect flavors like fig, fennel, or strawberry rhubarb.

NR
NR
Photograph: Courtesy of NR

50. NR

The team behind Harlem’s popular ramen destination ROKC (where drinks quickly became the main attraction) was at it again at the end of 2019 when they opened NR on East 75th Street. Here, super-simply named cocktails betray their show-stealing presentation: the mezcal-based Grapefruit is literally smoking, the tequila Cucumber is served in a green bell pepper, and the Pineapple + Passionfruit with rum is on fire.

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