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Photograph: Filip Wolak

The 50 best bars in NYC right now

Sip classic cocktails, craft beer and expert wine selections at these new drinking destinations and longtime favorites.

Amber Sutherland-Namako
Written by
Time Out contributors
&
Amber Sutherland-Namako
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Everything’s easier when you're drinking out at a bar. Your dive’s beer is frosty, the wine bar has harder-to-find bottles and cocktail destinations shake and stir myriad ingredients into ideally calibrated glassware. (It's just not the same at home!) 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

  • Restaurants
  • Food court
  • DUMBO
  • price 1 of 4

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

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Greenwich Village
  • price 2 of 4

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.

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • East Village
  • price 2 of 4

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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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Lower East Side
  • price 2 of 4

Another NYC classic (of more recent origin; Attaboy opened in the famed Milk and Honey space in 2012) forced to untether itself from speakeasy-trappings last year, this LES cocktail leader was one of a few bars in its genre to demonstrate greatness even absent all the cloak and dagger themes. You can still play prohibition at the steel-brushed bar inside, of course, but it’s no longer necessary with the addition of a patio. 

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Cobble Hill
  • price 2 of 4

Occupying a corner spot that operated under the same name for five decades, Long Island Bar comes by its retro-lite ambiance honestly. It has a way of filling up fast, and the recent addition of outdoor seating hasn't actually eased the crowds that much. But it's worth the wait for best-in-class gimlets and kicky new frozen options. 

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  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Red Hook
  • price 1 of 4

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. 

Jadis
  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Lower East Side
  • price 2 of 4

A few steps below the sidewalk, Jadis wine bar seems suffused with effortless romance and incidental magic–qualities frequently copied with low, golden lighting schemes and chicly rustic design, but seldom truly captured at quite this pulse-quickening pace. Be careful who you share that carafe with, as it’s easy to get infatuated here. 

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Lenox Hill
  • price 4 of 4

The Central Casting ideal of Old New York, the Carlyle Hotel’s throwback grandeur is juxtaposed with Ludwig Bemelmans’ whimsical original murals here at his namesake bar. 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. 

  • Bars
  • South Slope

Good Judy has been “a home for queers + allies to join together in unity and solidarity” since it opened in July of 2020. 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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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Carroll Gardens
  • price 2 of 4

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.

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Financial District
  • price 2 of 4

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.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Midtown East
  • price 4 of 4

Grand Central Terminal itself is rather beautiful, but running its gauntlet always requires a reward. The Campbell, née, The Campbell Apartment, in the building’s southwest corner, is the closest and best place to get one. Once the massive office of the ur-rich NYC finance guy for which it’s twice named, The Campbell’s present form toasts its original leaded-glass windows, soaring hand-painted ceiling and stone fireplace with classic cocktails. This is what all those latter-day speakeasies aspire to without the goofy costuming. 

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Harlem
  • price 4 of 4

Expertly shaken and stirred cocktails have been topping 67 Orange Street’s bar and two floors of tables since it first opened uptown in 2008. Slip into the stylish brick-lined space for novel cocktails created by its own bartenders, plus beer, wine and very 2020s hard seltzers. 

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Greenpoint
  • price 2 of 4

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. 

  • Bars
  • Chelsea

As evidenced by La Noxe’s long wait list, the New York City subway system sure does drive people to drink. A cafe by day, this new subterranean destination adjacent to the 1 train in the 28th Street station transforms into a cocktail den after dark. When traveling above ground, try your luck at the bell at 162 West 28th Street; you’ll need all the good fortune you can get for a shot at sampling the buzzy spot’s exclusive libations.  

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Long Island City
  • price 2 of 4

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.

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  • Restaurants
  • East Harlem

With enough wines by the glass to keep us coming back, but not so many we never get around to actually ordering, plus beer, cocktails and a full menu, this Peruvian newcomer is a terrific addition to the neighborhood. Contento also has just enough spots at the bar to give it equal drinking and eating crossover destination appeal, and its design keeps people with disabilities front of mind. 

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Chinatown
  • price 4 of 4

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.

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  • 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. 

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Boerum Hill
  • price 2 of 4

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. 

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • East Village
  • price 4 of 4

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. 

  • 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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Pilot
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Brooklyn Heights
  • price 2 of 4

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. 

Bar Goto
  • Bars
  • Izakaya
  • Lower East Side
  • price 2 of 4

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.

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  • 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. 

 

Montero
  • Bars
  • Sports Bars
  • Brooklyn Heights
  • price 1 of 4

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. 

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Hell's Kitchen
  • price 3 of 4
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.
  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Astoria
  • price 2 of 4

An ideal neighborhood go-to now in its second decade, Sweet Afton must be doing something right. The beer, wine, cocktails and weekday happy hour where all of the above are priced from $6-$11 are a good start, and roomy indoor and back patio seating areas don’t hurt, either. 

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Brooklyn Social
  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Carroll Gardens
  • price 2 of 4

Smith Street’s designation as an eating and drinking destination has ebbed and flowed over the years, but Brooklyn Social has held steady as a prime cocktail spot since 2004. It seems to have settled out of its once impossibly crowded state, but we’re always looking over our shoulder for the masses to return to its low key bar, flock around its backroom pool table and fill up its hidden patio once more. 

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Lower East Side
  • price 3 of 4

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.

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Harlem
  • price 2 of 4

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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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • East Village
  • price 4 of 4

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 from next door. PDT expanded with the outdoor addition of PDT Tropicale last spring. 

  • 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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  • Museums
  • Special interest
  • Financial District

Dating back to 1762, Fraunces Tavern doesn’t look a day over 258. In addition to modern conveniences like indoor plumbing, its distinct spaces serve as a one-stop-shop for a few different photo-ops: grab a beer at the main bar, sip Brenne beside the fireplace in the whiskey room or post up outside the landmarked building for wine and cocktails. 

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Cobble Hill
  • price 2 of 4

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.

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  • 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. 

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Kips Bay
  • price 3 of 4

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. 

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McSorley’s Old Ale House
  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • East Village
  • price 1 of 4

One of the oldest bars in New York City, McSorley’s Old Ale House has sawdust on the floor and dusty aged curios to prove it. The prices seem suspended in time, too: Dark or light ales are $6 per pair of half pints. Yes, you must choose from just two beers, and your one [1] order is served in two [2] mugs. Most of McSorley’s food (sandwiches, burgers, dogs) is under $10. 

  • Bars
  • East Williamsburg

One of our favorite new rooftops, this is LLoHi’s inaugural summer. Ring in the sunshine on its roomy deck over tons of beer selections, a few wine options, mixed drinks and the frozen cocktail of the day. Food includes burgers, fried chicken sandwiches and a festive funfetti cake. 

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  • Bars
  • Lenox Hill

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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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Carroll Gardens
  • price 2 of 4

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. 

  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Lower East Side
  • price 1 of 4

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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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • East Village
  • price 1 of 4

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.

The Ten Bells
  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Lower East Side
  • price 2 of 4

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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  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • East Village
  • price 1 of 4

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. 

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Little Italy
  • price 2 of 4

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.

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  • 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. 

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • East Village
  • price 2 of 4

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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