50 best spring bars
Tue Mar 22 2011
The Randolph at Broome
Ease your way into a hazy-afternoon bender at this easygoing cocktail hub, which pours cups of Intelligentsia and Oslo coffee (pour-over or press-pot $4, augmented coffee $7) beginning in the early-morning hours. Come 11am, you can move on to the strong stuff. Give the Old College Try ($14), a smooth rum-and-cream concoction, a whirl—while relaxing amid the retro decor. Keep your wits about you by snacking on PBJs with bacon and jalapeo jelly ($3): You don't want to miss the daily happy hour (until 8pm), when every cocktail is half off. 349 Broome St between Bowery and Elizabeth St (212-274-0667, randolphnyc.com). Mon--Fri 7am--4am; Sat, Sun 8am--4am.
Red Rooster Harlem
Marcus Samuelsson's neighborhood-influenced American spot delivers cocktails that are as worthy of a "hallelujah" as the fluffy corn bread they wash down. The vivid copper bar top, shelves scattered with antique bric-a-brac, warm marquee lights and a lively open dining room all set the scene for the spring menu's playfully spicy and herbal offerings. Don't miss Moses Laboy's Dillio cocktail, a creation that draws on two cuisines Samuelsson knows well, skillfully combining peanut-infused bourbon (an African nod) with muddled dill (Scandinavian), plus lime juice, simple syrup and ginger liqueur ($13). 310 Malcolm X Blvd (Lenox Ave) between 125th and 126th Sts (212-792-9001, redroosterharlem.com)
On a sunny afternoon, nab a seat near one of the huge open windows at this woody gastropub for some prime street-side people-watching. During happy hour (noon--7pm on weekdays), all of the 40 beers on tap—like Two Brothers Bitter End, Sixpoint Otis (both $7) and Old Speckled Hen ($6)—are reduced by $2. Be warned though: During brunch, you'll likely have to wait for a spot at one of its communal tables (11am--4:30pm on weekends). 101 Rivington St at Ludlow St (212-228-0027, spitzerscorner.com). Mon, Tue noon--3am; Wed--Fri noon--4am; Sat 11am--4am; Sun 11am--2am.
The Standard Biergarten
Andr Balazs's open-air drinkery—with its beautiful patrons and clubby disposition—is a swanky place to hedge your atmospheric bets. Lead your crew outside to one of 30 communal tables and order one of three Teutonic drafts, like the dark yet quenching Kstritzer Schwarzbier ($8). A handful of German and Austrian bottles ($7) round out the list, and appropriately, eats consist of beer-sopping pretzels ($8) and Schaller & Weber sausages ($8). While there's still a chill in the air, temporary plastic walls and a roof help ensure well-heated revelry. 48 Washington St at 13th St (212-645-4646, standardhotels.com)
The Sunburnt Calf
Now that you've got a buzz, up the ante with a cocktail or three at this Australian beach-themed party spot. You can take a break from the UV rays without missing the sunshine in the rowdy, glass-roofed dining room, and indulge in the anytime happy hour—just drop $20 to drink as many beers and bottom-shelf mixed drinks as you'd like for two full hours. For something more adventurous, try the Calf's unique mixed creations, such as the mango-lime Moo-jito (made with muddled fresh fruit, $8) or one of the signature Moo Juices like the fruity Sunburnt ($7), a combo of passion-fruit-infused tequila and fresh strawberries served in a baby bottle. 226 W 79th St between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway (646-823-9255, thesunburntcow.com)
Afternoon sun streams through enormous warehouse windows, shines on the brick walls and sends shafts of light across this modern bohemian hangout, seducing you into spending hours in one of the repurposed movie-theater seats by the bar. Sip an artisanal cocktail like the El Craneo (house-infused pepper vodka with muddled mint, $8) and shoot some pool on the orange-felt table. The next thing you know, you'll be perusing the dinner menu. 126 Front St at Pearl St (718-243-9005). Tue--Thu 11:30am--2am, Fri 11:30am--4am, Sat 2pm--4am, Sun 11am--2am.
Tolani Wine Restaurant
Follow an afternoon of wandering in Central Park with a drink in the back garden at this cozy neighborhood wine bar and restaurant. Or snag a spot on its sidewalk patio for a better view of the neighborhood passersby. The drink options include a full bar and eight bottled beers, but Tolani is a wine bar: Opt for one of the globally diverse reds, whites or bubblies available by the glass, such as the Greek Assyrtiko '09 ($9). 410 Amsterdam Ave between 79th and 80th Sts (212-873-6252, tolaninyc.com)
Dim lighting and amiable bartenders channel the spirit of a classic New York bar, which is alive and well at Tribeca Tavern. The killer craft-beer selection—featuring brews from Dogfish Head, Ommegang, Hitachino Nest and Victory—suck you in, and the pub grub here is simple but satisfying. 247 West Broadway between Walker and White Sts (212-941-7671). Daily 11am--4am.