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The best East Village bars you’ve got to try

These are our favorite East Village bars for dive bar juke boxes or a swanky good time

Photograph: Courtesy Markus Marty
By Emma Orlow and Time Out contributors |
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The gritty dive bars are still there, sure, but the best East Village bars have expanded from those rough-and-tumble barrooms to include acclaimed cocktail dens, on-tap wine bars and relaxed beer halls and beer gardens. Whether you’re craving a beer-and-shot combo or a composed cocktail, these are the neighborhood’s best drinkeries to try right now.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in NYC

Best East Village bars

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LOIS interior
Paul Wagtouicz
Bars, Wine bars

Lois

icon-location-pin East Village

Nora O'Malley (Alphabet City Wine Co.) and Phoebe Connell (ABC Beer Co.) exclusively pour vino via draft at this wine bar, outfitted with 16 taps and a small-plates menu featuring house-made pork rillettes, duck-confit corn cakes and sourdough slathered in Szechuan-peppercorn butter.

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Photograph: Courtesy Markus Marty
Bars, Cocktail bars

No Bar

icon-location-pin East Village

Occupying the old Narcbar space in The Standard, this new gay hangout is decked in cow print, neon, and a discoball. We look forward to watching Ru Paul's Drag Race there while unapologetically munching on dishes like the "schmaltz popcorn" and chicken strips with bacon-fat ranch. 

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3
Loverboy
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Ruwan J.
Bars, Cocktail bars

Loverboy

icon-location-pin East Village

The team behind Mother's Ruin opened another casually hip bar in the East Village. Drink frozen or on-the-rocks cocktails while munching on pizza. 

4
HOLIDAY COCKTAIL LOUNGE assorted cocktails
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
Bars, Cocktail bars

Holiday Cocktail Lounge

icon-location-pin East Village

Three years after the six-decade-old East Village mainstay shuttered its dinted metal doors following the sale of the building, the saloon has been given a new lease on life. And though the place has been spruced up—duct-taped booths traded for green banquettes, neon beer signs for gold sconces—the joint hasn’t been scrubbed clean of its charm.

Venue says An iconic cocktail lounge/bar located in the heart of the East Village, Manhattan NYC.

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5
Joyface bar
Courtesy Joyface/Simon Lewis Studio
Bars

Joyface

icon-location-pin East Village

The new, shagadelic cocktail lounge Joyface may make your soul swim in ecstasy as you take in the kitschy ’70s decor—the waterbed for lounging and, say, a vintage Playboy centerfold wall for selfies. There’s no cocktail menu, so if you’re stumped, let the cosmos choose: Dip your hand into a magic bowl to pull out a keychain that reveals your preordained liquor.  A barkeep will concoct a one-of-a-kind drink and name it after you in a flash.

6
GOOD NIGHT SONNY interior-exterior
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
Bars, Cocktail bars

Good Night Sonny

icon-location-pin East Village

This cocktail den from the Wayland’s Robert Ceraso—taking over the former home of red-curtained, 15-year-old Simone Martini Bar—draws in a packed house with experimental drinks, raw-bar offerings and warmly personal trimmings (exposed-brick walls speckled with family photos, a reclaimed-wood bar sourced from a partner’s ancestral home in Connecticut). 

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7
Lost Lady
Photograph: Shannon Sturgis
Bars, Cocktail bars

The Lost Lady

icon-location-pin East Village

Three years ago, Robert Ceraso and Jason Mendenhall (the Wayland, Goodnight Sonny) set out to add a nautical outpost to their growing cocktail kingdom. After two potential locations fell through, they’re finally ready to set sail with the project. A casual cocktail bar with thrift-store seascapes, vintage maritime photos and a cocktail menu loaded with agave and rum—the Lost Lady adds Wayland vet Ryan to the team’s takeover of the East Village drinking scene. As with their other popular downtown hangouts, the bar also offers a short list of affordable eats, this one leaning toward tacos and dinner bowls. If that’s not enough to get you on board, there’s also shuffleboard and a jukebox to help you drift away.

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Angel's Share
Photograph: Courtesy Angel's Share
Bars, Lounges

Angel’s Share

icon-location-pin East Village

Walk through an unmarked side door at the front of Japanese restaurant Village Yokocho, and you’ll find yourself in perhaps the classiest joint in the East Village. Angel’s Share remains completely unknown to some of its neighbors; that duality is part of its charm. This date-night gem offers a stellar view of Stuyvesant Square, tuxedoed bartenders and flawless cocktails.

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9
Jenna Murray
Bars, Café bars

Paper Daisy

icon-location-pin East Village

Paper Daisy, now in the former digs of Cafe Orlin, takes its name from an Allen Ginsburg poem. Orlin was a meeting-of-the-minds enclave for artists and NYU students for 36 years, until closing in October 2017. We hope this new haunt from the team behind Drexler's, Mister Paradise and Mother's Ruin will truly revive the space's old New York bohemian soul. 

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The Red Room
Photograph: Mister Paradise
Bars, Cocktail bars

Mister Paradise

icon-location-pin East Village

The first thing you notice when you approach Mister Paradise is the flashy green-and-gold exterior and glowing neon sign that immediately sets it apart from its East Village neighbors on either side. The exterior announces that this is going to be a bold, confident and well-designed space, and the interior follows up on that promise with shining brass fixtures, a deep emerald green bar and an entire wall of undulating sand-tone banquettes. There aren’t that many chic interiors like this in the neighborhood, and the bar has a fun, playful vibe. That cheeky spirit continues with the cocktail menu which offers innovate twists on classic drinks. A particularly interesting offering is the Doctor Angel-Face cocktail, which substitutes Japanese shochu instead of vodka or gin, along with verjus, sherry and a clarified tomato water dashi, and puts a savory, slightly herbal spin on a classic martini. The Cafe Disco combines rye whiskey, olive oil, buckwheat, coffee and absinthe for a unique take on an Old Fashioned. The bar also serves shots and large-format cocktails (for 2-6 people) that would be perfect if you snag one of the banquettes with some friends. The food menu, from Jeremy Spector of Brindle Room, seems like it’s having a good time while not taking itself too seriously. You can order fried chicken (available as a half or whole bird) with habanero and black truffle honey, an elevated take on a Hot Pocket (including an apple pie option, an ode to the McDonald’s located acro

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11
Rosarita Stick Up at the Garret
Bars, Cocktail bars

The Garret

icon-location-pin West Village

"Turn left at the ketchup dispenser,” a red-capped burger flipper will tell you after you’ve spent ten minutes lost and confused at the West Village Five Guys. Yes, tucked in back of the patty joint is a clandestine staircase leading to a second-floor loft, rigged with glass chandeliers, a fireplace mantel tumbling with dusty hourglasses, and a well-stocked bar run by Hotel Chantelle commodore Kyle O’Brien and Riff Raff’s alum Gavin Moseley. And with its art-house crowd (lanky, long-haired rockers, red-lipped broads in leather-daddy hats) and equally creative cocktails, this clearly ain’t your average burger bar. ORDER THIS: The cocktail menu—12 drinks total—is divided between classics (gimlet, Sazerac) and house creations ($14) like the LTT Continental, an exceedingly drinkable gin-and-grapefruit number, and the Rosarita Stick Up, a highball that looks dainty—capped preciously with rosebuds—but packs a boozy punch with tequila and Grand Marnier, soothed with rosemary-thyme syrup and a whip of egg white. Ask the bartender where they got the drink’s name—the story alone is worth the price tag. GOOD FOR: A laid-back alternative to fellow hidden gem, PDT. The attic bar echoes the East Village staple with its sneaky fast-food-joint facade, but unlike that posh mixology mecca hidden within Crif Dogs, there’s no pesky same-day reservation system or long waits here. Instead, the copper-ceilinged drinkery boasts a pop-in breeziness, seemingly retained from the space’s days as a no-

Time Out says
12
Bars, Wine bars

Maiden Lane

icon-location-pin East Village

East Village boozers can go on a sherry-swigging journey at this sea-inspired bar from Nialls Fallon and Gareth Maccubbin, former general managers of Parm and Torrisi, respectively. With port cities like New York and San Francisco in mind—the bar's name refers to waterfront streets—the duo crafts a wine list heavy in coastal sips (Domaine Sigalas, Casa de Mouraz). Sidle up to the ten-seat concrete-topped bar, where you can snack on light bites sourced from local purveyors: smoked and cured fish (Acme), Spanish salami (Despaña) and farmer’s cheese (Saxelby). Accents such as a navy chalkboard menu and pine plank ceiling support the nautical theme.

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Bartender Jason Littrell making an Oaxaca old-fashioned at Death & Company
Photograph: Virginia Rollison
Bars, Cocktail bars

Death & Company

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The nattily attired mixologists are deadly serious about drinks at this pseudospeakeasy with Gothic flair (don’t be intimidated by the imposing wooden door). Black walls and cushy booths combine with chandeliers to set the luxuriously somber mood. Patrons bored by shot-and-beer bars can sample the inventive cocktails as well as top-notch grub.

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Photograph: Jonathan Aprea
Bars, Dive bars

Blue & Gold

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In the afternoon, Eastern-European retirees and unemployed folks in their twenties and thirties take advantage of the fine stock of domestic beer and decent liquor starting at $3. At night, the grime-encrusted dive is the place for locals on a budget, who crowd into rickety booths and around the red-felt pool table while downing $15 pitchers of beer. Why blue and gold? They’re the colors in the flag: Forty years after opening, the bar is still owned by the same Ukrainian family.

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15
ghost donkey
Photograph: Filip Wolak
Bars, Cocktail bars

Ghost Donkey

icon-location-pin Noho

It’s a trade of the booziest kind: a gin joint swapped for a mescaleria. Tucked next to Saxon + Parole in the space that formerly housed Madam Geneva, this Latin-spirited cocktail haunt straddles the line between speakeasy and dive bar, accessible through an interior door from the neighboring American restaurant. 

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Wayland
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
Bars, Cocktail bars

The Wayland

icon-location-pin East Village

The menu is 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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17
MOTHER OF PEARL imperial bulldog cocktail
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
Bars, Cocktail bars

Mother of Pearl

icon-location-pin East Village

This paradisiacal 50-seat revamp of his old Gin Palace space, Ravi DeRossi (Death & Co, Amor y Amargo) recruited a team to rehash the throwback pours and Orient-skewing grub shaped by 1940s tiki culture. Without a single standard-issue tiki offering on the menu—no mai tais or pupu platters here—Mother of Pearl is a postmodern Polynesian affair pioneering new waters.

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PDT
Photograph: Roxana Marroquin
Bars, Lounges

PDT

icon-location-pin 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 perfect for washing down a haute dog brought in from next door. It’s that kind of dedication that makes getting in worth the effort.

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