Need a liquid cool-down after a day spent strolling Madison Square Park? Look no further—the best Flatiron bars aren’t just great neighborhood spot, they’re some of the best bars in NYC, from beer dives to cocktail beauts to bars with games.
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Best Flatiron bars in NYC
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. The 10 Gallon Hat (mescal, ancho chile, lime and pineapple) smacks of a margarita with something fiery to celebrate. And the Pinoeer Spirit, a twist on the Old Fashioned (rye, apple brandy, orgeat), is so strong it could serve itself. Who needs a barstool anyway?
For the white-collared wayfarers wandering the streets north of Madison Square Park, NoMad is a depressingly apt name. Sure, the neighborhood has seen a much-welcome rise in upstanding restaurants, but finding an any-day gastropub that doesn’t reek of postgrad brewskies is harder to come by. Who better to fill the void than Daniel Humm, Will Guidara and Leo Robitschek, the James Beard Award–winning trio behind neighborhood stunners Eleven Madison Park and the NoMad, who expanded the latter to include this elegant saloon inside the NoMad hotel, teeming with lofty pub grub, digs worthy of 007… oh, and $198 cocktails.
Red leather booths, mahogany tables and globe-shaped lamps amp up the vintage vibe at this Art Deco space. Co-owner Julie Reiner’s notable mixology skills have made the bar a destination, and her Beijing Pitch (jasmine-infused vodka and white peach puree) is not to be missed. The 30-foot bar, built in 1927, stays packed well into the wee hours.
Amid the swank food sanctums sprouting around Park Avenue South, this classic tavern remains a shrine to unchanging values. Most old-time Old-Towners go for the much-praised burger, which we found in need of a little salt. For lightweights, there’s a smattering of salads and other sandwiches. Some things, however, do change. Bloomberg’s antismoking legislation has made the once befogged booths and long mahogany bar strangely haze-free.
It’s a scene straight out of Midnight in Paris—or maybe Back to the Future—all golden-age yearning and space-time shuffling. This dapper Gramercy lounge, from Raines Law Room operators Alberto Benenati and Yves Jadot, is a railroad space divided into period-piece quarters, including a tufted Victorian parlor and an ashtray-dotted hooch den worthy of Don Draper. Spend an hour at this luxe oasis and you’ll completely lose track of time—no DeLorean required.
The Seventh Avenue digs of this congenial Italian wine bar are roomier than at its East Village original, but the prices remain unchanged: Most small plates cost less than $8. Only one bartender caters to the after-work, wine-swigging crowd, but you won’t have to wait long before a thin-lipped glass is placed in front of you. A sandwich of Italian tuna and ripe tomatoes is sandwiched between slices of soft white bread. Grappa-soaked apples are paired with equally bold sidekicks of speck and Taleggio cheese in one of the pressed sandwiches. Desserts, too, are reliable, especially the dense pear sorbet.
The owners of Flatiron eatery Punch have converted the second-floor space above the restaurant into a wine bar. Chef Matthew Shoemaker is preparing shareable dishes including a cheese plate, charcuterie and fondue.
Hip-hop heavyweight Jay-Z is a co-owner of this multimillion-dollar sports lounge. The DJ’s jams are infectious enough to inspire some rump shaking, but this is not a dance club. Rather, it’s a retreat for those who appreciate another kind of fancy footwork—that of athletes. Gargantuan projection screens display sporting events and lower-level booths feature smaller plasma monitors—just tell your server which game you want to watch.
This massive rooftop beer garden, located 14 stories above the Italian megastore Eataly, offers a direct line to one of the world’s most exciting new beer regions: an unprecedented stash of beers from the Boot, as well as innovative house-made ales reflecting trends on both sides of the Atlantic. Hops-heads will geek out over the three proprietary cask-conditioned ales brewed on the premises—the collaborative effort of craft-brew pioneers Sam Calagione (founder of Delaware's Dogfish Head), Teo Musso (Piedmont's Birra Baladin) and Leonardo Di Vincenzo (Rome's Birra del Borgo).
As the name suggests, American spirits are the emphasis at this dark, sultry bar. Along with a selection of bourbons and ryes, there are gins, vodkas and rums, all distilled in the States. Using the homeland hooch, mixologists shake and stir top-notch mixed drinks like the refreshing house punch made with arrack (a rumlike spirit) and chai-infused rye. The Creole Daiquiri combines New Orleans rum with chorizo-flavored mescal (it’s a bit like sipping a taco, which is a good thing). While the focus is clearly on drinking, there’s excellent upscale pub grub: We liked the fiery fried buffalo sweetbreads.
Jon Bloostein—owner of Heartland Brewery and Houston Hall—has expanded his sudsy holdings with a retro-style beer hall in NoMad. Beyond the reclaimed St. Paul's church signage in front—still bearing the name of Reverend W.H.A. Booker—find Greenpoint Beer Works brews at the dark-wood bar, such as an apricot ale, an oatmeal stout and a red lager. But those looking for a stiff drink can choose from cocktails like a peach mojito, a jalapeño margarita and a rosemary-Scotch quaff, the Mark Twain. Bar bites are of the fusion variety—chicken tikka masala wontons and pastrami Reuben spring rolls—while entrées skew more traditional (burgers, fish-and-chips).
With 15 Olympic-grade ping-pong tables, this sprawling club is one helluva place to grip a paddle. Co-owner Susan Sarandon realized the same thing we all did in college: table tennis and alcohol are a match made in heaven. We recommend savoring, not chugging, the diverse selection of domestic and imported craft brews ($8–$12). Walk-in rates for an hour of table time start at $30 before 6pm on weekdays, and increase in the evening and on weekends.