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
At this gorgeous new photography museum, head through an unmarked door in the lobby to find the adjoining cocktail bar. Once a cathedral, the lounge has the same Gilded-Age opulence as Stephen Starr's Verōnika restaurant. Unusually, you can grab drinks and bring them with you throughout the museum.
The T-shaped speakeasy beneath the Korean steakhouse Cote is dimly lit and all black but for the walls, which are adorned with vertical gardens, some set behind glass. It feels very reptile-house chic—you half expect to see a mounted placard delineating the origins of the poison dart frog.
It’s a scene straight out of Midnight in Paris: 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.
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. This cocktail bar comes from fine dining elite, and, yes, the prices do match that.
Tucked inside the Gramercy Park Hotel, Rose Bar offers a luxurious alternative to other crowded cocktail bars. Modern artworks from the likes of Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Damien Hirst line the walls, and the solid walnut bar and hand-carved limestone fireplace lend a high-society feel to the surroundings.
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.
Though more restaurant than bar, there's plenty of elegant, floral-forward cocktails to be enjoyed here. Just a few short blocks from the Flower District, Il Fiorista serves blossom-accented drinks for a memorable experience where the floral theme never feels overdone.
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.
An acclaimed bakery hailing from Sydney—filled with pastries and cakes that include lemon curd tarts, carrot cake, ginger crème brûlée, as well as as savory sausage rolls—may not seem like a bar. But Bourke Street also specializes in excellent natural wine pours. From 4-7pm on the weekdays, there's a happy hour in which $8 vino comes with in-house made bread and a bowl of olives, too.
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.
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.