Best Soho bars in NYC
The far-reaching influence of New York's reigning queen of mixology, Audrey Saunders, is hard to measure. Pay a visit to this urbane barroom, a second floor sanctum on bustling Houston Street, and explore Saunders’ eminent opus, which includes new classics such as the Gin-Gin Mule, a vivacious elixir of homemade ginger beer with Tanqueray gin, fresh mint and lime juice.
Unabashedly grown-up and yuppie-friendly, this slick club launched by oenophile Michael Dorf, founder of the Knitting Factory, is New York’s only fully functioning winery, as well as a 350-seat concert space. Acts range from singer-songwriters and rock groups to stand-up comedians and even retrospective talks on legendary artists.
This sultry mouthful of a wine bar transplants Paris’s cool-kid vino haunt to Soho, courtesy of the crew behind Experimental Cocktail Club. Inside the 70-seat marble-and-brass den, there are no bookish tasting notes, no sniff-and-swirl pomposity or starchy white cloths draped over the sommelier’s arm—just 600 topflight bottles ready for drinking. Gallic varietals are the unabashed focus of the 21-page menu, including well known regions like Loire Valley and Bordeaux, plus small-batch selections from up-and-coming vino locales like Slovenia, Morocco and Israel’s Judean Hills.
When it opened in 1830, the historic Ear Inn was popular with colorful characters ambling in from the docks of the Hudson. The basic decor (dark-wood bar, wobbly tables and chairs, lots of retro ephemera) hasn’t changed much since, but locals continue to pack the place thanks to its relaxed vibe and historical charm. Free snacks such as fried chicken and sausages can be had weeknights during happy hour, mitigating any wallet damage wreaked by a few pints of Guinness.
The stained-glass visage of a young boy in a cap stares at passersby from this been-here-forever corner establishment (the current owners have operated the place for 33 years). Tourists from nearby hotels come to mingle with locals at this typical New York bar—with its chalkboard menus and numerous microbrews (we like the herbal Schneider Weisse), Broome Street fits the bill. The docket of standard pub grub includes a respectable burger served on pita bread.
Descending the steps to a pseudo-secret basement bar can lead to unwelcome surprises. But this sexy den from Little Branch’s Joseph Schwartz and Cervantes Ramirez welcomes you to the depths below with subtly upscale touches: warm lighting and dark woods, highly attentive hosts at your service and a slew of quaffs to pore over.
Venue says Come Unwind with a Cocktail at The Ship. Not sure what to get? Go for Bartender's Choice!
This sultry lounge, outfitted with jewel-toned velvet couches and antique mirror columns, has a DJ spinning on weekend nights filled with pretty people partying until the wee hours of the night at the 11 Howard hotel. If you don't want to reserve bottle service, be sure to show up when it opens to have a chance of getting into the Soho spot.
Part dive bar, part after-work hangout, Spring Lounge is the kind of place where you need never drink alone. The liquor’s been flowing on this corner since the 1920s; the wooden tables and benches reek of whiskey, hops and malt. Weeknights draw all types, but come weekends, a swarm of loud, aggressive singles takes over.
Thanks to lofted ceilings and six large skylights, this often-packed beer mecca inside a former parking garage offers a sunny beer-garden-like experience year-round. Beer maidens and barkeeps sling comically large, sudsy one-liter steins of brewskis to a predominately dude-heavy crowd, but the more manageable 12-ounce and half-liter mugs afford a greater range of sampling from the ten rotating taps of Greenpoint Beer Works.