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La Compagnie
Photograph: Ali Garber

The absolute best bars in Soho NYC

From sophisticated cocktail bars to divey haunts, this favorite downtown neighborhood offers something for everyone.

By Bao Ong and Time Out New York contributors
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Soho may have lost its edgy reputation years ago, but countless New Yorkers and tourists alike still roam its cobblestone streets for the shopping, some of the best restaurants in NYC and best bars. The area is dotted with art galleries, but you’ll find beer bars and even one of the best cocktail bars in the city when strolling the streets of this popular Manhattan neighborhood.

RECOMMENDED: See the full list of best bars in New York

Best Soho bars in NYC

1. La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels

Bars Wine bars Little Italy

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.

Peppi’s Cellar
Photograph: Gabi Porter

2. Peppi’s Cellar

Bars Nolita

Pass three spiral staircases inside the cozy Italian restaurant Gran Tivoli to get to this semisecret cocktail lounge. Practically lifted from the set of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Peppi’s is all retro cool with deep, intimate booths, antique lights and a tiny stage for lively jazz combos.

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Pegu Club
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

3. Pegu Club

Bars Lounges Soho

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.

4. Mother’s Ruin

Bars Cocktail bars Nolita

At this airy Nolita drinkery, co-owners Timothy Lynch and Richard Knapp bring in a rotating cast of star bartenders to sling classic and contemporary drinks. The laid-back space—done up with a cream tin ceiling, exposed brick and weathered-wood bar—also offers a full menu. 

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Ear Inn
Photograph: Donald Yip

5. The Ear Inn

Bars Dive bars West Village

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.

Broome Street Bar
Photograph: Sean Ellingson

6. Broome Street Bar

Bars Sports Bars Soho

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.

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7. The Ship

Bars Cocktail bars Little Italy

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!

The Blond
Photograph: Courtesy the Blond

8. The Blond

Bars Cocktail bars Little Italy

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.

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9. Sweet & Vicious

Bars Lounges Nolita

Two pistols found during the bar’s construction are menacingly displayed in the doorway, but this relaxed downtown bar is more sweet than vicious. Bargoers crowd onto wooden benches or gather on a graffiti-adorned patio, weather permitting, to tip back pints of Hoegaarden. Beware: Like many downtown joints, what’s chill during the week can get packed on weekends.

10. Spring Lounge

Bars Sports Bars Nolita

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.

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