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Bar Pisellino
Image: Courtesy Bar Pisellino

The 14 best bars in NYC’s West Village

From bespoke cocktails to sudsy pints, here are the best places for drinks in one of NYC’s most charming and iconic neighborhoods

Edited by
Will Gleason
Written by
Time Out contributors
&
Victoria Marin
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The West Village is chock full of our favorite restaurants and watering holes, including some on our best speakeasy-inspired bars and best bars in NYC list. Whether you're looking to imbibe on the weekend after hitting one of the best brunch spots in town or looking to bar hop among the best gay bars in NYC, the Village has something for everyone.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the West Village

Best West Village bars in NYC

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Greenwich Village
  • price 2 of 4

Come for the negroni, stay for the vibe and just move right in for the pasta. It's that simple, pleasure-seeking ideology that embodies Dante, the beloved MacDougal Street Italian café turned small plates restaurant and cocktail bar.. After a century as a staple in the once predominantly Italian neighborhood, the original owners, a Fiotta family, sold the name to an Australian hospitality group helmed by Linden Pride, who revamped both the decor (green-leather banquettes, a pressed-tin ceiling) and menu, but preserves the storied history through classic Italian food and drink. The bar program centers on the European tradition of the afternoon aperitivo, which is showcased finely through a daily $10 negroni session from 3pm to 5pm.

  • Restaurants
  • West Village

The drinks are as impeccable as the vibes at this corner block spot that looks like it’s set in the middle of your favorite sitcom. Grab your nearest and dearest and settle in for a casual and indulgent night – go for the smash burger with one of the “dressed-up” beers (the Dosa Cart, made with mango coconut curry hot sauce and wheat beer, is truly delicious).

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • West Village
  • price 4 of 4

As befits cocktail progenitor Sasha Petraske’s liquid legacy, the drinks at this clubby, low-ceilinged Village rathskeller are nigh perfect. If you choose to deviate from the menu, just give the neatly attired, polite bartenders a base liquor and a hint of your mood, and they can tailor a drink on the fly. A call for rye got us a spot-on Italian twist on a Manhattan, featuring maraschino liqueur, Carpano Antica vermouth and amaro. Custom-made cocktails—no password or secret handshake required.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

The translation of this bar’s moniker is “samurai sword” kitten, but let us be the first to warn you: There are no samurai, swords, kittens or (more distressingly) any cute memes of sword-wielding samurai kittens at this Japanese-American cocktail bar. Instead, you’ll step right into B-roll footage of a Master of None date scene. On a recent Friday night, the buzzy bi-level space was comfortably crowded with hip twentysomethings chattering under noirish red lights and sipping from some exceptionally purr-ty (sorry!) Japanese riffs on classic cocktails. Try the genever-spiked Meguroni, which comes in a simple, subdued ceramic glass, but it’s bursting with flavor thanks to its mix of earthy red bitters and whispers of buttery cinnamon notes from the aged umeshu. The bar’s elaborate cocktails and flawless service are directly and playfully juxtaposed against its grungy dive vibes, from the vintage pop-culture posters to the checkerboard floors.

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  • Restaurants
  • Eating

The newest kid on the Very Cool Bar Concept block is the (literally) hidden gem inside fave neighborhood newcomer Saint Theo’s. Aptly named, Venice Bar, like Saint Theo’s exudes a sultry Venetian energy alongside a drink menu intended to celebrate the start (aperitivo) and the end (digestivo) of the night. Depending on the mood you’re in, their take on the classic Death in Venice—which they make with mezcal—is a perfect drink to both kick off and wrap up an evening.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • West Village

For all of us who can't squeeze into Jody Williams and Rita Sodi's megahit Via Carota, there are a few more seats across the street in the couple's all-day spot Bar Pisellino. The Italian jewel box sells coffee, pastries and sanwiches during the day and cocktails for an aperitif or late-night drinking.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

Picture Don Draper on vacation: rum cocktail in hand, wind blowing through that meticulous coif. While you may never have Jon Hamm’s cut-from-glass jawline (sorry), you can make like a Sterling Cooper adman at leisure in this retro-kitted tiki lounge, from Tijuana Picnic partners Jon Neidich and Jim Kearns. The bi-level bar is crammed with mid-20th-century curios—a ’60s pop soundtrack; mod, half-moon booths; waitresses in Chuck Taylors—but it’s the customizable cocktails and breezy vibe that win over the crowd.

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

The team behind the West Village Italian restaurant L'Artusi unveiled this neighboring wine bar in 2010. The roughly 250-bottle natural wine list focuses on Old World varietals from smaller producers while the kitchen turns out Mediterranean specialties like plates of charcuterie, pizza Bianca flatbreads, conservas and dips.

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  • Bars
  • Sports Bars
  • West Village
  • price 1 of 4

Established in 1862, this is New York’s oldest operating gay bar. You can feel a rich sense of history and community here: The walls are lined with historical materials, and the venue has been used as the backdrop for films such as Can You Ever Forgive Me? Thanks to a resurgence in popularity in recent years, the crowd has an intergenerational mix; longtime patrons sip their drafts at the long wooden bar as younger groups tend to gather at tables in the back and feed the well-stocked jukebox (as they chomp down on grilled cheeses and other cheap eats from the in-house grill).

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

A fortune teller greets patrons at this comfortably-worn reproduction of a prohibition speakeasy. There’s a rousing scene in front, a mix of diehard regulars and industry types who jockey for the attention of the chef-coat–clad barkeeps. Of all of the city’s craft cocktail joints Employees Only is among the most populist, with enough nerd-baiting tipples on the menu to please aficionados without alienating everyone else. Easy sipping libations include the floral Provencal, a silky blend of lavender-infused gin, vermouth steeped with herbs de Provence and Cointreau. More seasoned drinkers can call for a Hi-Octane, made with aged rum and scotch, Cocchi di Torino vermouth, Grand Marnier and bitters.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4
"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. 
The Spaniard
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

If you’ve ever stepped one Sperry-clad foot inside downtown barrooms Wilfie & Nell or the Wren, you'll feel similar vibes here. The Sheridan Square gastropub is stacked with whiskey, preppy young professionals and the group’s signature worn-in, old-world touches: jewel-tone leather banquettes, maritime paintings and exposed-brick walls and ceilings. The cocktail list matches the bar’s rugged vibes with plenty of dark-liquor offerings—drinks are divided into House and Whiskey categories—and simple mix-ins.

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  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4
Long before craft entered the lexicon, there was Blind Tiger, one of the OGs of the New York beer scene. Since its arrival in 1995, Blind Tiger has achieved legendary status thanks to a meticulously curated program and some of the city's best bar food. The 28 taps ($6.50--$11), two casks and one gravity keg (usually $7), plus more than 80 bottles ($7--$55), make this the first port of call for brewhounds who want to track down pours they can't find anywhere else. Weekly events, including meet-the-brewer nights and frequent style showcases, help drinkers navigate the hunt.
Kobrick Coffee Co.
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Meatpacking District
  • price 2 of 4
Let’s be real—coffee cocktails have never been cool. But when a century-old roastery debuts a bar program serving inventive iterations of those once-disreputable java drinks in the Meatpacking District, it piques our interest. Fourth-generation Kobricks, siblings Scott and Niki, put a boozy twist on the family business (great-granddad Samuel Kobrick established the roastery and distributor Kobrick Coffee Co. in 1920), teaming up with Hella Bitters founder Tobin Ludwig for an all-day coffeeshop–cocktail-bar hybrid that will give you all kinds of buzz.

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