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The 50 cocktail experiences you should have in NYC

If you want to call yourself a New Yorker, you need to drink the best cocktails and visit the best bars in the city

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
Shark Eye at Mother of Pearl

New York City’s drinking scene is in a league of its own, and there’s no shortage of cocktail experiences you need do if you want to truly be part of this city. From age-old classic cocktails invented in NYC to latest and greatest cocktails in NYC that call local and speakeasy bars home, those who crave more than just a pint at the best beer bars face no shortage of choices. After all, that’s what the city’s about: options. Cocktail lovers, drink your heart out.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to cocktails in NYC

50 cocktail experiences you should have in NYC

1

Martinis at Grand Central Oyster Bar

Venue says: “For over 100 years we have been serving the freshest oysters & seafood in NYC! Our Oyster Happy Hour features Bluepoint Oysters, $1.25/each”

Nestled beneath the buzz of the city’s most cherished (and photogenic) train station is the sprawling New York institution that is Grand Central Oyster Bar, which first opened back in 1913. Order your martini with a side of the catch of the day.

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Midtown East
2

Tiki at NoMad

If ever there were a king of tiki this side of town, it would undoubtedly be The NoMad Bar. Moody reverie sets the stage for bar director Leo Robitschek’s tiki bar creations, from classic mai tais to a house Forbidden Dance, so channel your inner tropics here at any time of year.

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Midtown
3

Penicillin at Death & Co.

The Penicillin, a new-wave classic, originated at now-closed institution Milk & Honey but has since taken on a new persona at NYC’s Death & Co. Order the native New York concoction—made of layered scotch whiskeys and lemon, ginger and honey—and take in the surroundings while you’re at it.

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East Village
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5

The Bronx at the Waldorf Astoria’s Peacock Alley

PSA: NYC’s Waldorf Astoria closes down in February for a massive renovation, so get there while you can. Order a classic Bronx (Bols genever, orange bitters, sweet and dry vermouth, and fresh orange juice) at Peacock Alley and say hello to The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book author Frank Caiafa, who can usually be found milling about.

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Midtown East
6

Southside at 21 Club

Manhattan’s 21 Club is both a former Prohibition-era speakeasy and a legendary institution; in other words, an essential NYC watering hole. The Southside cocktail—gin, mint simple syrup, lemon, mint leaves and soda served in a highball—is said to be a 21 Club original and has been among its most popular orders for the last century.

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Midtown West
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8

Martini at Bemelmans Bar

Another classic NYC institution: the martini. Pop in for a jazz performance at Café Carlyle and grab a nightcap at the world-famous, mural-adorned Bemelmans Bar. Bonus: If you order a martini, it’ll come with a sidecar of your drink’s overflow so you can top up at your leisure.

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Lenox Hill
9

Gin-Gin Mule at Pegu Club

Sick of run-of-the-mill Moscow Mules? Head to Pegu Club in Brooklyn, where house classic Gin-Gin Mules reign supreme. The gin-based riff delivers an elevated experience, and you’ll be in good company given the legendary team behind the bar.

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Soho
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