Cocktail experiences you should have in NYC
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. Overseen by renowned Sydney-born Naren Young (AvroKO), the bar program centers on the European tradition of the afternoon aperitivo, which is showcased finely through a daily negroni session happy hour from 4pm to 7pm.
ROKC (“ramen, oysters, kitchen and cocktails,” FYI) is an unadorned semi-subterranean room, paint cracking on its white walls and a handful of two-tops crammed at its long wooden bar. But the lounge from the Angel’s Share vets serve some of New York’s most stunning drinks in one of its sparsest barrooms. The Tomato/Clam registers like a smoky Bloody Mary, with mescal, a hit of wasabi and copious cracks of black pepper inside a big, beautiful seashell.
The Aviary NYC is a sweeping 35th-floor Olympus that looks like Don Draper art-directed The Jetsons while listening to Carly Simon’s “Let the River Run” on loop. It does a lot of big things fantastically. The Science A.F. ($25 on a menu where the cheapest cocktail is $18), a pyrotechnic Rube Goldberg chemistry set of a drink—fire! fog! suction!—is not just a presentational spectacle but also allows customers to see their drink’s flavors birthed before their eyes.
Order a drink and the barman does something odd: He offers you an ashtray. Yes, it’s a legal cigar bar. Beer glasses are frosted, martinis are shaken, and the selection of single-malt Scotches and cognacs is topflight.
East Village staple Amor y Amargo pays homage to the underdog of spirits: bitters. Not only does it lace many a cocktail with said liquor accoutrement, but it also plays home to what is arguably the city’s one and only bitters flight...one that’s not to be missed for any reason.
Take the dedicated elevator at the William Vale Hotel 22 stories up to the industrial yet swank space—set with black-and-white tiled floors, bright globe lights and a beamed ceiling—to experience a hotel rooftop bar that has all the goods to be a standalone New York cocktail den.
The dinner-and-a-movie experience from the city's newfangled cinemas are now being taken one step futher. Moviegoers can order rotating film-themed cocktails to accompany your specific screening. We've spotted specials at Nitehawk Cinema, Alamo Drafthouse and the Metrograph.
Soak up the Old World vibes at Little Branch on Seventh Avenue South, where various iterations of live jazz happen Sunday through Thursday. It’s the perfect NYC experience for dates or solo outings, and it’s guaranteed to be memorable regardless of what’s in your glass.
Whether you’re a New York native or a frequent visitor, chances are you’ve heard of Employees Only, a Manhattan original that was one of the few to spark an entire cocktail movement. Should you find yourself here on the right evening, you’ll be in the company of the house tarot card reader, who will probably tell you your future is looking a bit hazy after all those daiquiris.