1. Paul Wagtouicz
    Paul Wagtouicz

    Holiday Cocktail Lounge

  2. Paul Wagtouicz
    Paul Wagtouicz

    The Holiday cocktail at Holiday Cocktail Lounge

  3. Paul Wagtouicz
    Paul Wagtouicz

    Mortally Afraid of Madams at Holiday Cocktail Lounge

  4. Paul Wagtouicz
    Paul Wagtouicz

    Holiday Cocktail Lounge

  5. Paul Wagtouicz
    Paul WagtouiczHOLIDAY COCKTAIL LOUNGE interior exterior
  6. Cocktail (Gabi Porter)
    Gabi Porter
  7. Gabi Porter (Gabi Porter)
    Gabi Porter
  8. Cocktail (Gabi Porter)
    Gabi Porter
  9. Cocktail (Holiday Cocktail Lounge)
    Holiday Cocktail Lounge
  10. Cocktail (Gabi Porter)
    Gabi Porter
  11. Cocktail (Holiday Cocktail Lounge)
    Holiday Cocktail Lounge
  12. Cocktail (Gabi Porter)
    Gabi Porter
  13. Cocktail (Holiday Cocktail Lounge)
    Holiday Cocktail Lounge
  14. Cocktail (Holiday Cocktail Lounge)
    Holiday Cocktail Lounge
  • Bars | Cocktail bars
  • price 1 of 4
  • East Village
  • Recommended


Holiday Cocktail Lounge

4 out of 5 stars
An iconic speakeasy turned bar that's served everyone from Al Capone to Frank Sinatra to Madonna.
Holiday Cocktail Lounge
Written by Time Out in paid partnership with Holiday Cocktail Lounge

Time Out says

Keeping a dive bar—and even a beloved one—alive in New York isn’t easy: Just look at the recent demises of Milady’s, Winnie’s and Mars Bar (RIP). Which makes the phoenixlike rebirth of Holiday Cocktail Lounge—a six-decade-old East Village mainstay whose barstools have seen the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Joey Ramone and Sinatra—such a head-scratching anomaly. Three years after the bar shuttered its dinted metal doors following the sale of the building, the saloon has been given a new lease on life, thanks to Pirate’s Booty founder Robert Ehrlich and La Palapa owner Barbara Sibley. And though the place has been spruced up—duct-taped booths traded for green banquettes, neon beer signs for gold sconces—the joint hasn’t been scrubbed clean of its charm.

ORDER THIS: While $5 Genesees survived the refurbishing, the cocktail list has been reworked courtesy of barman brothers Michael and Danny Neff (Ward III and Extra Fancy, respectively). The I Know You Are… ($13) is a standout, a smooth mescal swill with a slow burn of peppercorn-infused Cointreau. For something lighter, opt for the Mortally Afraid of Madam ($13), a creamy whiskey concoction tinged with Avuá Amburana cachaça and frothed with egg white.

GOOD FOR: Holiday virgins and veterans alike. Frequenters of the original will breathe easy seeing that the battered red awning, wooden phone booth and signature horseshoe bar remain. Beneath a restored harem-girl mural, dating back to the 1920s when the bar was known as Ali Baba Burlesque, dressed-down groups in their twenties and thirties convene over drinks at the back tables, the din of laughter regularly overtaking the ’80s deep cuts spilling from the speakers.

THE CLINCHER: “Honestly, we’re a hybrid between a cocktail lounge and a dive bar,” says a smiling waiter somewhat sheepishly. And he’s right—the prices are a few bucks higher and the drinks given more thought, but there’s not a speck of pretense to be found in the place. And there’s still East Village zaniness in spades: A recent night hosted a cards-slinging magician wearing nothing but a shiny red Speedo. The gleam-over-grit revamp—while still keeping the bar’s DNA intact—allows for an even broader crowd, which is exactly what a dive is all about. Holiday, celebrate.

Holiday Cocktail Lounge says
Welcoming and fun this historic bar is located in the heart of the East Village. Holiday Cocktail Lounge has been a long-standing neighborhood fixture. According to the NY Press, the lounge "quickly became a haunt for poets and intellectuals," with famous neighbors including W. H. Auden and Leon Trotsky. Craft Cocktails and cozy food in a friendly, elegant, dive bar.


75 St. Marks Place
New York
Cross street:
between First and Second Aves
Subway: L to First Ave, 6 to Astor Pl
Average drink: $13. AmEx, MC, V
Opening hours:
Daily, 3pm–12am
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