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Holiday Cocktail Lounge

Bars, Cocktail bars East Village
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
Holiday Cocktail Lounge
Venue says An iconic cocktail lounge/bar located in the heart of the East Village, Manhattan NYC.

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

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
Built in 1835 and 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.

By: Tyler Anderson



Address: 75 St. Marks Pl
New York
Cross street: between First and Second Aves
Transport: Subway: L to First Ave, 6 to Astor Pl
Price: Average drink: $13. AmEx, MC, V
Opening hours: Daily 4pm–4am
Do you own this business?

Users say (2)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

No frills bar that has been playing great music the last few times I went- I've only ever ordered a beer here- Usually quiet enough to come with a small group to catch up!


It's so fun here! Amazing music selection plus the cocktail are da bomb. The only reason I'm giving this a 4 and not a 5 is because unless its super crowded it just feels sort of weird inside - like if all the tables and bar area are full then there's a whole front area where people are just standing. I wasn't there when it was crowded (it might've been right after Thanksgiving come to think of it) but we didn't have enough seats at the beginning for our group so it made the dynamic a little odd. Definitely has that dive bar feel but cocktail bar drinks (and prices)