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Illustration: Alex Citrin

This is what the perfect New York bar would look like

Time Out New York staffers weighed in to build the perfect watering hole. Now we just have to find the real-life version.

Written by
Tazi Phillips
Time Out New York contributors

Have you ever spent five minutes in a bar in New York and thought, “You know what this place is missing?” We’ve all been there. From items in our favorite dive bars to creative cocktail menus, we asked the Time Out New York staff to pick their must-have ingredients for the perfect bar. 

01 Nondigital jukebox with mixes
02 Dim lighting
03 Music volume that fosters chats
04 Buybacks
05 Bathroom graffiti
06 Mirror in the bathroom
07 Retro beer lamps
08 Coat hooks under the bar top
09 Leather booths
10 Cocktails with ridiculous names
11 Takes credit cards with no minimum
12 No televisions
13 Bartender who’s seen it all and been there forever
14 Taxidermy
15 Happy hour until 9pm
16 $5 beer-and-shot combos
17 Menus for delivery
18 Free-condom bowl
19 Fresh cocktail ingredients
20 Photos of the old ’hood
21 Reclaimed wood fixtures
22 Beautiful tap handles
23 Cool bar matchbooks

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