Bars are a crucial part of New York City—they allow us to cozy up with a hot toddy by a fireplace during winter and give us cold beer and rooftop views come summer. The best ones are the places you can pound back pints, taste a new wine or find a cocktail that wows.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Time Out New York's Bar Awards
For our first annual Bar Awards, we’ve enlisted industry experts to help crown NYC’s top spots. (Look out for the winners next month.) But no list would be complete without your input—for our Readers’ Choice award, thousands of you nominated your favorites, then voted on the top 40. Now it’s down to five—one in each borough. Here are your finalists. Get drinking and go vote. (Or maybe vote, then go drink!)
This Chinatown watering hole from the pros behind the Lower East Side’s Whiskey Town and Brooklyn’s Whiskey Annex prides itself on comfort and simplicity. The menu features cocktails, draft beer and picklebacks, and snacks like a bowl of bacon (Omigod), fried pickles and Tater-Tots. 79 Baxter St (whiskeytavernnyc.com)
At Bushwick’s mammary-themed mecca, draughts come out of a topless mannequin, and troll dolls and plastic dinosaurs hang from the gold zebra-printed walls. Plus, the Southern-inspired grub is delicious, and the tall-boys are cheap. 308 Bleecker St, Brooklyn (boobietrapbrooklyn.com)
Flagship Brewing Co.
Staten Island’s craft brewery boasts eight sudsy varieties, from IPA to American Wit. Visitors can tour the facility on Sundays or grab a pint at the tasting room, which is open Thursdays through Sundays. 40 Minthorne St, Staten Island (theflagshipbrewery.com)
Bronx Beer Hall
Located in the Arthur Avenue Retail Market (an old-school bazaar in the Bronx’s Little Italy), this bar’s menu is strictly local: All beer is brewed in New York State, and food is made by vendors within the market (think Italian paninis and brick-oven pizzas). 2344 Arthur Ave, Bronx (thebronxbeerhall.com)
Judy and Punch
The popular Astoria haunt, which opened last August, has already made its way to the top of the Queens heap. The bar boasts 15 rotating drafts, $10 cocktails, free popcorn and a weekly trivia night. 34-08 30th Ave, Queens (judyandpunch.com)