Bar food

Don't settle for dry pretzels. Eat, drink and be merry.


An Beal Bocht Caf
Pints of Guinness and shepherd’s pie go down easy against the backdrop of this I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-really-Ireland oasis. Despite the proximity to Manhattan College, you won’t find unruly fratboys here—the superfriendly but ID-happy staff makes sure of that—just a slew of neighborhood regs who are more than willing to share a pint and listen to Thursday through Saturday’s live Irish folk music. 445 W 238th St between Greystone and Waldo Aves (718-884-7127,

Converting a pizza parlor near Yankee Stadium into a suave restaurant was not enough for the owners of Giovanni’s; they also added G-Bar, which is connected to their popular eatery. The snaking, illuminated bar downstairs allows the young crowd to mingle; small groups can find seating and table service upstairs. There’s live jazz on Thursdays, and DJs spin the latest R&B and hip-hop on Friday and Saturday nights. Be sure to try the gingerbread martini—containing ginger brandy, Stoli Vanil, Goldschlger and a splash of half-and-half. It will get your holiday revelry under way. 575 Grand Concourse between 149th and 150th Sts (718-402-6996,

During the day and into early evening, the old Irish bar-sitters at this comfy, no-nonsense watering hole are absorbed by keno and other lotto variations—the place is even equipped with a lottery checker by the door. Late one recent night, the only other woman to be found was the bartender, but the fellas were all perfectly polite. 5588 Broadway between 231st and 232nd Sts (718-548-9751)

Throgg’s Neck Clipper
Lined with life vests, anchors and, incongruously, plasma TVs, the Clipper (named for a fictional Irish-immigrant ship) is both sports bar and nautical-themed Old World pub. Add in a sea of locals and a full menu of comfort food (mixed grill, Irish breakfast) and you’ve got yourself a veritable port in NYC’s hipster-bar storm. 3599 E Tremont Ave at Sullivan Pl (718-829-0005)

The Yankee Tavern
The Yanks’ season is over, but you can watch Knicks or Rangers action on one of eight TVs as you enjoy some of the cheapest drinks in the ’hood (12 brews on tap and more than 30 bottled offerings). Start frequenting the place now and you can be a regular by the time the new stadium opens. 72 E 161st St at Gerard Ave (718-292-6130,



This out-of-the-way Soviet-themed haunt attracts a very specific crowd: The majority of patrons on an average night have wandered in from the numerous loft buildings in the area (the ladies from the neighboring Sisters of Mercy convent rarely stop by). But even if you don’t live across the street, the high-ceilinged room—filled with Communist propaganda murals and ’60s-style furniture—is worth checking out, as are the wide variety of events, which range from hip-hop shows and book-release parties to a monthly queer bash. 262 Taaffe Pl between DeKalb and Willoughby Aves, Bedford-Stuyvesant (718-398-6666,


Bar Tabac
This quaint, French-themed bar and restaurant is a pleasant surprise, resisting clichd references to berets, baguettes or bicycles. Low lighting and flickering candles add to the comfy atmosphere, while a French barman and football on the television add to the authentic brasserie feel. Expect to see some double-cheek kissing salutations, too. 128 Smith St at Dean St (718-923-0918,

The Brooklyn Inn
In a recent episode of Gossip Girl, the Brooklyn Inn starred as an old bar, which Vanessa fought to get landmark status for so that evil developers couldn’t tear it down. OMFG! Grab a bowl of the gratis nibbles and hole up in the corner by the window for an unrestricted view of young profs making merry at this relic of a pub, lined with a wooden bar built in Germany in the 1870s. Punch up a tune on the dynamic jukebox and join in a game of pool in the back room, or just order a pint and see who you can pick up. 148 Hoyt St at Bergen St (718-625-9741)

Building on Bond
The next great hangout for the Brooklyn yupster set, Building on Bond has been open for just a few months. It still has that new-bar smell and is so far free of the sticky floors, stinky bathrooms and chipped pint glasses familiar at more lived-in taverns. Drink fare is standard, but the tunes are choice: Any place you can hear the season-one theme song from The Wire and selections off The Big Lebowski soundtrack gets a thumbs-up. But don’t make this your end-of-the-night spot: It closes at 1. 112 Bond St at Pacific St (347-853-8687)

Pacific Standard
This California-themed watering hole changes its tap offerings weekly— perfect for keeping the sports-watching young patrons on their toes. If beer and football aren’t your thing, try the potent Blueberry Lemonade with seltzer and blueberry-and-citrus vodka ($8). Your chances of getting drunk are fairly high, but stick with the TV if you want to experience a home run. 82 Fourth Ave between Bergen St and St. Marks Pl (718-858-1951,


Jack the Horse
The bar at this warm corner spot is a little on the small side, but the large windows looking onto Hicks Street make it well suited for sipping red wine and watching the flurries on snow days (let’s pray for them!). The $10 cocktails, like the rye-fortified Frisco Sour, appeal to hard-nosed whiskey drinkers, while beers include old favorites like Victory Prima Pils and Captain Lawrence Pale Ale. 66 Hicks St at Cranberry St (718-852-5084,

Pete’s Waterfront Ale House
Most shops catering to thirsty longshoremen sell only grog and headaches. Pete’s bucks that trend with a nice beer selection, decent array of Scotches and even absinthe for our fancy Euro brethren. The burger-and-brew combo is always pretty sweet ($10.95 for the meat; $6 for a pint), as is the popcorn machine if you’re short on coin and want to nosh for free. 155 Atlantic Ave between Clinton and Henry Sts (718-522-3794)


Black Mountain Wine House
More French chteau than Brooklyn bar, the Black Mountain Wine House melds rustic charm with sophisticated taste. The intimate tables reek of romance; singles are better off slugging at the front bar—and come holiday season, sampling winter-weather wines and cheeses by the crackling fireplace. 415 Union St at Hoyt St (718-522-4340)

Brooklyn Social
If you’ve always dreamed of being a member of the Sicilian social elite (who hasn’t?), hit up Brooklyn Social, a bar that has snarkily preserved the snootiness of the 1930s men’s club it once was. The space is stacked with legit artifacts: Owner Matt Dawson preserved as much as possible from the men’s club, from framed photos to the fridge. Now that it’s oh-so-contemporarily coed, it’s a great place to mingle—and its sophisticated menu (and house-made eggnog come Christmastime) is sure to keep out the riffraff. 335 Smith St between President and Carroll Sts (718-858-7758)

The Jake Walk
The Jake Walk’s going for delicious—and achieves it with cozy surroundings, an uncommonly deep wine and whiskey list, and cured edibles from nearby Stinky Bklyn (owned by the same folks). The catch: You’ll likely learn firsthand what the stiff-legged, Prohibition-era “jake walk” feels like after the typically long wait for a table. 282 Smith St at Sackett St (347-599-0294,


Clover Club
A madhouse since its June opening (imagine, a bouncer on Smith Street!), this luxe throwback to the days of speakeasy charm earns its rep with expertly prepared drinks. Bartenders break out the swizzle sticks and homemade bitters for on-the-mark juleps, old-fashioneds, highballs and whiskey sours. The interior is retro: pressed-tin ceiling, dark mahogany bar, rich leather booths. Finally—a club worth joining. 210 Smith St between Baltic and Butler Sts (718-855-7939


Two words: hot lesbos. “We nicknamed the place 'Lesbian Island’ because most of the staff here are gay,” says Superfine bartender Lola RocknRolla (who also reminds us that drinkers of all feathers are welcome here). That—along with the orange-felted pool table, a constantly rotating drinks menu and straw-umbrella cocktails—is reason enough for us to label this swanky but unpretentious Dumbo go-to super-duper-fine. 126 Front St at Pearl St (718-243-9005)


Stonehome Wine Bar
Rose Hermann and Bill Stenehjem run this polished, high-design wine bar outfitted with Craftsman-style touches, such as a 40-foot cherrywood bar covered with Italian glass tiles. Stenehjem compiled the 200-bottle wine list, with 30 available by the glass and a few new ones for every season. Take the accelerated route via one of six flights. 87 Lafayette Ave between South Elliott Pl and South Portland Ave (718-624-9443,


The Bell House
From the owners of Union Hall and Floyd comes this mammoth bar and music venue, converted from its former life as a printing press and fly-by-night shipping company. Outfitted in deep reds and rich golds, it coos warm holiday cheer year-round, making it the perfect place for couples, singles and Manhattanites looking to spend some time in Gowanus. 149 7th St between Second and Third Aves (718-643-6510,


The Habitat
The quaint interior of this lodgelike spot brings the country inside, right down to an indoor “porch” attached to the kitchen. The food’s market freshness makes up for the predictable spread, which ranges from satisfying pressed sandwiches to hand-rolled empanadas that cram pork, ham, Swiss and pickles into two crunchy, corny heels—all the better to pair with one of 12 rotating drafts. 988 Manhattan Ave between Huron and India Sts (718-383-5615,

The Pencil Factory
If you’re looking for a dimly lit spot to savor single-malt Scotches and a conversation of actual substance, don’t pass by the Pencil Factory’s austere facade. Thanks to an unobtrusive soundtrack that pipes in everything from woozy dub reggae singles to old-time country tunes, it’s easy to get swept up in the carefully cultivated atmosphere here. Not to mention the hefty draft list—it would take four or five weak-kneed trips to tackle it. 142 Franklin St at Greenpoint Ave (718-609-5858)


Bar 4
At this shabby-chic hang, locals on broken-in couches unwind with pints of Delirium Tremens and Rogue Dead Guy Ale, as well as pressed-crisp Cubanos and Nutella-and-banana sandwiches. Paintings of music luminaries like Presley, Lennon and Cash signal the establishment’s sonic commitment, with a Tuesday open mike, Guitar Hero Wednesdays and weekend DJs spinning late-night. 444 Seventh Ave at 15th St (718-832-9800)

Beer Table
This is beer drinking for grown-ups. A small, well-curated menu offers a selection of artisan brews, mostly by the bottle, and with each drink comes a description that reads like wine-tasting literature. The diverse menu offers stalwarts like Dogfish Head alongside more obscure options like a dark, smoky Belgian Rochefort Ale—though picks change on a near-daily basis, so you may never drink the same thing twice. The draft selection is smaller, at about three offered daily, and each day’s menu is posted on the website so you can see what’s on tap before you go. 427B Seventh Ave between 14th and 15th Sts (718-965-1196,

The Dram Shop
Leisure pursuits reign supreme at Park Slope’s raucous sports parlor, where bros and beer geeks gather at the 33-foot wooden bar or in deep booths. While you watch the game, sip suds both lowbrow ($3 Miller High Lifes) and high: A dozen microbrews (Lagunitas, Sixpoint, Ommegang) are dispensed in icy mugs. If onscreen sports bore, there’s always shuffleboard, pool, darts and board games—not to mention a griddle-cooked, double-decker burger courtesy of a recipe from co-owner Clay Mallow’s grandfather Lynn. 339 9th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (718-788-1444)

Sheep Station
Hit up this rustic expat bar for some authentic Aussie charm. Covered in corrugated iron, it features aboriginal art, a gas fireplace and eats from Down Under, like lamb sandies, homemade meat pies, and a traditional burger topped with pineapple and fried egg. Locals go for a beer from the vast and varied selections on tap, but the wine list—including local, Australian and international choices—shouldn’t be discounted. 149 Fourth Ave at Douglass St (718-857-4337,

Sidecar resembles a diner from the outside, but step inside and you’ll find a large, comfy drinkery—a nice surprise on this stretch of Fifth Avenue. Focus on the “pub” part of this South Slope gastropub: With expert drinks like the Ramos Gin Fizz—gin, cream, lemon and egg-white whipped to perfection—it runs the risk of overshadowing the kitchen. Bar food doesn’t stray too far from diner fare, offering comfort classics like fried chicken and a turkey club. 560 Fifth Ave between 15th and 16th Sts (718-369-0077,

Union Hall
Though bocce courts attract feverish competitors, bargoers need not toss a ball to have one. In the upstairs library, which is bedecked with vintage globes and tomes, a roaring fireplace and leather couches provide perches to drink Captain Lawrence pints and Bloody Pickles (tequila and Bloody Mary shots, with pickle chasers). Downstairs, taxidermy dioramas set the mood for acts ranging from indie rockers to science lecturers. 702 Union St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (718-638-4400,


Plush red-leather banquettes and lacy black curtains give this small space a Jazz Age feel, minus the pretension of speakeasy-style joints. There’s a nice selection of draft beers (some seasonal), and a cocktail menu divided into tipples both “Classy” and “Trashy.” Fans of the former can sample the nook’s signature drink, made with grapefruit juice and bourbon, while less discriminating types can get bombed with a combo of cheap-ass beer and cheap-ass liquor. 601 Vanderbilt Ave at Bergen St, Prospect Heights (718-230-5170)

The anchor of Vanderbilt Avenue’s chain of watering holes is part hipster enclave, part neighborhood hangout. It’ll satisfy any drinker, assuming you can squeeze in—the bar is packed on weekends. Alt-rock fans will get a kick out of the jukebox, which is known to play an all-grunge revue (back-to-back Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Audioslave and Nirvana), while a modest menu sates appetites for greasy, ale-soaking treats. 629 Vanderbilt Ave between Prospect Pl and St. Marks Ave, Prospect Heights (718-230-8393)


Melody Lanes
Little details can distinguish one house of strikes from the next, and Melody Lanes has them in spades: the surly yet charming desk attendant, the obnoxiously colorful paint job, and the mlange of hipsters, rowdy teens and Orthodox Jews who mingle while looking for a choice ball. Come here to escape the prices and pretentious airs of Manhattan and trendy faux-dive alleys; the barrage of urban pop (courtesy of whoever’s controlling the juke), silly animations on the scoreboards and a bar that looks like it was plucked from JFK are all real-deal. Bartender Peter Napolitano, who dresses like a ventriloquist-cum-lounge-singer, has been making bowlers throw gutter balls for years, thanks to his liberal pouring of spirits. 461 37th St between Fourth and Fifth Aves (718-499-3848)


Huckleberry Bar
This cavernous space is painted a fugly taupe and filled with dorm-grade furnishings, but damn if you won’t get wasted on $10 cocktails. Harvey Wallbangers and Pisco Sours complement seasonal favorites like hot buttered rum and spiked hot chocolate, all expertly shaken by funereal bartenders (though the sober shtick clashes with the hand-clapping hip-hop DJs and funksters breaking it down in the enclosed backyard). Delish sandwiches are prepared right behind the bar—good luck resisting the scent of bacon when you’re tossin’ back the Beefeater—and brunch lasts till 6pm on Sundays. 588 Grand St at Lorimer St (718-218-8555,

Spuyten Duyvil
You’d never guess this homey little tasting room, furnished with flea-market treasures, is one of the top beer bars in the country (so say the 150,000 hops geeks on Chalkboards list unusual foreign brews; there are more than 200 in bottles and just six are on tap at a time. Ask the sociable suds guru on staff for a personalized recommendation, then settle in with small plates of meats, cheeses and other tasty accompaniments. Better still, try the seasonal spiced mulled wine, glhwein, and grab some takeout from the owners’ other establishment across the boulevard, meat mecca Fette Sau. NB: It’s pronounced “SPITE-en DIE-vil.” Besides being an area in the southern Bronx, it’s also the Belgian term for the town bar that takes all your money. 359 Metropolitan Ave at Havemeyer St (718-963-4140,



Good World Bar & Grill
This rustic spot plays to a Scandinavian theme (yes, in Chinatown) with rough-hewn wooden tables and a menu that offers meatballs and pickled herring. A giant stuffed caribou presides over the bar, but this place is chic; Miranda ate here in the Sex and the City movie. The ample selection of suds includes Swedish Pripps Carnegie, a bitter, chocolaty porter, along with a couple bubbly Belgians on tap. 3 Orchard St between Canal and Division Sts (212-925-9975,


Blind Pig
Hello, sports fanatic. We know you’re all, “Oh my God, I just need to watch the game.” Blind Pig relieves your plight with six flat-screen HD TVs and three megascreens. If you’ve got a group, snag one of the wooden booths, or if you’re flying solo, pull up a barstool next to your fellow desperate Brett Favre fan. A healthy selection of beers on tap and a list of cocktail classics (mint juleps, manhattans) aid in the celebration (or mourning), and the menu, jam-slammed with staple bar fare, means you won’t have to run out between games to get food. 233 E 14th St between Second and Third Aves (212-209-1573,

Bourgeois Pig
Plush, mismatched chairs surround tiny tables, and the red walls are lowly lit by a Chihuly-esque chandelier. Various sweet and savory fondues are served on plates full of sliced breads, vegetables and fruits, and go well with a bottle of wine (half priced on Monday and Tuesday nights) from the short but thorough list. 111 E 7th St between First Ave and Ave A (212-475-2246,

Grape and Grain
Nestled next to the beautiful 6th Street Garden, this small but sweet wine bar has an incredibly friendly neighborhood feel. Brick walls are lined with black-and-white paintings of the city, and the tiny tables are perfect for groups of two or three to casually sip on glasses from the bar’s international wine list. Light appetizers—such as a tangy, cool white-bean dip with seasoned pita chips, or a small artichoke-and-shaved-Romano pizza—are perfect for those looking to nosh while imbibing (i.e., everyone). 620 E 6th St between Aves B and C (212-420-0002)


Bin No. 220
Malbec-colored walls, exposed brick and metal, dim candle lighting and stem-free stemware render 220 a by-the-book wine bar, but fret not, oenophobes: The place features a full liquor selection. The wine list is divided, of course, into reds and whites and offers three different flights daily, but it’s also split further according to co-owners’ recommendations. A glass generally falls in the $8 to $15 range, and the menu includes olives ($6), antipasto ($10--$16) and panini ($7--$13) for a light nosh. 220 Front St between Beekman St and Peck Slip (212-374-WINE,

John Street Bar & Grill
John Street rocks an unpretentious basement vibe, offering pool, darts, a jukebox, dark corners for drunken shenanigans and daily specials galore (we like Thursday’s all-you-can-drink drafts for $10—a little too much). Blue and white collars mingle with tourists and the odd Century 21 widower. A team of loyal everyday (no really, every single day) regulars credit the bar for its cheap booze, tough-love bartenders and relaxed biker-meets--Wall Street atmosphere. 17 John St between Broadway and Nassau St (212-349-3278,

O’Hara’s Pub and Restaurant
The 25-year-old neighborhood staple has little to look at (we’d call it typical sports-bar chic), but what it lacks in ambience it makes up for in camaraderie and service. During the week, a steady stream of locals, construction workers and suits constitute the after-work scene, while tourists frequent the joint on weekend afternoons. This is the place to escape the demands of relatives in town for the holidays, or bring in the family for a pint, or four. Take note of the impressive collection of patches adorning the ceiling panels: In what has become a tradition since 9/11, rescue workers from all over the city contribute theirs to the installation. 120 Cedar St between Greenwich St and Trinity Pl (212-267-3032)

Trinity Place
As the mac-daddy circular door adorning the entrance reminds us, this subterranean Wall Streeter hang occupies a bank vault dating back to the early 1900s. Mellow Mondays and Tuesdays give way to packed happy hours later in the week, when you can look on as the regulars get as tanked as the stock market. In fact, every day the market closes in the red, all drinks are $3 from 3:30 to 5pm. 115 Broadway, enter on Cedar St between Broadway and Trinity Pl (212-964-0939,


Blind Tiger Ale House
This welcome break from the ice-cream, smoke and T-shirt shops lining Bleecker Street is a beer drinker’s heaven—there are more than 100 either on tap or bottled. Connoisseurs can pick a specialty brew from any number of countries, or stick with a domestic like Sixpoint or Sierra Nevada, all of which nicely wash down the kitchen’s small plates, such as deviled eggs, seven-pepper chili, or a toasted cheddar melt with roasted bacon, apple, onion and cheddar cheese. 281 Bleecker St at Jones St (212-462-4682,

8th Street Wine Cellar
For a spacious wine bar, this sub-street-level spot, labeled only by a painted sign on the sidewalk and a modest logo on the door, is awfully easy to miss. Inside, dozens of bottles—and a rotating group of 20 by the glass—are served by an incredibly attentive staff, led by two former Union Square Cafe barkeeps (cofounder Jonny Cohen is also a cartoonist whose wry doodles have appeared in The New Yorker). To its credit, this cellar lacks the snooty attitude that clings to some enotecas. 28 W 8th St between Fifth Ave and MacDougal St (212-260-9463,

Employees Only
Following the trend of faux-Prohibition bars, Employees Only is tucked away behind a psychic’s illuminated shop-front window. Cocktails are the tipples of choice here; Igor, a bartender sporting a mean gunslinger mustache, favors the Negroni, a smooth shake-up of vermouth, Campari and gin. For something to get you in the Thanksgiving spirit, try the ginger smash, a tart concoction made from Plymouth gin and Berentzen apple liqueur, ginger root and cranberries. 510 Hudson St between Christopher and W 10th Sts (212-242-3021,

124 Rabbit Club
Since the rest of MacDougal Street drips with more neon than the Vegas strip, you’ll need a sharp eye to catch the beat-up entrance to this underground hidey-hole for dirty beer nerds. Stay on your toes—it’s dark enough inside to catch your ankle on a barstool. The heavy rock music is a tad too loud for casual conversation, but it nicely drowns out the fratty free-for-all outside. Bring cash for the no-credit-card beer list, which meanders through the damp, beer-brewing parts of Europe—Scotland, Belgium, Germany. 124 MacDougal St between Bleecker and W 3rd Sts (212-254-0575)


This 4,000-square-foot bi-level space straddles the line between food and drink destination, but the thoughtful cocktail program tilts the scales toward the latter. High-end tipples include the Jezebel (rose-infused gin with strawberries, basil and Meyer lemon) and Pears and Herbs (cognac, lemon, and pear puree with sage and thyme). For the holidays, try the peppermint truffle: organic Rain vodka infused with mint and bittersweet chocolate. 244 E 51st St between Second and Third Aves (212-906-9066,

Attractive bartenders mix drinks like the elderflower lime rickey and the aai margarita amid canopied daybeds, striped couches and alabaster candles. An outdoor space may seem more suited for summer months, but the bar stays open all year—heated tents and two levels of indoor rooms keep the crowds coming. Since you were clearly wondering, the oversize, oval UFO chair was imported from Slovenia. There are only three chairs of its kind in the world, and it needed to be hoisted from 16 stories below using a crane. 251 W 48th St at Eighth Ave (212-956-1300,

Inc. Lounge
Three mini TVs loop ’80s rock concerts (Iggy Pop, Bowie) over a dimly lit lounge clad in white, black and red. Friendly young bartenders serve cocktails like the Inc. Julep to patrons munching personal pizzas and filet mignon skewers as they recline on vinyl couches. If you stand close to the black and red wallpaper and tilt your head at the right angle, hidden nude women are noticeable within the elaborate floral pattern. Time Hotel, 224 W 49th St between Broadway and Eighth Ave, second floor (212-320-2984,

Le Cirque Wine Lounge
The 2,000-strong red-wine cellar located in the center of Le Cirque Wine Lounge is upstaged by two phenomena that’ll make your eyes cross: statuesque couples sipping $18 martinis and a menu of holiday cocktails (we love the spiked eggnog) created by chief mixologist Bill Ghodbane. 151 E 58th St between Lexington and Third Aves (212-644-0202,

Salon de Ning
The main draw of this 1930s Shanghai-inspired bar in the Peninsula Hotel is its two terraces, outfitted with daybeds fashioned from ornately carved timber: One provides a Fifth Avenue vista, the other a view of the Hudson to the west. If you can’t stand the cold, come inside for holiday-themed drinks like the Poinsettia (framboise, champagne, and pomegranate liquor and juice) or the tiramisu martini, which will warm your insides with Absolut Vanilia, Kahla, amaretto and whipped cream. The Peninsula New York, 700 Fifth Ave at 55th St, 23rd floor (212-956-2888,


Filte Irish Whiskey Bar
This large (possibly haunted, just ask a bartender) pub distinguishes itself despite its seen-it-before “old country” decorations with a large selection of Irish whiskeys (24 on a recent trip) and specials like a noon--6pm happy hour, featuring plenty of drinks under $4 and free food during Monday Night Football games. There’s also trivia on Thursday nights, when the most important question and answer goes something like this: How much are your Bud Lights? One dollar. 531 Second Ave between 29th and 30th Sts (212-725-9440,


Peasant Wine Bar
Hey, bobo type: Trundle your date into this candlelit enoteca under Peasant restaurant. Brick walls, communal wooden tables and dim lights provide all the romance you’ll need, while a sturdy list of Italian wines coupled with DiPaulo meats and cheeses supplies the sustenance. If the wine leaves you and your wallet feeling empty, PWB offers free house-made grissini, Italian-style cheese bread sticks, to snack on. 194 Elizabeth St between Prince and Spring Sts (212-965-9511,

Pegu Club
Gin is the star ingredient at this second-story bar, apropos for a place meant to recall a British officers’ club in late 19th-century Rangoon, Burma. The original Pegu Club in Rangoon is mentioned in Rudyard Kipling’s From Sea to Sea (1899), where it is described as “full of men on their way up or down.” The decor here—brass lamps and carved wooden grilles on the windows—emphasizes that colonial vibe, but the prices (most mixed drinks are $12) befit modern times. 77 W Houston St at West Broadway (212-473-7348,


B Flat
At this jazz-themed basement hideaway, vest-clad “bar chefs” shake or stir classic cocktails (martinis, manhattans and mint juleps), as well as more exotic quaffs named after famous jazz albums or songs and flavored with wasabi, shiso leaf, yuzu juice and other Japanese ingredients. The drink menu is organized by base liquor, the food menu is Asian-influenced, and there’s live jazz on Monday and Wednesday nights and the prerecorded kind the rest of the time. Look for the sheet music to “Giant Steps,” the inspiration for a wasabi-infused vodka and sake libation, in a small frame by the door. 277 Church St between Franklin and White Sts (212-219-2970,

Brandy Library
Labels are the primary reading material at this candlelit library, where shelves (complete with those old-fashioned wooden ladders on wheels) are stocked with bottles, not books. Lifelong learners can enroll in “spirit school” seminars that explore the history and production of particular boozes, or just study the hefty, leather-bound volume (complete with glossary) that passes for a drink menu. 25 North Moore St at Varick St (212-226-5545,

M by Megu
Those prone to late-night indulgences should try the bottle service at this luxe lounge, presented in the style of a Japanese tea ceremony. Nibble on kobe beef sliders or Crunchy Rice Cake Poppers while peering down at the giant Buddha ice sculpture in the Megu restaurant downstairs. Or just sip on a Tokyo Celebrity (sugarcane shochu, champagne and lemon juice) and keep your eyes peeled for New York ones. 62 Thomas St between Church St and West Broadway (212-964-7777,


Bemelmans Bar
Live out your Mad Men fantasies at this clubby lounge in the Carlyle Hotel. Furnished in 1960s high glamour with leather banquettes, a piano and a 24-karat gold-leaf ceiling—not to mention murals by namesake Ludwig Bemelmans, best known as the author-illustrator of the Madeline children’s books—the bar is special-occasion pricey: $19 for specialty cocktails, $27 for a burger. That’s peanuts to the jovial crowd of pin-striped businessmen and well-accessorized women, who come for the society vibe and nightly live music. If you can afford to splurge for one night, the fuck-the-recession ambience here might be good therapy. 35 E 76th St at Madison Ave (212-744-1600)


The Shark Bar Restaurant
This small neighborhood bar at the front of a white-tablecloth soul-food restaurant has been drawing crowds of Caribbean transplants for 18 years. That’s because owner Lisa Cash, who started out as a hostess, knows how to balance upscale ambience with down-home service. Strong specialty cocktails include a subtle banana margarita and a rum punch, just like they make ’em on the islands. 307 Amsterdam Ave between 74th and 75th Sts (212-874-8500)

Go to Shrine if for no other reason than to order a Muslim Jew, a cocktail of vodka, Baileys, and chocolate and coffee liqueurs. But really, the bar’s rep as a music venue provides incentive enough; bands often play jazz or blues, with some gospel and reggae thrown in for good measure. Happy hour comes seven days a week, and lasts four hours: Just the way we like it. 2271 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd (Seventh Ave) between 133rd and 134th Sts (212 690 7807,



Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden
Prost! This authentic Czech beer garden (such an old favorite, it’s a clich) features plenty of mingle-friendly picnic tables, where you can sample cheap, robust platters of sausage, and of course, plenty to drink. Picnic tables, you say? Yes! The huge, tree-canopied garden is open year-round—we’re talking tents and heat. 29-19 24th Ave between 29th and 30th Sts (718-274-0043,

The sprawling outdoor patio at Cvo may be useless in the colder months, but the cavernous restaurant and lounge has plenty of off-season draws—not the least of which are an array of Bellinis (strawberry, raspberry, mango), a belly dancer (Sundays at 8:30pm) and an ever-present DJ spinning Greek-inflected world music. 42-18 31st Ave between 42nd and 43rd Sts (718-721-1001,

Hell Gate Social
Take care not to overlook this sleek Astoria bar, marked only by a discreet red light. Once inside, you’ll find creative drinks, such as the eggnogg martini (cream, pumpkin schnapps, brandy, cinnamon), and the rosemary-infused blueberry-vodka martini, priced to move at $6. Live music on certain nights, showcasing local artists and DJs, gives you a culture-based excuse for your lush-ous behavior. 12-21 Astoria Blvd between 12th and 14th Sts (718-204-8313,

Vino di Vino
Trattoria L’Incontro chef-owner Rocco Sacramone is behind this wine bar, outfitted with U-shape booths and dim lighting, which is adjacent to his restaurant. Sip one of 60 wines by the glass (including feisty amarones and smooth Australian shirazes) or one of 300-plus bottles, delivered by elegant waiters who expertly advise on cured meats and cheeses. 29-21 Ditmars Blvd between 30th and 31st Sts (718-721-3010)


Domaine Bar a Vins
Weary commuters need only stumble off the 7-train platform to find this restorative vino refuge. The intimate room, with its vintage lights and leather-topped stools, is an ideal setting for sipping from a selection of more than 40 wines by the glass (stored in antique wooden cabinets). In addition to nibbling from free plates of olives and splurging on iced oysters, customers can take in live jazz twice a week. 50-04 Vernon Blvd between 50th and 51st Aves (718-784-2350)

LIC has that old New York feel: exposed brick walls, antique wooden furniture and a fireplace, all dating back more than a century. Battle it out with fellow Gothamites at Thursday trivia nights, or simply stuff your face with house panini. 45-58 Vernon Blvd between 45th and 46th Aves (718-786-5400,

Lounge 47
Just one subway stop into Queens is a bar decked out in ’60s and ’70s furniture and vintage wallpaper from Holland. Reasonably priced cocktails include the LIC Long Island iced tea, spruced up with a hit of peach schnapps, and a full bar menu (shepherd’s pie, spinach and ricotta lasagna) pulls in folks from the neighborhood’s Silvercup Studios and P.S.1. Before you take off, guard against the winter chills with the Long Way Home: a warming dose of Captain Morgan and Frangelico swirled into coffee and topped with whipped cream and cinnamon. 47-10 Vernon Blvd between 47th Ave and 47th Rd (718-937-2044)


Bar 43
Stocked with an Irish staff and menu, this feels like a modern update of Sunnyside’s old-school pubs. Nine plasma screens give the place plenty of sports-bar cred and during peak hours, a spiffed-up crowd makes it feel kind of clubby—like, B&T clubby. More often, though, Bar 43 exudes a casual, friendly vibe. 43-06 43rd St between Queens Blvd and 43rd Ave (718-361-3090,


The Cuckoo’s Nest
Every hour is happy hour at this predominantly Irish tavern. Much of the wood-paneled interior has been given over to a dining area, but the close-knit regulars prefer to sip their beer at the bar. Friday through Sunday nights bring free live pop and rock music, and a DJ on Saturday night spins house. 61-04 Woodside Ave at 61st St (718-426-5684)

Donovan’s Pub
The Tudor-style facade tucked right under the 7 train is hard to miss, and you wouldn’t want to—the quintessential Irish pub inside draws its charm from an Emerald Isle staff, multiple roaring fireplaces and a labyrinthine, wood-paneled interior. A lineup of regular locals and one damn good burger seal the deal. 57-24 Roosevelt Ave at 58th St (718-429-9339)

Saints & Sinners
There’s plenty of space for penitents of all persuasions at this expansive spot. Locals are drawn in by Irish bands on weekend evenings, and every other Wednesday is the pub’s quiz night. The menu features organic specials including a moist, delicious roasted chicken—but after a few lethal apple martinis, you won’t be feeling virtuous for very long. 59-21 Roosevelt Ave at 60th St (718-396-3268)


Adobe Blues
Owner Jim Stayoch, a former set designer, has re-created a bit of the Southwest in Staten Island: Look for faux-adobe walls, a kiva fireplace, live music, the famous margaritas, a long list of tequilas, 200 beers and the signature snack—beer-soaked “drunken shrimp.” 63 Lafayette Ave between Fillmore and West Buchanan Sts (718-720-2583)

Cargo Caf
You’ll know you’re at the Cargo because it’s the only electric-blue building in St. George (or anywhere?) with a picture of a scary toddler painted over the door. That’s not the only interesting piece of decor: Sharp-eyed patrons will notice a digital clock over the bar. Recently, the time read 3748:02:25:33. It’s supposed to count down to when a meteor is going to hit the Midwest, according to the bartender. “When it gets to be all 9s or all 7s or something, people just drink a lot,” he says. Drink specials abound: For Monday Night Football, it’s 50-cent pints of Miller Lite until someone scores a touchdown. Mondays through Thursdays, it’s $2 High Lifes after 10pm; Sunday is for trivia. There’s also pinball, a pool table, one of those fancy digital jukeboxes and, in classic Staten Island form, Jgermeister on tap. Who needs Manhattan, anyway? 120 Bay St at Slosson Terr (718-876-0539,

Corner House
Open since 1939, the Corner House is a traditional locals’ bar. “My grandfather brought me here when I was a boy, and now I bring my own grandkids,” one patron reports. “It’s pretty much the same.” The dining room’s burgers, neighborhood favorites, start at eight bucks; seafood entres are pricier. 102 Lincoln Ave at North Railroad Ave (718-667-9856)

Jade Island
A tiki bar downwind from the Fresh Kills Landfill may not be the ideal spot to appreciate a sea breeze, but this irony-free place could help you forget the chilly season—and local geography. Take a seat in a bamboo booth illuminated by a taxidermic blowfish lamp, and enjoy rum drinks served in coconuts or hula-girl glasses. 2845 Richmond Ave between Platinum and Yukon Aves (718-761-8080)

Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn
Serious brew lovers make the trek to this 19th-century beer hall’s handcrafted mahogany bar to pick from the frequently updated roster of suds, ranging from hard-to-find German and Czech brews to American lagers like Fat Dog Stout. There’s a full menu of meat-and-potatoes beer ballast, too. 4254 Arthur Kill Rd at Sharrotts Rd (718-984-1202,

Martini Red
The Monday night open mike (bring your guitar, jokes, or random-ass party tricks) has become a mainstay at this artsy hang, which on other nights hosts local bands, comedy and songwriter showcases, and an excellent DJ. Culturephobes can stick to the pinball machine and rotating cast of beers. 372 Van Duzer St at Beach St (718-442-0660,

R.H. Tuggs
On the shores of the Kill Van Kull, directly across from the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, you can grab a $2 beer, park yourself in front of a window and take in the majestic view of Jersey’s oil refineries. Daytime brings in the boating and Borough Hall regulars. 1115 Richmond Terr between Bard Ave and Snug Harbor Rd (718-447-6369)


They need a drink!
From Cosmo girls to finance guys, these recent victims of cutbacks share their picks for where to buy yourself (or them) a cocktail (or two).

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