Best Tribeca bars
Where to drink in De Niro's 'hood.
Mon Apr 13 2009
Imbibe a well-curated selection of New World wines and microbrews amid the work of up-and-coming artists at this gallery-cum-lounge.
Slink underground to this red-lit, rathskeller for heady cocktails conjured by mixologists from cult favorite Angel's Share. While couples take to booths for Japanese nibbles (tuna tataki, fried oysters), the "bar chefs" craft Far East--influenced potions. Gawk at their see-through shakers as they pour drinks like the Groovy (shiso-infused vodka and yuzu juice) or the Giant Steps (wasabi-infused vodka and sake). Still peckish? Head upstairs to Tokyo Bar, where Japanese comfort food is served late. 277 Church St between Franklin and White Sts (212-219-2970)
Downtown booze connoisseurs frequent this so-called library, the only one we can think of where liquor lines the walls. A novella-size drinks menu lists a glossary of spirits and 100 cocktail options, among them the Corpse Reviver (gin, lemon juice, Lillet Blonde, Cointreau and Pernod) and the Jarnac Ginger (cognac, bitters and ginger beer). Paying $13 for one of these earns drinkers a basket of gratis gougres (warm cheese puffs). 25 North Moore St at Varick St (212-226-5545, brandylibrary.com)
The name of this huge, red-walled hangout refers to Tribeca's zoning ordinance, which permits trendy restaurants to coexist with warehouses. The mixed-use concept also applies to M1-5's crowd: Suited brokers shoot pool next to baby-faced indie screenwriters. Both come out for a full, well-stocked bar specializing in stiff martinis. 52 Walker St between Broadway and Church St (212-965-1701, m1-5.com)
At this venture from mixologist Jason Kosmas (Employees Only)the menu takes a separate-but-equal approach in its presentation of Chinese and Portuguese flavors—inspired by the cuisine of Macao, Portugal's last colonial outpost in Asia. Some dishes showcase one ingredient two ways, as in the flavorful but not groundbreaking prawns: the European version grilled in a wine-and-garlic-fortified cream sauce, the Asian rendition sauted sweet-and-sour. As for the sipping crowd, its focus is on the decadent drinks. A cloudy Mah-Johng, a Rob Roy rendition featuring Scotch sweetened with a splash of vanilla liqueur, is smooth but devastatingly strong; the gin-based Bashful Maiden, with its blend of elderflower liqueur, falernum syrup, lemon and pureed melon, is a mellower choice. The upstairs bar can fill up quickly; try the discreet downstairs lounge, adorned with Chinese erotica, instead. 311 Church St (between Lispenard and Walker Sts (212-431-8750, macaonyc.com)
Come for the beer (they've got a 99-label strong collection that includes brews like Chimay and Duvel) and stay for the chicken? The "Wing Ding" special promises two hours of unlimited, wings, fries and booze for just $22. It's a fine distraction...assuming the 15 flat-screens don't do the trick. 126 Chambers St between Church St and West Broadway (212-964-9464, mudville9.com)
Nancy Whiskey Pub
"Do me a favor," barks bartender Barry Foley. "If there's any glasses over there, get 'em." Have we got a job here now? A little communal spirit takes you far at Nancy's, where drinkers crowd around the shuffleboard game or pack in under the low tin ceiling of the upstairs loft, downing pints between bouts of dirty-glass duty for Foley. 1 Lispenard St at West Broadway (212-226-9943)
Smith & Mills
Employees Only owners Matt Abramcyk and Akiva Elstein have turned this tiny Tribeca carriage house into a 1930s-style bar and restaurant featuring a rustic European menu. 71 North Moore St between Greenwich and Hudson Sts (212-226-2515, smithandmills.com)
There's much more to running a drinks destination than a great cocktail. Which explains why this austere bar nails all of its drinks but flubs so much else. The drinks list features some inspired creations, like the Singer, combining muddled raspberries and rye, and the Sweeter Heater—a tequila cocktail with white pepper, basil and hot sauce. But only the basic bar snacks—dates wrapped in bacon, flaky spinach-cheese phyllo pockets—are solid food options. It's just as well that the rest of the grub is so hit-or-miss: The generic setting doesn't invite settling in, anyway. 111 Reade St at West Broadway (212-240-9194, ward3tribeca.com)