Arriving in New York City for the first time can be a dazzling experience, what with the constant bustle of traffic, towering skyscrapers, and the never-ending glow of billboards. New York has an abundance of enticing spots, from unmatched art galleries to the posh and imposing Lincoln Center, the trendy throngs of SOHO, the bustling charm of the East Village, the incomparable Central Park, and a myriad of restaurants serving cuisine from around the world. And, of course, there are countless bars and taverns, each with its unique style, partially concealed behind doors and waiting for visitors' curiosity. We've painstakingly compiled a list of nine bars with distinct New York flair, offering a reliable guide for those eager to explore the city's spirited nightlife. Each bar presents a signature drink, providing a taste of the city's diverse offerings.
POCHA 32, $$
Location: 15 W 32nd St # 2, New York, NY 10001
Editor's Pick: Watermelon Soju
Pocha is a well-known spot in Midtown for gatherings, serving classic Korean dishes alongside novel fruit soju options like watermelon and pineapple soju. Patrons love the traditional Korean fare, like barbecued meats and Budae Jjigae. It's a must-visit for any New York itinerary.
Location: 111 N 12th St 22nd Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Editor's Pick: Flashing Lights
Westlight sits at the junction of Williamsburg and GreenPoint in Brooklyn, offering unparalleled views of Manhattan's skyline. Enjoying the golden hues of sunset or the glittering city lights at night from the rooftop here is an exquisite moment of leisure and comfort. It's perfect for group outings with games like Jenga, Foosball, and Cornhole available. Although Westlight doesn't serve food, you can grab a bite at the restaurant downstairs.
RARE VIEW ROOFTOP, $$
Location: 303 Lexington Ave Floor 16, New York, NY 10016
Editor's Pick: Spicy Mango Rita
This rooftop bar in Murray Hill offers a stunning view of the Empire State Building and is a popular spot for Midtown professionals to unwind after work.
BREAK BAR, $
Location: 458 9th Ave, New York, NY 10018
Editor's Pick: Vodka Sour
True to its name, Break Bar is where you can release your pent-up energy by smashing glasses or venting in a designated room, a unique way to experience New York's nightlife.
THE POLYNESIAN, $$$
Location: 400 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036
Editor's Pick: Notorious P.O.G.
Located on the third floor of the Pod Hotel near Times Square, this Mexican Tiki-style cocktail bar transports you to the mysterious charm of a Mexican ghost town. Their variety of cocktails cater to all tastes, and the Tiki-style presentations are perfect for Instagram moments.
SURF BAR, $$
Location: 139 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Editor's Pick: Fresh Mint Frozen Mojito
If you're yearning for a beach escape in the heart of New York's concrete jungle, Surf Bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is your seaside haven under the sun.
230 FIFTH ROOFTOP BAR, $$
Location: 230 5th Ave, New York, NY 10001
Editor's Pick: Cucumber Mojito
When talking about rooftop bars in New York, 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar is legendary, boasting the title of New York's most extensive rooftop garden with a stunning view of the Empire State Building.
ANGEL'S SHARE, $$
Location: 8 Stuyvesant St, New York, NY 10003
Editor's Pick: Flirtbird
This speakeasy, hidden in the lively East Village, consistently ranks high on lists of top bars globally and is a staple for those seeking an authentic experience.
TOMI JAZZ, $$
Location: 239 E 53rd St, New York, NY 10022
Editor's Pick: Plum Wine
For jazz lovers, Tomi Jazz offers an intimate speakeasy setting with live performances every night, perfect for enjoying a drink and losing track of time.
This list encapsulates the essence of New York's bar scene, aimed at those looking to dive into the city's night-time allure. If you have any questions or additions, feel free to comment below!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most unique bars in New York City?
New York City's bar scene is diverse, with unique spots like Angel’s Share, a speakeasy tucked away in the East Village, and The Polynesian, which offers a tropical escape near Times Square. Rooftop bars like Westlight and 230 Fifth offer stunning city views, while themed bars like Break Bar allow for a more interactive experience with opportunities to smash glasses in a controlled environment. Whether you're looking for a classic speakeasy vibe or a stunning cityscape, NYC's bars provide an array of unique atmospheres.
How do I find a good rooftop bar in NYC?
To find a good rooftop bar in NYC, consider what you want in a view and atmosphere. 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar boasts expansive views and is known as New York's largest rooftop garden. For a more intimate setting with picturesque skyline sights, Westlight in Brooklyn is a great choice. Always check the bar's entry requirements, such as reservations or walk-in policies, and dress codes. User reviews and local guides can also offer up-to-date advice on the best rooftop bars in the city.
Are there any hidden bars in New York worth visiting?
Yes, New York is home to several hidden bars that are definitely worth a visit. Angel’s Share is one such speakeasy that has been a well-kept secret for over two decades, offering an authentic experience hidden inside a Japanese restaurant. Another hidden gem is Tomi Jazz, offering a speakeasy-style Japanese jazz bar experience. These bars often require a bit of searching or insider knowledge to find, which adds to the allure and sense of adventure in your New York bar experience.