The 23 Essential Bars in New York City: Summer 2017
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The 23 Essential Bars in New York City: Summer 2017

There probably are as many types of bars in New York as there are New Yorkers. With scores of bars opening every day, it’s a challenge to winnow down a short list of the essential ones. Still, we like to think these 23 bars represent the current best of New York’s many facets. Some are iconic, as much for the establishment as the drinks served. Others represent “new classics” that have shepherded the cocktail revolution forward and still offer an unmatched drinking experience today. There are also nods to great joints for beer or cider, plus a handful of newer bars where the drinks delight or surprise. Every spot on this list represents a place where you’d be glad to spend an evening bending elbows.—Robert Haynes-Peterson and Kara Newman

*Bars are listed alphabetically.

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Added by Bill Swersey

1.  Amor y Amargo

This little East Village bitters bar celebrated its fifth anniversary in spring 2016, and it’s still often standing room only and…
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2.  Attaboy

This Lower East Side spot originally housed Milk & Honey. When that bar closed, Attaboy opened in the same space, run…
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3.  Angel’s Share

This bar, secreted away on the second floor of a Japanese restaurant, is legendary as a cradle of the modern cocktail…
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4.  Bar Goto

It’s not often a bar reaches icon status on opening day. With Pegu Club alum Kenta Goto behind something as immaculately…
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5.  Clover Club

If you’re going to hit only one cocktail bar in Brooklyn (though it’s hard to imagine why anyone would do that,…
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Added by Erin Clark

6.  Dante

This iconic century-old Greenwich Village space was renovated instead of demolished, and refreshed with a new menu of Italian-inflected eats and…
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7.  The Dead Rabbit

The only cocktail bar worth schlepping down to the Financial District for is run by Irishmen Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon.…
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8.  Death & Co.

This dimly lit East Village spot is ground zero for speakeasy chic: Think bartenders in bowties and suspenders and sophisticated cocktails…
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9.  Dutch Kills

It’s worth the trek to Long Island City to indulge in drinks at this pioneering bar. Dutch Kills was one of…
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Added by Joanna Lin

10.  Employees Only

This neo-speakeasy, open since 2004 and featured in the film Hey Bartender, is a craft-cocktail haven offering serious drinks. But it…
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11.  Fresh Kills

NYC cocktail legend Richard Boccato (Milk & Honey, Dutch Kills) is behind this downright sexy neighborhood destination. From its custom-made raw…
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12.  Holiday Cocktail Lounge

Before it shuttered a few years back, Holiday Cocktail Lounge was an East Village fixture. Now the bar, a one-time haunt…
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13.  Leyenda

This pan-Latin cove from the Clover Club team feels as if you’ve stumbled on a local ex-pat hideaway somewhere deep in…
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14.  The Long Island Bar

This Cobble Hill spot features a painstakingly restored Art Deco bar and a relaxed, genial vibe. What was once a haunt…
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15.  Mace

Some bars focus on a specific spirit to set themselves apart. At this narrow space, the emphasis is on herbs and…
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16.  Maison Premiere

Whether seated at the horseshoe-shaped bar in front or in the garden out back, beneath a string of glittering lights, this…
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17.  McSorley's Old Ale House

It’s not a cocktail bar, so just order a beer. The sawdust on the floor and old-school bartenders exude an Irish…
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Added by Mike Costabile

18.  The NoMad Bar

This upscale but not overly fancy hotel bar, under the auspices of Leo Robitschek, anchors the burgeoning Nomad hood. The Elephant…
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19.  PDT

Since 2007, Please Don’t Tell has been one of New York’s most iconic bars and worst-kept secrets, with a speakeasy-style secret…
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Added by Jens S

20.  Pegu Club

Under the founding watch of proprietor Audrey Saunders, this Soho bar, named for a storied, late-19th-century British officers club in Burma,…
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21.  The Shanty

Before NYC cocktail legend Allen Katz opened New York Distilling Company, there was only one other bar in the country where…
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22.  Suffolk Arms

It took more than two years for veteran NYC barman Giuseppe González (Painkiller/PKNY, Golden Cadillac) to bring to life his personal…
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23.  21 Club

Since its inception as a Prohibition-era speakeasy in 1930, this swanky joint has served classic cocktails to celebrities and captains of…
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