WHY HERE: Secreted upstairs, behind a nondescript door, inside a Japanese restaurant. The bar, with its meticulous and attractive Japanese-influenced drinks, was arguably the birthplace of NYC’s modern cocktail revolution, and it’s still going strong.
WHY NOW: You’ll still usually find a wait to get in, but a recent expansion next door makes it easier to snag a seat. Polite, welcoming service and top-notch cocktails like the Buena Vista (burdock-infused mezcal, mace, ginger, lime juice and tonic water) make you feel like the only guest in the room. It’s even better with a date.