5.17.18 / New York / New York

Where to Drink in NYC: Spring 2018

New York’s most exciting new additions.

  • [Broken Shaker, photo by Adrian Gaut]

  • Spring always symbolizes new beginnings, and in New York hospitality that means a bevy of new watering holes where people can toast the season. If it feels like it’s the best time to go out in the city, it’s because it is, thanks in part to the great new options that are worth exploring. From breezy hotel rooftop bars to the alluring subterranean lounges, these are the places you’ll be drinking all season long.

    Peachy’s

    Summer be damned, there’s always room for a basement bar in New York. Where there’s space, you’ve got to take it, and that’s what the Chinese Tuxedo crew have done with their basement. Peachy’s is the latest in a string of bar additions to buzzy restaurants, making them bonafide hotspots. This one brings some Asian-fusion snacks such as dumplings with tomato and mozzarella and Japanese-style falafel, but the star of the show is the ‘elixir’ cocktail menu, with each drink infused with superfoods like Astragalus and Moringa (alongside regular cocktails for those who want to get right to the point). The pink and floral decor is on trend, and has the makings of the perfect summer hangout.

    5 Doyers Street

    Broken Shaker 

    With all the cocktail institutions NYC already has, it’s not often that we’re excited to receive an outpost from another part of the country. But following Miami, Los Angeles, and Chicago, we finally have a Broken Shaker of our own. The bar, founded by Bar Lab’s Gabe Orta and Elad Zvi, has received universal acclaim in Miami (receiving 2 James Beard Award nominations) and is often featured on World’s Best Bar lists. Now perched atop the Roman and Williams designed Freehand New York, Broken Shaker brings its signature Caribbean vibe (patterned wallpaper, wooden accents, vintage furniture) while adding a 360 degree view of Manhattan skyline and a menu that lives up to its reputation.

    23 Lexington Avenue (at the Freehand Hotel)

  • [Elsewhere Rooftop]

  • Primo’s

    In the years since the Lower East Side became an playground for post-grads, few bars in the neighborhood have had the appeal of Mr. Fong’s. Tucked away in the east of Chinatown, it’s small, without frills, and far from everything else, but you still always end up finding the coolest New Yorkers there at 2am. Now founder Asia Shelley is drawing that same crowd to another untapped neighborhood, Tribeca. With his new bar Primo’s at the Frederick Hotel, he’s created a bar that feels like it’s been there forever, and thanks to Camilla Deterre’s interior design, adds a level of style to Tribeca that’s been long missing.

    129 Chambers Street (at the Frederick Hotel)

    Elsewhere Rooftop

    There was a time not too long ago when new dance-club-slash-concert-venues were opening in Brooklyn every few months, trying to capitalize on the surge of popularity with electronic music. Elsewhere opened just under a year ago, after half of those clubs have already disappeared. Their approach is more focused on the selection of performers, some locals, some major acts, and a mix between bands, producers, and DJs. This summer they are debuting their rooftop, surely the best of its kind in Bushwick. The ultimate Brooklyn hotspot has arrived.

    599 Johnson Avenue, Brooklyn

    Existing Conditions

    More and more bartenders fit the description of ‘mixologist’ these days, but few have earned the reputation of Dave Arnold. Most people might recognize that name from the now-shuttered Booker & Dax, the experimental cocktail bar tucked away behind Momofuku Ssam that received universal acclaim. Now, teaming up with Don Lee and Greg Boehm, Arnold is serving up an array of drinks in different spaces within Existing Conditions. From carbonated cocktails, to a vending machine with alcoholic drinks, to non-alcoholic cocktails, each brings his eclectic style to his most accessible space yet.

    35 West 8th Street

    Holy Ground

    We wrote about Holy Ground’s summer pop-up last year, but their first permanent location is finally opening up next month. Only a couple of blocks away from Primo’s, Holy Ground furthers the new appeal of the Tribeca neighborhood.  Though it operates primarily as a restaurant, founders Franco V and Nathan Lithgow have developed a bar that will be as much of a focus as the food. The below-ground space evokes a bygone era with early 20th century design touches, and the cocktails follow suit. You won’t have to worry about menu bloat; classic, spirit-forward cocktails are what you want to order here and the team ensures that each recipe is refined to perfection.

    112 Reade Street

  • [George Washington Bar, photo by Adrian Gaut]

  • Mikkeler Brewery

    We don’t often take sides when it comes to New York sports teams but if there’s one reason the Mets get an advantage this season, it’s Mikkeler Brewery. The Danish brand is famous in the craft-beer industry, as arguably the best independent brewery in the world. Their main rival is Evil Twin brewery (who are opening a brewery in Ridgewood this summer instead of the more appropriate Yankees Stadium), and the founders of both happen to be brothers who have had a famous and long-standing feud. But don’t let that distract you from the quality output here; the selection will rotate but you can be sure that anything you get will hit the spot on a hot day at the ballpark.

    123-01 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing

    The Polynesian 

    Major Food Group is continuing its meteoric rise in NYC food and drink culture with The Polynesian, their version of the ultimate Tiki bar. Located in the Pod Hotel on 42nd Street, The Polynesian has MFG’s refined aesthetic, with a Tiki twist: a turquoise bar, intricate details based on Polynesian masks, hand-painted murals of Oceania’s landscapes. These all create the perfect ambiance for Tiki expert Brian Miller’s signature cocktails, which take advantage of one of the largest rum collections in the city.

    400 West 42nd Street (at the Pod Hotel)

    George Washington Bar

    The second Freehand New York bar on this list is run by Gabriel Stulman, known for transfixing the West Village over the last decade with Fedora, Bar Sardine, and Fairfax among others. Situated in the Library Room of what was formerly the George Washington Hotel, the aptly named bar is the elegantly brooding counterpart to the bright and tropical Broken Shaker. Here you can get an aperitif with fino, amontillado, and apple (Baby Creed), a savory drink with carrot and harissa (Sultan of Swing), or a boozy cocktail with Ardbeg and black pepper (Babe and Bunyan). The stylish interiors will be the setting for late nights that will extend long past the season.

    23 Lexington Avenue (at the Freehand Hotel)

  • [The 18th Room]

  • The 18th Room

    Bathtub Gin has been one of the most popular ‘speakeasies’ that has actually operated as a speakeasy for the better part of the last decade. Unknowing partygoers on their way to Meatpacking District might wonder why there’s a line outside of a coffee shop, but it has served as a respite from the neighboring clubs just a few blocks south. Now owner Dave Oz has opened his second bar, 18th Room, conveniently located next door. There aren’t any lines at this one; the reservation-only bar is focused on the elevated cocktail experience, using uncommon spirits to create unique versions of classic cocktails that make use of seasonal ingredients.

    134 9th Avenue

    The Woodstock

    The Meatpacking District is always changing, but thankfully there’s been a slow shift taking place in the last couple of years from a clubbing district to a more casual food and bar scene. The Woodstock is the latest in that transition, offering one of the few cocktail-focused bars off the Highline. The theme here is the ’60s, from the decor to the $10 cocktails (the Helter Skelter, the Lucy In The Sky, etc.). Sure, it’s a little kitschy, but The Woodstock commits to its style and that’s what makes it fun—more-so than most of its neighbors. Plus, who doesn’t want a little escapism into the swinging ’60s?

    446 West 14th Street

    Ophelia

    Midtown east may not be where you expect to find a cool new bar, but even members of the General Assembly need to lounge in style. Located on the roof of The Beekman Tower, a historic Art Deco building blocks away from the UN, Ophelia captures the glamour of the 1920’s and repurposes it for a modern crowd. If the chic look and the panoramic city views aren’t enough of a draw, the menu delicately brings together elements from ingredients like Mizo shochu, smoked Jamaican pepper mezcal, or plum bitters to create exquisitely crafted cocktails.

    3 Mitchell Place