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Drinking might just be a New Yorker’s favorite hobby – mostly because there are endless options in New York City to imbibe!
From sticky dive bars to upscale cocktail bars, to Irish pubs crowded with suits and tourists after work to historical jazz bars – there’s something for everyone in NYC.
But because there are so many options, and because New York City is BIG, it can be hard to find the best bars in NYC.
Though if you’re up for the adventure, the ones that are a bit harder to find are usually the ones that are full of surprises when you do find them.
If you’re not sure what bars in New York City you should make sure you visit, then here are my top suggestions!
- Rooftop Bars in New York City
- Garden / Outdoor Bars in New York City
- Hidden Bars in New York City
- Unique Bars in NYC
- Map of the Best Bars in NYC
- More NYC Travel Tips:
Rooftop Bars in New York City
Looking for a bar with a view? Then you’re going to love these incredible rooftop bars in NYC!
1. 230 Fifth
230 Fifth is perhaps the most iconic of NYC rooftop bars, with a fully enclosed garden (aka open all winter long) and an absolutely incredible view of the Empire State Building and the entire upper Manhattan skyline.
You’re definitely paying for the view in the drink prices, so it’s unlikely that you’ll be tempted to become a local here – but it’s one of those places that makes it worth playing tourist, no matter where you live.
2. Gallow Green
Gallow Green is a magically luscious garden located on top of the McKittrick Hotel (home of the immersive show Sleep No More) in Chelsea.
It feels like you’ve escaped the concrete jungle for a fairy forest, especially since you might run into in-character actors from Sleep No More in the elevator.
3. Panorama Room
The best views always come from across the river, and that’s why I always recommend visiting The Panorama Room on the 18th floor of The Graduate Hotel, located on Roosevelt Island.
The bar offers exactly what it says on the tin – 360 degree panorama views of the New York City skyline.
The interior is relaxed with stylish modern furnishings – think glass tables and bright, open spaces. The outdoor deck is where it’s at, with gorgeous vistas.
The menu offers a wide range of cocktails, as well as a small food menu with small bites and snacks. You can also find a brunch menu if you’re after a liquid lunch.
One of the rare rooftop bars in NYC that is worth visiting in all seasons.
4. Mr. Purple
Mr. Purple is one of the trendiest rooftop bars in NYC on the Lower East Side! Prepare for it to take over Instagram feeds all summer.
With a swimming pool, a killer view of the Empire State Building, and a creative cocktail menu, it’s not hard to see (or taste) why.
Sit back and relax as the bartender serves you a refreshing cocktail from their rotating menu – think vodka, tequila, and martini based cocktails! They also have a selection of regionally brewed craft beers and a small international wine list.
5. Loopy Doopy
If you want to combine a classic summer dessert with your drink, head to Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar in FiDi: it’s famous for combining hipster-favorite, downtown Brooklyn-based People’s Pops popsicles with chilled prosecco or rose.
Located on the Hudson River (right above the hidden Irish Famine Memorial), it’s perfect to catch the NYC sunset.
Garden / Outdoor Bars in New York City
Looking for a bar with an outdoor terrace or balcony to view the impressive Manhattan skyline from? Then don’t miss these outdoor bars in NYC!
6. Brooklyn Crab
Brooklyn Crab brings all the best of the Maryland shore on the weekends when you can’t escape the city: the sprawling outdoor bar is one of many cool things to explore in Red Hook.
What I love about Brooklyn Crab is that it’s completely unpretentious and welcoming. The reclaimed wood furnishings and wooden benches create a relaxed and casual atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a few drinks with friends on a warm summer evening.
When it comes to food, think crab and lobster rolls, oysters, and plenty of Old Bay. It’s especially good if you have kids: lots of space for little ones to run around without disturbing the older ones drinking.
Roberta’s is a hipster pizza paradise that serves up great pizzas and pies all year long, but I especially like visiting in the summer.
This casual diner and bar has long picnic tables in the partially shaded courtyard that creates an especially convivial atmosphere.
Paired with a refreshing drink, and you’re onto a winner!
Bonus: there’s usually a blended frozen special drink of the day!
8. Bar Hugo
Whenever I’m missing my home state of California, I head up to the Bar Hugo, located on 525 Greenwich St opposite the Hudson River.
The super laid-back bar overlooks the cruise port, and between the boats and the warm breeze, and the cold beers on its outdoor deck, it feels like you’ve been magically transported to Southern California.
At night time, the bar is illuminated with hanging lights that reflect in its mirrors, adding an air of decadence to the overall aesthetic.
And if you want to actually drink on the boat, head down to Grand Banks, the last original salt bank fishing vessel which has been beautifully restored and is anchored off Pier 25.
It’s famed for the oysters and the seasonal cocktails, as well as the perfect golden hour light that seems to infuse happy hours here.
Hidden Bars in New York City
Are you looking for bars behind a hole in the wall, or perhaps somewhere with a hidden door? These hard-to-find speakeasy bars in NYC are worth the effort!
9. The Campbell
Maybe the most famous of the hidden bars in NYC (is that an oxymoron?), is The Campbell Bar
It’s secreted away in Grand Central Terminal in the refurbished office, and now looks like a 1920s salon with mogul features and vintage cocktails – and a dress code.
Make sure to dress the part.
This tour of the secrets spots in Grand Central Terminal include a peak at the speakeasy (and a secret tennis court!)
10. The Honorable William Wall
William Wall is not a bar you can stumble over: it’s located on a parked yacht in the middle of the Hudson.
You have to take a ferry to a small boat out to the launch (and purchase tickets to do so), but once you arrive, you feel like you’re in another world – because you really have left Manhattan behind.
You’re drinking! On a boat! In the middle of the Hudson! It’s especially fun to head out here with a group, although you’ll have to show up early to snag tables.
The first time I tried to find Dynaco, I walked by it three times without any luck. Now that I’ve found it, I never want to leave!
This cozy and warm English-tavern-inspired pub has a real homey feel to it. It has a fantastic fireplace and all the classic cocktails and the only food they serve is cake. Seriously.
It’s cash only, with a very old-school vibe (no fancy-infused syrups here), so plan accordingly.
Unique Bars in NYC
Are you looking for bars with an artistic flare? Or bars that transport you back in time through history? Then these are the most unique bars in NYC!
12. Ludwig Bemelmans Bar
One of the most artistic bars in NYC is Bemelmans Bar, which has been decorated with murals by Ludwig Bemelman, the author behind classic children’s books.
Located in the Upper East Side neighborhood, very close to Bryant Park, in the Carlyle a Rosewood Hotel, it’s an elegant lounge in the bustling city center.
The bar attracts some of the biggest names in society, from socialites to politicians to movie stars and more.
It has a $10 cover charge, and has regular live entertainment. When it comes to drinks, it’s martini’s are legendary!
13. Ophelia Lounge
Ophelia’s is a classy lounge 26th floor rooftop lounge in Beekman Tower that’s famous for its plush banquettes and incredible views from its 360 degree greenhouse terrace.
With its location overlooking the East River, it’s the perfect classy bar in NYC offering skyline views.
Ophelia’s is unique for its interior decoration. Built in 1928, its design has been inspired by the iconic art deco tower that it resides in. It is even said that like Frank Sinatra liked to drink here.
It was originally a womens-only club, but was opened to everyone in 1934 by Beekman Tower. Be sure to add it to your bucket list!
14. Zinc Bar
Zinc Bar is a popular jazz bar in NYC that has nightly entertainment. The club is known for its subterranean atmosphere, with African, Latin and Brazilian roots.
Nestled in the heart of Greenwich Village, this 1940s inspired jazz bar is where jazz greats made history, with former players being Thelonious Monk, Billie Holiday and even Frank Sinatra.
The atmosphere is electric, but the decor makes it feel like you’ve been transported in history. The bar has been decorated with vintage decanters and champagne chillers, and the seats are surrounded by small wooden tables with candles.
It’s the best bar in NYC to visit if you want a vibe!
Martinys is another 1920s inspired bar in NYC and has a warm and cozy atmosphere.
It was founded by Takuma Watanabe, the longtime head bartender of Angel’s Share, who is famous for his Japanese-style cocktails. They are quite possibly the most unique cocktail blends you will find in NYC!
The bar has been built in the art studio of Philip Martiny, a French-American sculptor, and the interior design is a respectful nod towards the history of the original 1800s carriage house that it once was.
16. The Sunken Harbor Club
The Sunken Harbor Club is a nautical-themed cocktail bar on the second floor of Gage & Tollner.
It opened in October 2021 and offers innovative and refreshing new takes on classic tropical cocktails, prepared by Chief Cocktail Officer, Garret Richard.
The space is intimate but in a casual way, with bar stools and corner seating, and drinks served in modern glasses or antique tumblers.
It’s quirky but in all the right ways!
17. The Bar Room at Beekman
The Bar Room is a sleek and stylish lounge bar in downtown NYC, on the 9th floor living room of the Beekman Hotel.
The bar has been designed with a 1920s Victorian aristocrat and city slicker vibe, with chandeliers and plush seating with warm lamps dotted throughout the place, and mahogany bookcases and Persian rugs.
On top of the warming atmosphere, it also has an outdoor terrace with incredible views of the city below. Enjoy a crisp cocktail under the warm night sky.
Map of the Best Bars in NYC
To help you find these bars in NYC and plan your visit, here is a map of all the top bars I mentioned in this guide.
More NYC Travel Tips:
Are you in need of more inspiration for your trip to NYC? Then you may enjoy these other resources!
- 5 best places to stay in NYC – from budget to luxury
- 10 places to eat in NYC for iconic food
- 14 coffee shops in NYC the locals love
- Romantic things to do in NYC
- 15 New York tips to save money
- 3 Day NYC itinerary for popular attractions
- How to save time and money on NYC attractions
- NYC accommodation from budget to luxury
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What do you think are the best bars in NYC? Let us know your suggestions in the comments below.