14th St. btw 2nd and 3rd Ave.
A “gastropub” that is joining the ranks of other “gastropubs” in this neck of the woods, though this might be the most crowded with younger people out of them all. The crowd ranges from fresh out of college to business kids, standing around for either your generic cocktail or one of many taps. Staff is friendly, big space with seats in the back and a front bar area that has good turnover on stools but maintains the number of patrons. Above average taps, taste alright, above average prices.
3rd Ave. btw 12th and 13th St.
A decent sized bar that is a bit more subdued that it’s neighbors, which helps to draw a different crowd (slightly older, quieter, and more room to maneuver). It’s just a basic bar, some tables in front and back, friendly service. Above average beers at slightly above average prices, taste fine.
St. Mark’s Pl. btw 1st Ave. and Ave. A
This place changed from the Village Joker before I even had a chance to go in there, so lets hope it fares better. Went in around happy hour and I was the only costumer. Went by again on a weekend, still empty. It’s one open space, not as lively as its neighbors, friendly bartender. Average beers at average prices, taste fine.
59th St. and Broadway
One of two bars in the Time Warner Center, this one has a pretty sweet view, though definitely lacks in space. If you can’t get one of the few tables here, there about 8 bar stools to try and grab, otherwise you’re out of luck. All wine and cocktails, crowd is older with an occasional tourist tossed in. Service is friendly, drinks a little pricey (~$13 for a cocktail), taste fine.
44th St. btw 8th and 9th Ave.
Used to be the Irish Rogue, but they’ve opened the space a little (and construction still looks ongoing) so it’s a little more room to breathe in here. Still the same good amount of sports available, good amount of space to sit, service is friendly. Average and above average beers on tap, average prices, taste fine.
Essex St. btw Rivington and Stanton St.
It’s an arcade with beer, and that’s about it. Games ranging from old to older, usually crowded and gets a little tight but I never had to wait long at all to play. Crowd ranges from 20’s to 30’s to gamers. There’s booze in the back, average taps at average prices, taste fine.
Essex St. btw Rivington and Stanton St.
Used to be Mason Dixon, and its thankfully very different. While they may be the worst hidden bar (can’t tell if they’re going for the speakeasy thing with the tiny store up front), its by no means the worst. This place is usually always packed, whether you’re here for brunch or to grab a bite while packing in to this large space. Tables in back, bar area up front, all filled to the gills. Food good, service good as well, above average drinks at slightly above average prices, taste fine.
Nurse Bettie (Norfolk St. btw Delancey and Rivington St.)
A decent bar/lounge that caters to those looking to avoid the louder Essex Street scene, or to those just passing through on their way to another bar. Decent sized space with seating all around, friendly staff, crowd is 20’s and 30’s. I can’t vouch for the Burlesque shows that go on here, just throwing it out that they do have them (guess we were too early on a Saturday), but when I passed by during one, the place was packed. Above average drinks at slightly above average prices, taste fine.
Norfolk St. btw Delancey and Rivington St.
Speakeasy’s, take note. This is how it should be. If I’m not walking through a back alley or don’t have an opportunity to move a bookshelf, you’re just a basement bar. Anywho, make your way past said alley into a pretty big space holding a mixed crowd of young and old. Good place to hang with a group of friends, cocktails at average prices (~$11), taste fine.
Sunita Bar (Norfolk St. btw Delancey and Rivington St.)
I’ve walked by multiple times and it’s been open, so I can’t confirm that the business hours are whenever the owner would like to open. That aside, there’s really not much to the place. Basically a small open room, a few seats away from the bar, basically just feels like a place to wait before heading elsewhere. A quiet bar compared to its neighbors, average drinks at average prices, taste fine.
Clinton St. btw Houston and Stanton St.
This is a pretty interesting idea. It’s an art gallery/performance space with a small bar up front. They thankfully allow you to wander the galleries with your drink, and even have some space to sit down amongst the displays. Staff is nice, above average drinks at slightly above average prices, taste fine.
48th St. btw 6th and 7th Ave.
This bar must purely exist for events or for people who work in the neighborhood to pretend to be big shots. You enter into a decent sized space lined with booths for bottle service, and lots of people in suits dropping $14 for cocktails. The scene is business kids, staff is very attentive, cocktails at above cocktail prices (~$13), taste alright.
45th St. btw 8th and 9th Ave.
The latest in the line of Beer Refrigerator’s comes to Hell’s Kitchen. Thankfully, this one is a little livelier than others. You go in, you can buy six packs, you can buy beers on tap, and they have sports on TV. It’s not the biggest of spaces, it can get crowded, which it usually is, and the crowd is late 20’s and up. Above average beers and craft beers, above average prices, taste fine.
8th Ave and 45th St.
New bar to the 8th Avenue scene (is there an 8th Avenue scene?) that is just like any other sports bar. The difference is that while it offers nothing different (not a bad thing), it has crammed this place full of tables and there’s actually a VIP section. I get it, rent is too darn high (copyright avoidance!) but, when you’re in here, you’re cramped into a small standing space next to many empty tables. The crowd is older with some spill in from people on their way home to the Port Authority and theatre goers, service is pretty good, average beers at average prices, taps could use a cleaning.
10th St. btw Greenwich and 6th Ave.
Two floors of bar here. The top floor is an island bar with some decent standing space, though you are surrounded by people eating. Downstairs is a better bar space, more room to mill about. The scene is mid-20’s to low-30’s crowd mixed with older locals, above average beers at above average prices, taste fine.
8th St. btw Macdougal St. and 5th Ave.
A cocktail bar that is joining the influx of cocktail bars into the area…every area really. It’s basically an escape from the sports bars/frat fests below 3rd Street, just a nice spot that has a good amount of room, and it doesn’t feel as stuffy as other cocktail bars. Now don’t get fooled, still a mid-20’s to low-30’s crowd, but it’s some of the better cocktails I’ve had, friendly service, cocktails at cocktail prices (~$11), taste fine.
Ave. B btw 10th and 11th St.
The term “lounge” is used a little loosely here (I’d avoid the couch in the back) but it definitely is a quiet, decently sized spot that’s good if you want to avoid big crowds. Nice spot, friendly bartender, above average drinks at average prices, taste fine.
53rd St. btw 2nd and 3rd Ave.
This bar has changed so many times (Black Finn, Tammany Hall), but maybe they might have gotten it right with this recent iteration. Taken over by the guy’s from PJ Clarke’s, gone are the days of test tube shots and pure frat boys/business kids. Now it has an older feel, drawing in a more mature crowd (actually fun to watch people come in, look around for their old haunt, linger for a drink , and then leave) while still having a good amount of sports on TV. Service is very friendly, average and above average drinks at slightly above average prices, taste fine.
1st Ave. and 1st. St.
So after seeing this place on countless “top new bars” lists, I gave it a once over. With the exception that the bar area reminds me of the neon lights on an old jukebox, there is really nothing out of the ordinary about this place. The menu had your generic cocktails, there was a decent sized space for sitting, service was friendly, just your run of the mill bar. Mixed drinks, average prices for them (~$8-$10), taste fine.
3rd Ave. btw 17th and 18th St.)
Used to be Still, but now it draws more of a crowd, though that crowd may still be business kids, thankfully with more adults mixed in. Still plenty of sports on TV, service is better, still a pretty big space. Average taps at average prices, taps could use a cleaning out.
40th St. and 6th Ave.
I always thought this was a sandwich place, but come here after work and you just find a bunch of people drinking. And during the winter, they drag out a fire pit in the middle of a bunch of chairs. Not much else to it, all outdoors, above average beers at above average prices, taste fine.
40th St. btw 5th and 6th Ave.
Normally a coat check will have me turn right around, but this blog ain’t gonna write itself! Head to the basement of Bryant Park Hotel, and you have a somewhat spacious bar room packed with business kids, after work parties, and tourists. Pretty tough to get a seat, so you cram next to the bar and grab a cocktail…not much more to it. Service is pretty good, no taps, cocktails at cocktail prices (~12), taste fine.
39th St. btw 5th and 6th Ave.
A packed “gastropub” that’s trying to bring a little bit of adult to the neighborhood. Basically two room, island bar up front, tables in the back. There’s a good amount of standing space but, as mentioned, can fill up quick around happy hour time. Clientele is older mixed with business types, service is pretty good at handling the orders, above average beers at above average prices, taste fine.
2nd Ave. and 13th St.
Used to be Nightingales, but now you can actually see the inside from the outside! Gone are the always curtained atmosphere and the weird lounge vibe. Hers now stands a spacious pub, though for a new spot it could use a good airing out. It’s basically just your run of the mill bar, sports on TV, friendly service, and the crowd is college kids mixed with a dash of Hipster and business kid. Average taps at average prices, taste fine.
University Pl. btw 11th and 12th St.
I have to imagine that this place is trying to be The Max for NYU, with Max serving beer of course. It’s a noisy bar that draws in students, an older crowd, an…you know, basically anybody looking for beer and a burger. Decent size space, service is friendly, above average beers at above average prices, taste fine.
7th Ave. btw 47th and 48th St.
While most New Yorkers loathe walking through Times Square, staring at it from a few floors up isn’t half bad. The hard part is getting a seat for this view. This hotel bar is on the second floor of the Renaissance Hotel and it’s made up of two rooms: the main room is a decent sized room that is always packed, and so you move to the second room, which has about a dozen seats and is more of a waiting around area until you can get into the first room. Crowd is all tourists, not much to this place at all except the view, cocktails that are roughly ~$13, taste alright.
3rd Ave. and 94th St.
One big bright TV/window filled room. A simple bar filled with tables and bar stools that is usually packed any day of the week. Crowd is your typical young Upper East Side resident, this place is really trying to present a more upscale watering hole. Service is fine, slightly above average beers, slightly above average prices, taste fine.
La Biblioteca (3rd Ave. and 41st St.)
Basement lounge below Zengo that is trying to be a lot more upscale then it actually is. Also, not entirely sure where the name comes from as there is really nothing here that’s Spanish aside from the tequila, which every bar has. Anywho, most people congregate around the bar (duh), but there’s this whole empty room on the way to the bathroom that needs to be utilized more than looking like a fancy doctor’s waiting room. Crowd is all business kids. Bottled beers and mixed drinks, slightly above average prices, taste fine.
University Pl. btw 12th and 13th St.
Adult Playground brings up so many other images, so I’m going to call this Mid-Twenties’ Putt Putt that charges you for bar games you can pay nothing for elsewhere. Situated above Bowlmor Lanes, this activity bar has your beers, your nine hole putting course, air hockey, shuffleboard, etc… all the while charging a decent penny to play them. This place can get crowded, sometimes it’s closed for events, sometimes you are the only people there (my favorite times!). Average and above average beers, slightly above average prices, taste fine.
51st St. btw Broadway and 8th Ave.
Another member of the cookie cutter “Irish Pub” that seems to abound in Manhattan. It’s basically your after work crowd of business types (old and young) mixed with theater goers. Decent sized space, service is good, sports on TV, just a regular bar really. Average taps at slightly above average prices, taste fine.
26th St. btw 6th Ave. and Broadway
I think it would be fair to call this half bar, half beer hall…well, better upstairs bar, downstairs beer hall. All craft beer menu with plenty of cocktails as well, this venue is going for the old-timey feel, which explains the lack of sound on all of the sports TV’s downstairs (yes, I’m fully aware radio came before TV, just roll with the joke, ok). It really is like two different bars, with a bit of a haughty/pretentious air upstairs and downstairs filled with a more energetic crowd. Crowd is business kids, area workers, 20’s- and 30’s, and people who mix it up with Flatiron Room across the street. Service is good, food is ok, above average drinks at above average prices, taste fine.
23rd St. btw 5th and 6th Ave.
This place used to be Limerick’s, and I guess someone decided this could finally not be a dump anymore. After a good washing, the new place is a lot brighter, more than two people are in here, staff is still friendly, crowd is basically anyone who works in the area and is in for a few drinks before going home. Average beers, slightly above average prices, taste fine.
Mulberry Street btw Grand and Hester St.
If you can find this place on the first try, you’re my hero. On the second or fifth pass, you walk down a few steps, passed the bright red door, and you have a small bar with a decent sized backyard. This nicely polished spot is a cocktail joint that has jumped on the “we don’t have a set cocktail list, but tell me what you’re in the mood for” band wagon. There’s room for about 20 inside, much more out back, service is fine, crowd is 20’s and 30’s, along with those who like the “next hot thing”. Cocktails, above average prices (~$15), taste fine.
60th St. btw 1st and 2nd Ave.
A new craft beer place to hit this lower part of the Upper East Side. Actually, it might be the only one around here. Anywho, it’s a decent sized space, long, tight bar area up front with a few tables in the back. All craft beer, all the time, and lots of it. Service is chatty, crowd is late 20’s-early 30’s, above average beers at above average prices, taste fine.
42nd St. btw 10th and 11th Ave.
Newer nightclub to the lower Hell’s Kitchen scene, this draws to types of crowds: people who are here for an event, and the gay scene. There’s also two parts of this place, a slightly quieter bar room up front, and a double barred club in the back. Not a bad spot, bathrooms are a little hard to get to, good service, beer and cocktails, above average prices, taste fine.
60th St. btw Lexington and Park Ave.
This street is quickly becoming chock full of pubs, and this one is probably the biggest/most crowded. Big space full of Upper East Sider’s/business types stopping over for a drink before heading home. Tables are usually filled by happy hour, but there’s decent room at the bar with plenty on TV, and the service is pretty quick for the crowd size. Above average beers at above average prices, taste fine.
Hudson St. btw Charles and Perry St.
I don’t often use this word with bars, but I just felt comfortable in here. It’s a quiet spot with people here to mostly drink, though you can eat too, in a quiet space while you have some craft beer or even coffee (they’re not biased against other brews I guess). Service is friendly, decent amount of space, above average beers at slightly above average prices, taste fine.
Lafayette St. btw Houston and Bleeker St.
Quiet cocktail bar that does a good job of having many people walk by without even knowing it’s in there or drawing attention to itself, but I would not classify it as a speakeasy either. Glad I cleared that up. You walk into a decent sized bar room with a bigger sitting room around the corner. It’s usually empty by the bar with groups heading towards the back, so it’s a decent spot for a quiet drink alone or a date. Service is fine, cocktails at average cocktail prices (~12), taste fine.
Ludlow St. btw Delancey and Rivington St.
My 1000th Manhattan bar!!! Came here on a suggestion and could not have been a better fit for number 1000. Swings in front of the bar, Bulgarian polka band, basically a dive bar, vodka Ice room downstairs…the perfect kind of nuts that I wanted for this achievement. Downsides, don’t bother showing up prior to 10 PM because no one is here. Upsides, it gets really packed with a dancing crowd, you get to wear costumes when you go for the Vodka. Average beers at slightly above average prices, taste fine.
Ludlow St. btw Broome St. and Delancey St.
Deceptively small bar that opens up to a dance/live music room in the back. If you want a quitter space to hang with your friends with some pretty good music that is a lot quieter than the rest of the new night scene close by, this might be your spot. Crowd is young, with Hipsters and concertgoers mingling with people who got lost going too far past Delancey. Bar space is tiny, but there is good room in the back. Average beers at average prices, taste fine.
9th Ave. btw 41st and 42nd St.
Another branch of this chain of bars, it’s basically the same in size and offerings. Small bar that attracts traffic on their way to the Port Authority, has a good amount of sports on TV, it can also tend to be a quiet spot with an almost non-existent crowd. Average beers and above average beers at average prices and above average prices, taste fine.
3rd Ave. btw 12th and 13th St.
Out of the darkness comes the light. And that comment really only has to do with comparing the cave-like settings of the original location as compared to the shiny lights of its new spot, located one block north. There’s also multiple floors now instead of a usually closed bar in the basement. Still the same crowd (all ages that usually keep to themselves, mixed with soccer fans), and space is decent but packed with tables now. Average beers at average prices, taste fine.
44th St. btw 8th and 9th Ave.
Some positives for this place include a lot of space, lots of taps, and lots of TV’s. The service is alright, slowly managing the business kids and late 20’s that make up the crowd. The downside is that there’s not much too it, sort of lacking a personality. Or maybe I’m getting fussier. It just feels like a big space that does its best to keep everyone in their separate corners. Average and above average taps, average prices, taste fine.
Houston St. and Sullivan St.
Used to be XR Bar, and it’s basically the same layout (good amount of space for sitting and at the bar) with a little bit of cleaning done. Service is pretty good, it’s a mixed crowd of right out of college kids and an older crowd that actually lives in Greenwich Village. Sports on TV, movies when it’s not, above average taps at slightly above average prices, taste fine.
W. 4th btw Jones and Barrow St.
I’ve been to a bunch of bars with karaoke, but this is the first that not only feels like a bar, but it’s a party going on in here. No pressure to sing, but if you come here you’ll be inundated with the good, the pro’s, and a bunch of people who just want to wail into the night. Decent amount of space, service is pretty good, the crowd is a mix of college kids and everyone in their 20’s, and remember that it’s a karaoke bar, so deal with it. Average beers for average prices, taste fine.
Broome St. and Allen St.
Used to be Lolita, and while I never got a chance to visit, if it was anything like its replacement, I definitely missed out on something. Nice, cozy bar in the Lower East Side that does a good job of attracting groups of all kinds. Good amount of space up front, more room in the back, and plenty of sitting room in both. Above average beers at slightly above average prices, taste fine.
Essex St. btw Grand and Hester St.
This bar may be in for the running of smallest bar in Manhattan. To top it off, they crammed a performance space into one corner. Probably fits about 15 people in here, you come for the aspiring artists (very loose term), mingle with the hipsters, enjoy the friendly service, and then move along. Honestly, it’s a quiet spot, but avoid the acts.. They only have above average beer and wine, average prices, taste fine.
39th St. btw 5th and 6th Ave.
Speakeasy’s aside, this might be the most well hidden bar in the city. I honestly thought I was walking by a deli when I passed. Tucked away in the middle of a non-descript block, this Scottish bar is a nice quiet place for either a stopover on the way home or just to quietly watch a game on TV. Good amount of bar space up front, tables in the back, service is friendly, crowd is mixed. Average beers and Scottish beers, average prices, taste fine.
10th St. btw Waverly Pl. and Greenwich Ave.
Packed bar on a quiet street in the West Village. Room is basically a cube, some tables up front and on the side, mostly just room for standing around. Crowd is B&T’s and a few locals, and I’ve never seen it less than halfway full. Above average beers at above average prices, taste fine.
92nd St. and 3rd Ave.
Used to be Brother Jimmy’s, and man, it couldn’t be any more different. Gone are the days of day drinking in a dark bar, here is a brunch/dinner spot that caters to families as well as the tame sports watcher. The space is more crowded with numerous tables, and the booze selection has gone up a notch from fishbowls and bud lights. Above average beers, slightly above average prices, taste fine.
10th Ave. btw 48th and 49th St.
Whiskey bar in Hell’s Kitchen. They do have other alcohol as well, but their specialty is whiskey, and they have lots. The space is pretty small, can maybe hold 30 tops, so try for a space in the back. Crowd is late 20’s and up, quiet spot, not much more to it. Whiskey and other spirits, about ~11 and up for a drink, tastes as whiskey should.
Broadway and 20th St.
Below the store is a cocktail bar that is usually always crowded. Make your way past the awkward coat check, head downstairs, and if you’re there early enough you can grab a table; if not you’re headed to the small bar. Cocktails and wine are the pours here, crowd is B&T’s, business kids, and any local workers. Cocktails, average prices for cocktails (~11), taste fine.
Stone St. btw Coentis Slip and William St.
To say any bar on Stone Street is subdued is a stretch, but this is definitely one of the quieter venues on that stretch. Has your sports on TV, good amount of bar space, crowd is the same as pretty much every bar on Stone Street, meaning business kids and tourists mixed in with some people who want to actually watch the game. Above average drinks at above average prices, tastes fine.
Stone St. btw Coentis Slip and Broad Street
Mexican bar/restaurant, in basically the same way that most places labeled as such are there to provide some food if needed, but most people are here for margaritas, tequila, or to pack it to the gills on May 5th. Good amount of bar space, crowd is business kids, tourists, and those craving guacamole, etc. (it’s actually pretty good). Average taps, average prices, taste fine.
3rd Ave. btw 26th and 27th St.
Use to be McCormack’s, same long bar with a backroom, but now it’s been shined from a pub to a gastropub. The crowd has also changed, from older local sports fans to the late 20’s-30’s crowd that like to search for new hot spots. Drinks are now above average beers with a cocktail menu, slightly above average prices for the beers, taste fine.
2nd Ave. btw 82nd and 83rd St.
A gastropub has made its way to the Upper East Side. Polished addition to the Upper East Side, this place draws in your UES 20’s to young 30’s crowd. There’s a decent amount of room here, though most of the tables wind up being reserved. Above average beers at above average prices, taste fine.
Ludlow St. btw Houston and Stanton St.
This bar basically defines the term “down to the bare bones”…wait, I swear there’s no double entendre in there. You walk into a big empty basement room and pretty much just stand around, either waiting for other people to stand with, or for the other bar behind the wall to open after 11 PM. Not much hidden back there either, though a little more polished in this room. Hipster bar, average beers at average prices, taste fine.
Ludlow St. btw Stanton and Rivington St.
Best way to sum this place up is the bar that everyone references when they think Lower East Side bar. That’s really all it has going for it. It also attracts every type of crowd, from Hipsters to B&T’s to your average drinker of any age. Live music in the back, bar gets pretty cramped up front. Above average beers at above average prices, taste fine.
Ludlow St. btw Houston and Stanton St.
Sort of misnamed bar in the Lower East Side. While the space might be void of seats or, well, anything really, there is a lot of space to stand around, a back room that’s a little darker, and the makings of an impromptu dance party. Average beers on tap, average prices, taste fine.
St. Marks Pl. btw 1st and 2nd Ave.
To say it’s just a bar that is frequented at intermission from the guests attending a show at the attached playhouse and only really frequented by passerby’s who wait until they see a sign of life in here before entering might be the best way to sum this place up. The crowd is basically theater goers and the occasional stragglers, and they serve mostly cocktails and are pretty in the know about absinthe. A few above average beers on tap, above average prices, taste fine.
St. Marks Pl. btw 1st and 2nd Ave.
This might be the quirkiest bar I’ve ever been to. 2 floors of tacky (albeit fun) decorations, completely a mixed crowd of people of all kinds, having the balcony makes me feel as if some weird show is going on below and I’m just a spectator to all if it. Service is pretty good, average beers at average price, taste fine.
St. Marks Pl. btw 1st Ave. and Ave. A
Decent sized bar with seats on the edges and a good sized place to stand in the middle. It doesn’t really stand out from its neighbors with the exception of it being more subdued. Service is good, 20’s and 30’s crowd. Above average beers at slightly above average prices, taste fine.
2nd Ave. btw 9th and 10th St.
While they have Jamaican beers on tap, and some decorations that might remind some people of Jamaica (it reminded me more of New Orleans), that’s really the only Jamaican part of the bar. Decent sized bar that’s elevated (literally) above the other Second Avenue bars on this street. Crowd is still the same as every other neighboring bar (mid-20’s, business kids, and NYU kids) but it’s definitely more subdued. Caribbean taps, average prices, taste fine.
Stuvesant St. btw 9th St. and 3rd Ave.
Hidden bar within a sushi restaurant. Walk up the stairs, hook a U-turn, hope that it’s not packed (which it usually becomes after 7 PM), and step into a small yet roomy space that could probably hold only about 30-35 people. Many different types of cocktails, service is good, average price for cocktails (~12), taste alright.
76th St. btw 1st and York Ave.
I’ve been told by several people to check this place out. Meh. A dark space that has a lot of stools at its lengthy bar, but not much space behind it, so it gets a little tight. There are some tables in the back, but it’s for having a meal. It’s just your basic, average bar, with good service, mixed crowd of young and old. They serve all British beers/ales/lagers, so that’s a plus. British beers, slightly above average prices, taste fine.
Bleeker St. btw Lafayette St. and Bowery
I’m hesitant to write this up because it’s not really a bar, but I went and I’m writing, so there. This is basically a live music venue downstairs and performance space on the main floor. As far as the bar goes, there’s a decent amount of space broken up by lots of stairs, so good luck during a crowded show. Service is good, above average beers at above average prices, taste fine.
Bowery and Great Jones St.
Not much table room in the back, but a good amount of bar space up front. Crowd is mid 20’s to 30’s, service is friendly, kind of a place to come and grab a quiet drink before moving on. Above average beers at above average prices, taste fine.
Bowery btw 3rd and 4th St.
If you don’t see a door or window, look for the people painted on the walls outside. Once inside, it’s a decent sized place that is empty around happy hour but fills up as the night goes on. Bartenders are friendly, mixing cocktails with a few beers on tap. Crowd is a little older than its neighbors (late 20’s to 30’s). Above average beers and cocktails, slightly above average prices on the beers, average prices on cocktails (~11), taste fine.
1st Ave, and 7th St.
Laid out like a mix between a soda shoppe and diner, complete with old school jukebox, this hipster bar is usually crowded and yet can range from noisy to quiet all the same. If you don’t get one of the tables or a stool at the bar, you’re just going to get shoved around in here. Bartenders are nice, the crowd is locals and hipsters, though the two are quickly becoming one and the same. Above average beers, at slightly above average prices, taste fine.
Park Ave. btw 28th and 29th St.
The newer of the two Gansevoort hotel rooftops, and the lesser of the two. This one isn’t as pretentious, and maybe a buck cheaper on drinks, but it’s kind of like a Jersey Shore bar on a roof, with a lot of stairs and not as much open space. The crowd is really mixed, from young, to business kids, to coworkers, to an older crowd of guys mixed with mid 40’s Bon Jovi fans from Jersey. Average drinks and mixed drinks, above average prices, taste fine.
35th St. btw 5th and 6th Ave.
While there is an empty bar downstairs, make your way through the labyrinth of the top guest floor to a staircase (good luck finding it) into basically one big soft bench lined roof top that’s covered. Pluses, it’s big, not a lot of people, mixed crowd of all sorts, and a really good close-up view of the Empire State Building (as if you can’t see it from anywhere else in the city…). Negatives, it just feels a little run down. So if you want a quiet rooftop to relax, this might be for you. Average beers, average prices, taste fine.
26th St. and Park Ave.
This bar basically looks as if they took a rooftop studio apartment, gutted it, put some booths out and added a giant giraffe statue. All that aside (though its kind of peaceful), it’s pretty easy to get a table, though there is decent room outside of the seating area. Service is pretty good, crowd is a mix of business kids and hotel guests. Average beers and mixed drinks, slightly above average prices, taste fine.
38th St. btw 5th and 6th Ave.
As far as rooftop bars go, this one is a good mix of lounge and bar, meaning you get the cozy mixed with people who go to lounges. Business kids, B&T’s and a 20-30’s crowd hang up here on the decent sized outdoor space that doesn’t provide a view of much besides the Empire State Building. A plus is a downstairs bar to wait in just in case it’s too crowded up top, which it usually is. Service is pretty good, average/above average/wine/cocktails for their respective average prices, taste fine.
23rd St. btw Madison and Park Ave.
Admittedly I had never been to the original location that has since closed. I really hope it was better than this. Through the boarded up windows is a “speakeasy” that puts on the same shtick whether it’s full or not. If you’re with a group, there are tables in the back, on a date or alone, space up front. However, don’t for one moment think you can wander around, everyone is forced to keep to their section. The hostess and manager are pretty awful as well. However, the wait staff is very friendly, and the cocktails are pretty darn good, so there are some pluses to this place. Cocktails at cocktail prices (~12), taste good.
Duane St. btw Hudson St. and W. Broadway
When your place of business doesn’t have a sign with the name on it, and you’re right next to another place with the same “thinking”, you’re off to a bad start. So you find the place, and step into a decent sized bar. Great spot for a date, lots of people here for after work drinks, mid-20’s and up crowd. All cocktails, probably could taste a little better though some are alright, but the service is good, and you can usually get a seat at the bar if you hang around for at least a second drink. Cocktails, cocktail prices (~12), gin cocktails need work, the rest taste alright.
Madison Ave. btw 27th and 28th St.
Another location in this chain of bars has situated itself in an area that’s barren of watering holes (no bar for a 2 block radius is barren in my book). It’s your typical sports bar, though it’s a lot quieter than most, and the crowd is a mix of people waiting for their express buses and anyone who works in the direct area. Average beers at average prices, taste fine.
35th St. btw 5th and 6th Ave.
Used to be Katwalk, and from the looks of everyone in here, they either still think it still is or just were too tired to go elsewhere. The pub looking exterior gives way to a decent sized space with a bunch of tables and booths scattered around. Still not entirely sure who can go up to the second floor. The taps could use a good cleaning seeing as it’s a new place, but the service is friendly, and the Owner does all he can to make sure you’re having a good time…multiple times. B&T and business kid crowd mixed with tourists. Average beers at average prices, taps need a cleaning.
36th St. btw 5th and Madison Ave.)
Used to be Under the Volcano, and they’ve made it a little bit more inviting (removing the blinking neon sign, getting rid of the weird smell by the front door, etc.) it still has the same business kid crowd as before. It’s basically a decent sized square room with some seats up front, a little more crowded in back, and it’s definitely more subdued than its neighbors on the block. Average beers at average prices, taste alright.
5th Ave. and 36th St.
Hotel bar that is quieter and slightly upscale than its surrounding neighbors. Now, if that’s your kind of place, come here for a quiet couple of drinks with other hotel guests mixed with an older crowd while listening to whatever “jazz” group has been hired to play up front. Cocktails and your average few taps, slightly above average prices, taste fine.
37th St. btw 5th and 6th Ave.
It’s basically two places in one: part beer hall with plenty of tables for you and friends and to meet newcomers, part bar, meaning everyone crowds around the bar and just orders as per anywhere else. This midtown beer hall draws a pretty good crowd that the staff can handle, it can be a little tough grabbing a seat. You have your mix of B&T’s and business kids here and the staff wearing the lederhosen uniform (though I doubt anyone is actually from anywhere near the Alps). German beers at above average prices, taste fine.