Best Cocktail Bars in New York
Posted Jul 24 | By James Stevenson
New York: Home of the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, The Empire State Building, Broadway, Times Square etc., etc., and thankfully, and more importantly for cocktail connoisseurs and readers of Beautiful Booze, plenty of delightful and top-class cocktail bars. Yippee! In fact, you’ll be spoiled for choice, as you would expect in any major city, especially one that is as metropolitan and famous as “The Big Apple”. And while it is not easy to pick out the best of them, here we select few of our favorites.
We start by raising the bar high; high as in the “Top of the Strand”, situated on the 21st floor of the Marriott Vacation Club Pulse on West 37th Street. Top of the Strand offers spectacular views of The Empire State Building and has a super atmosphere. It also has a retractable glass roof, so it is great all year round and was designed by Lydia Marks — of Sex and the City fame (she was the set designer on the popular HBO series that ran from 1998-2004).
The cocktail menu is also extensive — big tick! — and you can choose from a wide variety of beverages, including classic, modern, exotic, or Vanguard.
Need we say more?
If views are your thing, also should consider St. Cloud at the Knickerbocker Hotel, which overlooks Times Square and the Roof at Park South. Again, this one offers views of The Empire State Building as well as The Chrysler Building in addition to offering some impeccable cocktails – happy times!
If you prefer to keep your feet firmly on the terra firma, we’d also pick out 21 Club — or just 21 as it is more commonly known — which is located on West 52nd Street. It is one of the most famous restaurants in NYC and serves up a number of classic cocktails — don’t forget to look up at the toys on the ceiling, too, by the way.
The 21 Club is very popular with a number of celebrities and A-listers and has also been mentioned a lot in popular culture, from Breakfast at Tiffany’s to Sex and the City and the James Bond movies, you can certainly imagine 007 in a place like this, as happy here as playing roulette or baccarat or such like in any of the flashy casinos depicted in classics, such as Dr. No, Thunderball, and Goldeneye.
The former Prohibition-era establishment has also entertained every U.S. president since it opened, except for Barack Obama. Yes, it can be a bit touristy, but still, it is fun and the cocktails hit the spot.
Now for something a bit more exclusive and off-the-map, New York has a number of “secret” or “hidden” bars, and if you want to stick with the Prohibition-era feel of 21 but want to escape the tourists and crowds, try Little Branch on 7th Avenue South. It has an intimate and cozy feel, and while the cocktail menu isn’t large, the skilled bartenders can make whatever you fancy. There’s live jazz music, too, to help set the mood.
Our final selection, due to open this summer, is the work of Chicago’s Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas of the Aviary fame — and is hailed as one of the world’s best bars. Aviary NYC promises to be a must-stop destination offering state-of-the-art and innovative cocktails. It will certainly be on our “to-visit list” the next time we’re in New York.
Is there anywhere that you would recommend going for cocktails in New York? Leave a comment below and/or get in touch via social media. We can’t wait to raise a glass.