The Seven Best Manhattan Cocktail Bars
From the gin cocktails F. Scott Fitzgerald imbibed to the famous Manhattan cocktail, invented at the intersection of Broadway and Houston Street, liquor has long been a vital part of the lives of many New Yorkers. And these days, there are hundreds of Manhattan cocktail bars to choose between, from softly lit subterranean drinking dens to glittering rooftop lounges. For those who don’t have the time to visit each and every one, here is a quick best-of guide to get you started.
Named for Ludwig Bemelmans, the Madeline author and illustrator whose colorful drawings adorn the walls, Bemelmans Bar makes our list for its intimate ambience, the lineup of talented musicians who perform throughout the week, and its signature punch. Residing within the Upper East Side’s luxurious Carlyle Hotel, the glamorous spot also boasts a ceiling impressively covered in 24-karat gold leaf.
Top of the Standard
It is the glitzy, gilded décor and 360-degree views of Midtown West, the Hudson, and Jersey City that have made the Top of the Standard a favorite of our staff (along with many in-the-know New Yorkers). Live jazz music takes place on certain nights, buzzy art-world after-parties are often held in the space, and some of the city’s best specialty cocktails feature in its lengthy, booklet-sized menu, as well.
Inspired by the James Beard Award-nominated Broken Shaker location in Miami, the sunny and tropically infused atmosphere and aesthetic here set Broken Shaker’s NYC location apart from the pack. Cocktails mixed from syrups and infusions made on-site, tasty bar snacks, and sweeping views are on offer from its indoor-outdoor rooftop perch near the Flatiron District.
Set in Grand Central Station, The Campbell—located in the former private office and reception hall of a 1920s financier—is celebrated for its historic design, complete with a fireplace in the bar and lush greenery in the downstairs Palm Court. The nostalgic Jazz Age-inspired cocktail menu, also a highlight, includes a cold-brew martini, lavender gimlet, and wine by the glass.
The NoMad Hotel’s Library Bar has become a fixture on New Yorkers’ radar thanks to its softly lit wooden bookcases; spiral staircase imported from the South of France; and exceptional craft-cocktail menu. In fact, Library Bar so popular that it is only open to the public during the morning and early afternoon.
King Cole Bar
St. Regis’ upscale King Cole Bar is home to elegant architectural details; impressive murals of the namesake by realist painter Maxfield Parrish; and a carefully curated bar serving cocktails with premium cocktails— including what was the first-ever Bloody Mary served in the United States.
We couldn’t make this list without giving a nod to the city’s glamorous secret-speakeasy culture, perfectly exemplified in the Angel’s Share. Nostalgic 1920s-inspired drinks, vistas of the East Village’s Stuyvesant Square, and elegant murals await those who can find the bar’s unassuming second-floor entrance. True to clandestine form, the Angel’s Share also has no website — but enterprising searchers should have no problem tracking it down.
Plan Your Visit
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