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The 15 Hottest Bars in NYC, Fall Edition

By Kelly Dobkin
October 7, 2014
Photo by: William Taylor

Say what you want about NYC's dwindling club scene, but the fact remains: the Big Apple is still the nightlife epicenter of America and possibly the world. In our quarterly update, check out 15 new bars, lounges and brewpubs that are currently burning things up with killer cocktails, craft beers and more. Did we miss your favorite new watering hole? Tell us in the comments.

  • Photo by: Gabi Porter

    One Fifty One

    Why it's hot: The owners of LA's Honeycut (Alex Day, David Kaplan and 213 Ventures) have gussied up this classic LES dive with craft cocktails and updated decor. Expect an array of signature cocktails, a beer and shot menu and a list of Radlers — citrus juice and light beer concoctions popular in Europe.

    Must-drink: Any of their daiquiris, Oaxacan Old Fashioned, Radler.

    ​Insider tip: Try a Dazzle Ship slushie: cachaça, Lillet rosé, Pamplemouse, Aperol, pineapple and lime juices ($12).

    The details: 151 Rivington St.; 646-490-4338

  • Photo by: Daniel Krieger

    Aldo Sohm Wine Bar

    Why it's hot: Le Bernardin's award-winning wine director Aldo Sohm recently opened this adjacent wine bar that serves a small lunch and dinner menu as well. Designed by Bentel & Bentel, the team behind Le Bernardin's 2011 renovation, the 70-seat space is outfitted with high-top tables, a custom-finished oak bar which serves as a communal “sommelier table," and a private tasting room. 

    Must-drink: Wine, duh. Ask for a recommendation suited to your taste.

    Insider tip: Upstairs, you'll find the intimate Le Bernardin Privé private dining room.

    The details: 151 W. 51st St.; 212-554-1143

  • Photo by: William Shear

    Crimson & Rye

    Why it's hot: Charlie Palmer is the restaurant legend behind this retro-inspired cocktail bar and eatery inside the iconic Lipstick Building. Barman Rocco Dilillo designed the cocktail program, which features a long list of ryes and bourbons. You'll also find signature cocktails like the Lipstick FIzz: Hayman’s Navy Strength gin, housemade  grenadine, lemon juice, club soda and the Salty Chihuahua: Lunazul Blanco tequila, fresh grapefruit, Golden Moon dry curaçao as well as takes on classic cocktails.

     

    Must-drink: Lincoln Road Julep: Four Roses bourbon, Angostura bitters, fresh basil ($15)

    ​Insider tip: Not a boozehound? There are also mocktails like the Strawberry Fields Cooler.

    The details: 198 E. 54th St.; 212-687-6692

  • NoMad Bar

    Why it's hot: Next door to the NoMad Restaurant's Library Bar, the NoMad team has opened a new bi-level bar and restaurant with a separate entrance at 10 W. 28th Street (complete with its own Goodfellas-inspired trailer). Food from executive chef James Kent, inspired by some of Daniel Humm's dishes at both EMP and NoMad, and drinks from NoMad bar director Leo Robitschek​ make it a hot ticket.

    Must-drink: The extensive cocktail menu features classics, new concoctions and some large-format drinks that serve six to eight and cost $90, like the Madison Park Smash and mai tai. Their version of the classic Gloria cocktail (Campari, gin, dry vermouth and triple sec) is a lighter, more summer-friendly Negroni. 

    Insider tip: Check out their $36 chicken pot pie with black truffles and foie gras (inspired by the NoMad Restaurant's famed roast chicken) and a version of the buzzed-about Humm Dog; once served at PDT, it's a bacon-wrapped, deep-fried dog with black truffle and celery ($14).

    The details: 10 W. 28th St.; 347-472-5660

  • Photo by: Bart Barlow

    SixtyFive

    Why it's hot: The brand-new cocktail lounge adjacent to the newly renovated Rainbow Room offers stunning views from a 65th-floor terrace and even more stunning prices. Cocktails begin at $22 and include takes on a Negroni and old fashioned and signatures like the 1915 Gin & Tonic (Dorothy Parker Gin, lemon, Angostura bitters and Johnnie Ryan Tonic). 

    Must-drink: Gotham Mule: Granny Smith apple-infused Tito's Vodka, ginger beer ($22).

    Insider tip: SixtyFive is only open on weeknights until midnight.

    The details: 30 Rockefeller Center, 65th Floor; 212-632-5000

  • Photo by: Paige Hogan

    The Garret

    Why it's hot: This stylish secret bar atop Five Guys Burgers in Greenwich Village replaces former tenant Bleecker Heights Tavern, and comes from the collective minds of bartending vets Kyle O’Brien (Hotel Chantelle) and Gavin Moseley (Riff Raff's) along with marketing point man, Adam Fulton. 

    Must-drink:  Rosarito Stick-Up: El Tesoro reposado, Grand Marnier, rosemary, thyme, sage syrup and egg white ($14).

    Insider tip: Walk straight to the back of the burger joint to find the secret staircase. Guests are welcome to bring food from Five Guys Burgers up to the bar with them, as The Garret only serves cocktails for now.

    The details: 296 Bleecker St., Second Floor; 212-675-6157

  • Photo by: William Taylor

    Raines Law Room at The William

    Why it's hot: Opening next week, the second outpost of the ever-popular Chelsea speakeasy is about to open inside The William Hotel. Head bartender Meaghan Dorman designed the cocktail menu, which is similar to the original but is heavy on old fashioneds. The space itself was inspired by opulent 19th century European homes and will also include the signature service bells prevelant at the first location.

    Must-drink: Cocktail menus are still being finalized, but try one of their unique old fashioneds. 

    Insider tip: Ring the bell for service. Also check out the small plates menu, new to this location.

    The details: 24 E. 39th St.; no phone yet

  • Forrest Point

    Why it's hot: This new Bushwick bar from Darin Rubell (Ella, Boulton & Watt) features a cocktail menu created by Dustin Olson of TriBeCa's Ward III that includes an array of milk punches and more.

    Must-drink: Amerikaner: Gran Classico, Cocchi Americano, lemon, Heffeweisen ($10).

    Insider tip: Small plates like tuna tartare tacos, chicken-fried oysters and a cheeseburger are also available.

    The details: 970 Flushing Ave., Brooklyn; 718-366-2742

  • Studio

    Why it's hot: The Gerber Group has recently taken over the subterranean space beneath the W Hotel formerly known as Lilium in collaboration with artist Dominic Zapata. An Alice In Wonderland-inspired art installation pervades the space while behind the bar, there's a list of classic cocktails as well as a make-your-own gin and tonic menu.

    Must-drink: A custom gin and tonic with ingredients of your choosing ($16) or a Moscow mule ($16).

    Insider tip: Small plates like arancini, seasonal pizzas, charcuterie and bruschetta are also available.

    The details: 201 Park Ave.; 212-385-1560

  • Grand Banks

    Why it's hot: This seasonal floating oyster and rosé hub is still hot as ever, even though summer is officially over. Located aboard the historic F/V Sherman Zwicker, a boat docked off of Hudson River Park's Pier 25 in TriBeCa, restaurant vets Mark Firth and Adrien Gallo are behind the maritime-exhibit-meets-bar. Get there soon before this ship closes up for winter at the end of the month.

    Must-drink: Sherman's cup: white wine, seasonal berries, lemon, lime, orange ($16).

    Insider tip: Try small plates like fried squash blossoms, crudo and, of course, a variety of raw oysters. 

    The details: Pier 25, Hudson River Park; 212-960-3390

  • Photo by: Noah Fecks

    La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels

    Why it's hot: The first American location of the Parisian wine bar of the same name is located in SoHo/Little Italy; it's run by the folks who brought you the Experimental Cocktail Club. Even with its mouthful of a title, the spot has garnered some early popularity for its international wine list featuring more than 600 bottles, many via enomatic machine.

    Must-drink: Since the wine list here is so extensive, let a staff member steer you toward wines that suit your palate and price range.

    Insider tip: You can make reservations here, although walk-ins are accepted.

    The details: 249 Centre St.; 212-343-3660

  • Nitecap

    Why it's hot: Alex Day and David Kaplan of cocktail den Death & Co. and Maison Premiere's Natasha David have opened this new hot spot in the basement of the Lower East Side restaurant Schapiro's. An epic 14-page drink menu offers up a series of signature cocktail creations for both early evening and late night and everything in-between. Also, the spot is walk-in friendly and serves noshes from Schapiro's upstairs.

    Must-drink: Peach Boy: Krogstad Aquavit, orgeat syrup, Mathilde peach, lemon juice and mint ($12); Tartan Swizzle: Famous Grouse Scotch, Laphroaig 10-year single malt, passion mix and pineapple and lime juices ($13).

    Insider tip: The "honor bar" menu lets you grab a bottle from the list and "pay for what you drink." Plus there's a whole menu of "Shortys" — short pours of beer paired with harder booze.

    The details: 120 Rivington St.; 212-466-3361

  • Up&Down

    Why it's hot: The revamp of The Darby space (before that, Nell's) on 14th Street by owners Scott Sartiano, Richie Akiva and Ronnie Madra is now officially open for cocktails (Tuesday-Friday evenings post 7 PM). The concept features two connected spaces: "Up," a rowdy dance club on the main level, and "Down," a swanky subterranean cocktail lounge. Mixologist Andres Santillana designed the drink menu.

    Must-drink: Dottie Cup: strawberry-infused gin, bonal, lemon, cucumber soda; Nuru, Naked and Famous: Casamigos reposado tequila, Vida mezcal, Aperol, Yellow Chartreuse, lime, pineapple, chile oil (both $16).

    Insider tip: The "Up" section of the space is available for private parties and is open to the public beginning at 11 PM Tuesday-Sunday. Bottle service is available, though not required.

    The details: 244 W. 14th St.; 212-242-4411

  • Ramona

    Why it's hot: Brooklyn fans of the East Village's Elsa (RIP) can get a taste of the former East Village bar's signature cocktails at this Greenpoint watering hole. Enjoy your craft cocktail from the balcony of this copper-finished bi-level space complete with copper chandelier and mezzanine seating.

    Must-drink: Black Book: bourbon, jalapeño, honey, lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom ($9); S.M. Jenkins Cocktail: Pimms No. 1, Velvet Falernum, cucumber, lime, ginger ale ($11).

    Insider tip: Grab a seat on the top floor for a bird's-eye view of the crowd.

    The details: 113 Franklin St., Brooklyn; 347-227-8164

  • Verboten

    Why it's hot: The first permanent outpost of this roving party (that's been going on for over 10 years in NYC and elsewhere) is located in a massive 10,000-sq.-ft., split-in-two space (a former metal shop) in Williamsburg. The larger area is a giant dance space complete with skylights, video walls and a floor made from reclaimed wood. The adjacent Cabaret Bar is a little cozier but also contains a dance floor.

    Must-drink: A Scanner Darkly: 10 Cane Rum, ginger beer, lime juice, molasses syrup; Logan's Run: Bulleit Rye, vanilla-bean syrup, lemon juice (both $13).

    Insider tip: The space is typically only open Thursday through Sunday nights post 11 PM, but is also open for special events on other nights. Stay on top of their schedule here. Note: in most cases, there is a $20-$30 cover.

    The details: 54 N. 11th St., Brooklyn; 347-223-4732

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