New York City is a city that lends itself to exploring. Whether you’re walking through a park, taking a historic neighborhood tour, or bouncing between museum exhibits, there’s always something to do in New York City. That’s why, at the end of the day, you’re going to need a drink. There are bars in the city for every mood and every budget, whether you’re looking for an upscale, hand-crafted and totally original cocktail, a traditional Irish pub atmosphere, or a low-key dive bar with cheap beer. New York City has its fair share of glamorous hotel bars, too, but these spots are neighborhood institutions and local favorites – the places you’ll be returning to again and again, every time you visit NYC.



Essential New York City cocktail bars

1. Dante

Legendary for its martinis and negronis, Dante West Village, trellised in white roses and decorated with gold, white, and mint green accents, is easily one of the most stylish spaces in New York City. What makes Dante so special is that it accommodates all occasions: A first date dinner, a casual cocktail with friends or a more important night out with your significant other, even an afternoon coffee as you explore the neighborhood. No matter why you’re stopping in, a drink at Dante will immediately elevate your cool factor.

Where: 79-81 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012
Price: $$$

2. The Dead Rabbit

 

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The Dead Rabbit calls itself “the world’s most awarded pub.” The bar focuses on Irish culture, hospitality, and spirits. Located inside a 19th-century townhouse, The Dead Rabbit actually consists of three separate bars – The Taproom, The Parlor, and The Occasional Room. The Taproom focuses on “craic,” the Irish term for good conversation, music, and mischief, while The Parlor hones in on more redefined cocktails. The Occasional Room recreates the traditional Irish pub atmosphere.

Where: 30 Water St, New York, NY 10004
Price: $$

3. Attaboy

 

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There’s no sign outside the door guiding guests inside this low key, warm neighborhood bar. In fact, not much about its romantic, intimate atmosphere points to the fact that in the cocktail world, Attaboy is legendary. Its reputation will become clear once you order: Though there is a cocktail list, guests are encouraged to divulge their preferences to the bartender, who will whip up something totally original – meaning you get a new experience every time you stop in.

Where: 134 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002
Price: $$$

4. The Clover Club

 

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While some bars on this list pour experimental, inventive drinks seen nowhere else, The Clover Club in Brooklyn is all about tradition. Here, the 19th century cocktail – sours, juleps, daisies, and royales – reign supreme. But don’t expect stodgy, antiquated recipes here. The goal is to make traditional cocktail styles taste fresh and exciting – with just a touch of nostalgia.

Where: 210 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Price: $$

Essential New York City dive bars

1. Blue & Gold Tavern

This no fuss, no frills East Village spot resembles a dark cavern (you have to descend a set of stairs to get in) but it has all the trappings of a classic dive bar: Cheap beer, tattered booths, a pool table, dim lighting, and a surly bartender. Despite the absolute bar bones approach to hospitality, the atmosphere here is always lively, and you’re likely to run a few colorful locals at the bar, too.

Where: 79 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003
Price: $

2. Jimmy’s Corner

 

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When most people think of Times Square, tourist traps come to mind, but Jimmy’s Corner stands out. Sure, it’s not polished and squeaky clean like the flashing billboard in the rest of the neighborhood, but that’s part of its charm. The walls are decorated with boxing memorabilia, t The drinks are cheap (try the signature drink, Jimmy’s Hurricane), and the atmosphere is friendly and welcoming. Head here if you’re eager to mix with locals and want to avoid tourists.

Where: 140 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036
Price: $

3. Capri Social Club

Located in Greenpoint, Capri Social Club is easy to walk by and not notice. But with basic chairs and tables and cheap beers and shots, this is the type of place to go if you want to sit alone at the bar and relax, without being bothered. Friendly bartenders add to an atmosphere that is casual but welcoming to everyone – the kind of bar you’ll visit every time you’re in Brooklyn.

Where: 156 Calyer St, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Price: $

4. The Jar Bar

Sunnyside’s unpretentious dive bar has been open since 1927. Grab a beer and enjoy billiards or darts, or retire to the backyard patio. Queens locals swear by The Jar Bar, returning again and again to the quiet neighborhood where people go to enjoy a few drinks with friends, not get rowdy and disruptive.

Where: 45-06 48th Ave, Queens, NY 11377
Price: $

Where to stay for night out in New York City

After a day of exploring the New York City streets then indulging in a few craft cocktails or knocking back beers, you’re going to want a comfortable place to rest your head. Check out this luxurious hotels that provide top notch amenities.

We hope you love the spaces and stays we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.

Where to say in Times Square

Margaritaville Resort Times Square

Situated in the vibrant Theater District, this tropical themed escape offers a welcoming blend of luxury and comfort. The cozy rooms offer sweeping views of Midtown Manhattan. For adult guests, the hotel is outfitted with three bars, and specializes in playful tropical drinks. The hotel is also family-friendly, so whether you’re looking for a romantic escape or a getaway with kids in tow, the Margaritaville Resort Times Square welcomes everyone.

Where: 560 7th Ave, New York, NY 10018

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Where to stay in Tribeca

The Greenwich Hotel

Located near some of New York City’s best parks, including Washington Square Park, Union Square Park and The High Line, The Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca is the epitome of modern luxury. The highlight of the property is the Japanese-style Shibui Spa, which features an indoor pool and soaking tubs. The rooms feature polished wood accents, fire places, and plus carpets, giving the space a welcoming, cozy, but thoroughly elegant feel.

Where: 377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

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Where to stay in Brooklyn

Akwaaba Mansion Bed and Breakfast

Have you been looking for a cozy and intimate stay near the heart of Brooklyn? Look no further than this 1860s Black-owned Italianate mansion. Located in Stuyvesant Heights, Akwaaba Mansion offers four rooms tucked within a brownstone. Wake up each morning to a hot Southern-style breakfast served in the dining room. For a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, relax in the garden tucked away from street noise. Book a massage during your stay, which can be done in the privacy of your guest room.

Where: 47 MacDonough St, Brooklyn, NY 11233

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