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Top 5 New York City Cocktail Bars

Home > New York > Lists | Cocktail Bars
by Mihaela Schwartz (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and an avid traveler.
Published February 22nd 2013
Sip a Cocktail in the Big Apple
Traveling to New York City this summer? You should! There are so many things to do and see in the Big Apple, but there are even more things to experience and one of them is the cocktails culture. So, if you want to sip some of the best exotic drinks New York has to offer, here are the top 5 places to try out:

Angel's Share for the Japanese flavors

Not easy to find this famous bar, where Japanese rigor rules. Exploiting the vein of the old speakeasy, this heavenly spot lies inside Village Yokocho - an izakaya (a Japanese pub) on the edge of the East Village, a neighborhood rich in Asian restaurants, but also cocktail bars. Once you pass the small backdoor, the atmosphere changes completely: a beautifully lit bar, a few tables, elegant bartenders wearing black vests, a soft background music.

Angel's Share New York City Cocktail Bars
Angel's Share- Flickr/Razlan


The cocktails menu is really impressive. They offer all the New York classics, as well as other exotic and seasonal refreshing Japanese mixed based on lychee and shiso. If you are hungry, you can grab a bite at Village Yokocho. The fried soft-shell crabs are simply delicious!

Death & Co. for the bartending revolution

A stone's throw away from PDT and Amor y Amargo in East Village, Death & Co. is one of those must-know addresses while in New York and longing for a cocktail. There are no classics here, but a limited menu of original creations artfully prepared by the young bartenders who make many in-house mixes. If you're a bit lost, simply let the bartenders advise you, indicating for instance the alcohol you want as basis if you want to have a good surprise.

Death & Co. New York City Cocktail Bars
Death & Co. - Flickr/Kenn Wilson


In a relaxed atmosphere, you can savor the classical, yet improved flavors of a Piña colada deconstruction, or you will be introduced to City of Gold Sling, which harmoniously blends old gin, 12 years old rum, almond syrup, absinthe, lime and pineapple juice, and Peychaud bitter. An old fashioned, yet very comfortable option is Tailspin – a recipe that can be found in the "Mr. Boston's Guide" (1935) combining gin, vermouth, green chartreuse, orange bitters and Campari. Enjoy!

PDT - the hidden gem

Please Don't Tell! The name of this cocktail bar says loads about the place. Although very trendy, PDT is not easy to find. Hidden in a hot dog snack in the bustling St. Mark's Square, PDT has a very dark décor featuring trophies and stuffed animals, evoking a hut that seems to belong to a Twin Peaks scene. While the atmosphere is unique, the menu can be actually quite disappointing as it is based solely on original creations, regularly renewed.

Amor y Amargo for some bitter

The new kid on the block, Amor y Amargo is a tiny bar in East Village. Overlooking the kitchen of a small restaurant serving Hispanic snacks (that you can enjoy while sipping a drink), this is actually a small hallway with beautiful mosaic floor, paneled walls and magnificent Art Deco metallic ceiling. Behind the bar, the two bartenders seem to be the masters of any drink based on bitter liqueurs.

Amor y Amargo New York Cocktail Bars
Amor y Amargo - FreeDigitalPhotos


At Amor y Amargo you can also purchase some bartending utensils as well as a beautiful collection of bitters (Peychaud, Regan's, Boker's), as well as the full range of Bittermens - a young craftsmanship brand that moved from Boston to Brooklyn with the ambition of revolutionizing the world of bitter blows daringly blending chocolate and different exotic fruits.

Employees Only for class and style

Another hidden secret that only New York insiders know, located in the beautiful Hudson Street - one of the quiet Greenwich Village's main avenues, Employees Only's facade is quite misleading. All you can see is a coated E and an O on the front of a fortune-teller give a clue about the true nature of the place. Once you get in, you will find a trendy bar whose decor successfully evokes the 20s. With his straw hat and moustache, Igor (one of the bosses), seems to come straight out of the Roaring Twenties, too. Try the exceptional Billionaire cocktail (a bourbon shake with lemon juice, grenadine and bitter absinthe) or the elegant and delicate Imperial Sour (a Mandarin Napoleon mixed with egg whites, ginger liqueur and lime juice).
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