New York City. The city that doesn’t sleep. The city that has more cocktail bars then you will ever know. My first trip to New York City was many moons ago when I went there in high school on an art trip. I remember standing at a street corner waiting to cross along with what felt like hundreds of other people and I thought, “Man, this city is really something. It’s HUGE!” Of course, back then, I lived in a small town of 10,000 people so everything felt big. Since that trip, New York City has remained one of my most favourite places to visit. I love the hustle that happens there. I love discovering new neighbourhoods. I love losing myself in a museum, filled with all of the art that I studied in University. New York City is where things happen so naturally, the cocktail scene there is a booming one. It’s where bar owners travel to to get inspiration. It’s where new trends in the industry are created. It’s where legends are born. While there are a plethora of bars and neighbourhoods in New York City where you can choose to do a bar hop, I chose to stick to the classic Manhattan’s Lower East Side for this one.
1/ Mayahuel (304 East 6th Street)
Mayahuel is a great place to start your NYC bar hop because they have food. They also have killer mezcal cocktails. There are two floors to Mayahuel and while I usually always recommend sitting at the bar whenever you are visiting a new place, I must say that the upstairs of Mayahuel is pretty sweet. It’s dark and moody with velvet-covered booths and if you get there near the beginning of the night, it’s usually pretty quiet (aka: romantic).
2/ Death & Co (433 East 6th Street)
Death & Co is an institution and if you are in the industry and you have yet to visit, you need to hop on a plane immediately to do so. The space is D A R K which makes spying on the back bar a little difficult and taking photos here really difficult. The menu is pretty big and is divided by spirits which makes it easy if you are taking friends out who may not be that familiar with cocktails.
3/ Amor y Amargo (443 East 6th Street)
Amor y Amargo to this day remains one of my most favourite bars. It is a small place where there is often standing room only. On the one night that we were in, there was a lone female bartender who ran that room like it was a theatre production. She was stirring drinks, taking orders and looking around the room to be sure that everyone was happy all at the same time. It was a pretty fascinating thing to watch. Order the Sharpie Moustache that comes in this adorable bottle.
4/ Pouring Ribbons (225 Avenue B, 2nd Floor)
Pouring Ribbons is a classic cocktail bar. It’s a little more sophisticated in it’s appearance but don’t feel that you have to be dressed up to go. The name Pouring Ribbons comes from the idea that when liquor flows out of a bottle perfectly it looks like ribbon. Bonus: they have a vintage Chartreuse list. Get on it!
5/ Please Don’t Tell (PTD) (113 St Marks Place)
PTD is a hot spot and is one of the more popular cocktail bars in Manhattan. It’s also a speakeasy where you have to enter through a phone booth. If they are at capacity when you arrive, they will take your number and give you a shout when they have space.
6/ Attaboy (134 Eldridge St)
Attaboy is another of my most favourite bars in the world. It’s hard to find but when you get in, you will be happy that it’s your last stop. The room is long and narrow and there is no official menu. Just tell the bartender what you are craving and they will make you something out of this world. These guys don’t mess around.
Do you have any bars in the Lower East Side to add to our list? Comment below.
Note: As with all Bar Hops, we are not encouraging getting inebriated. This is a list of great cocktail bars that we suggest visiting while in New York City. We want you to have fun and play safe. Check out How to Do a Good Bar Hop for some hot tips.