UYC’s Guide: 5 NYC Bars You’ll Love This Summer
Since Jerry Thomas, the New York City bartender whom the New York Times calls “the father of American mixology,” opened his first saloon in the city in the mid-19th century, the cocktail has grown to become recognized as a largely American creation albeit with roots in old Europe. Today, the city remains a favorite for men and women looking for some of the most unique bar, tavern and lounge experiences in the world.
From fine wines to craft beers to unique cocktails, New York City is a barhopper’s dream. In fact, since Thomas’ initial foray into the barkeeping arena (he eventually owned four bars in the city), the Big Apple has been the birthplace of many famous cocktails, including the Tom Collins and cocktails named for each of the city’s five boroughs.
But beyond the liquor itself, the New York City bar experience is truly one-of-a-kind, appealing to a wide range of tastes and styles. Whether you choose to hobnob with jeans-wearing patrons at the city’s more casual taverns or don a suit or cocktail dress and hit the more upscale establishments, one of the following hotspots is sure to be right for your tastes.
One of the best aspects of New York City is its international flavor, and you can experience a little of that at Raymi (43 W. 24th St.), which specializes in drinks made with Pisco, a South American grape brandy. Raymi features both a bar and a restaurant and is a special favorite among the creative crowd in the Flatiron area. Try a chilcano, featuring Pisco, ginger ale and bitters, or a machacado, which combines the brandy with fresh herbs and fruits.
The Hotel Americano (518 W. 27th St.) is home to the dual-personality bar La Piscine/Conôsur prominently offering a water feature that’s just as changeable: In the summer, it’s a pool (piscine is the French word for pool) surrounded by butterfly chairs; in winter, it morphs into a hot tub and the chairs don sheepskin covers. While there, enjoy the tapas while sipping a hibiscus-flavored margarita in the summer; in winter, enjoy fondue and hot punch made with mezcal.
Maison Premiere (298 Bedford Ave., Williamsburg) offers a little taste of New Orleans in Brooklyn thanks to its dedication to two of the Big Easy’s most famous products: oysters and absinthe, of which 19 varieties are offered here. The atmosphere is just as authentic, and great pains have been taken to create a bar that looks like it’s been transplanted straight from the shores of the mighty Mississippi.
Enjoy your drinks outdoors at the ‘Disiac Lounge (402 W. 54th St.), a Hell’s Kitchen venue that boasts a private patio space where patrons while away the time on comfy Moroccan-inspired poufs while sipping mojitos and dipping into a fondue. Though its exterior is modest, you’ll likely spot its neon disco-like bar from the street.
Named for its location, 230 Fifth — avenue, not street — is a purely NYC experience featuring ankle-deep carpeting, purple fluorescent lights and low-slung couches, including one once owned by iconic German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. The swank interior décor is surpassed only by the expansive rooftop deck, populated by palm trees and flanked by garden benches and a wide array of chairs — enough to accommodate 500 imbibers. The deck also offers views of the Empire State Building, and if you drink enough, you just might see King Kong scaling its walls.
This is just a tiny sampling of the vast selection of bars, nightclubs, lounges and taverns the city has to offer. And although it’s been almost 130 years since Jerry Thomas passed on to that great bar in the sky, chances are if he came back today, he’d feel right at home.
About the Author: This is a guest post written by Sara Powell, who lives in New York City with three roommates who are all writers.