We love the considered, everything just-perfectly-so vibes at Bar Goto.
Photo by Alex Lau62. The Place to Escape the Saturday-Night Chaos of the Lower East Side, While Still Going Out on the Lower East Side
Lower East Side, Manhattan
The confines of this thoughtfully designed jewel box are modeled after Tokyo’s intimate cocktail bars, with a wall of Japanese whiskies and a compact list of craveable bar snacks to soak it all up. The tables are close, providing excellent eavesdropping opportunities. Take full advantage of the cocktail list.
✵ Order: house pickles, okonomiyaki, miso wings, highballs.
63. The Place for a Beer After that Broadway Show You Just Saw
Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan
The bar scene in Hell’s Kitchen is, well, hellish. But As Is deviates from the neighborhood norm. This beautifully designed bar—with tiled floors, dark woods, and custom light fixtures—rotates more than a dozen of the most exciting taps in the city (highlighting local faves Grimm Artisanal Ales, Other Half Brewing, and Mikkeller NYC, as well as beers from grail-worthy breweries Hill Farmstead and Cantillon), and puts just as much emphasis on fun and accessibility as it does on beer quality. This is the craft beer bar for beer nerds and novices alike.
✵ Order: something hoppy on tap, a saison from the bottle list, and a plate of nachos.
64. The Place to Drink the Stuff You Won’t Find at Any Other Bar in NYC
They make mead at the aptly named Honey’s, but that doesn’t mean you have to drink the fermented honey water if you go here. This corner bar with a neon-pink sign is run by mad-scientist bartender Arley Marks, who also curates the short list of deep-cut natural wines from all over the world and cocktails like the Hola Yola, made with Yola mezcal, wildflower mead (yup!), byrrh grand quinquina (a French aperitif), and a spritz of absinthe.
✵ Order: Mead! Do it! It’s great! For real! Or just stick with a glass of white wine.
65. The Place for Buying a Fresh IPA Out of a Window
Gold Star Beer Counter
Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
Gold Star Beer Counter is two things: a bar and a bottle shop. But whether you’re drinking a Belgian saison there or taking some hazy cans of IPA to-go, it’s absolutely one of the best places in the five boroughs to get a beer. And yes, you can walk right up to the window from the sidewalk and buy said beer.
✵ Order: Ask the bartenders which beers are fresh, tasty, and interesting. And get a salami picante sandwich while you’re at it.
66. The Place for When Some People Want to Drink and Other People Want to Have a Nice Dinner
Four friends walk into a bar. One wants a glass of easy-drinking red. Another wants a cold can of Genesee. The third could go for a bubbly spritz laced with Averna. And the fourth would rather go straight to pasta with braised pork and white beans. That bar is Achilles Heel—a 100-plus-year-old neighborhood spot on a corner in Greenpoint that hassomething for everyone.
✵ Order: the seasonal spritz, oysters, lentil dip, marinated short rib, and anything that involves She Wolf Bakery bread.
67. The Place for a World-Class Pilsner in a World-Class Backyard
Text your friends, grab a few pitchers of Vliet (the house pilsner), and appreciate a perfect summer day on Threes’ sprawling outdoor patio. Then clear your calendar for the afternoon: With bar food from the Meat Hook and a reliably excellent tap list, there’s no better place to camp out for the nexteight hours. Threes is unparalleled as an outdoor summer drinking spot, but a large indoor space and heated tents outside (November to April) keep the hangout going year-round.
✵ Order: any of the house-brewed beers, a frozen piña colada, and the fried chicken sandwich.
Alphabet City, Manhattan
The lights are low, the natural wine is on tap, and the ample cheese plate comes with a schmear of miso-mustard dressing. The music varies, but it’s always a vibe. Ask the approachable bartenders what’s new on the tap list, taste a few wines, and then commit to a carafe and a spot by the windows.
✵ Order: sausage rolls, olives, seasonal salad, the cheese plate, and a carafe of wine on tap.
69. The Place for a Pitcher of Beer and Curtis Mayfield on the Jukebox
Alphabet City, Manhattan
There’s a bouncer at Josie’s. And probably some NYU students. And maybe a group of washed-up East Village punk rockers. And definitely someone running the pool table. But Josie’s is a dive bar. This is what you signed up for.
✵ Order: cheap beer and well whiskey.
70. The Place for Natural Wine Without the Monologues
The Ten Bells
Lower East Side, Manhattan
Wine bars are frequently plagued by pretentiousness. The Ten Bells is not, and it boasts one of the most well-rounded and exciting lists of by-the-glass natural wine in the city. It’s filled with young, loud, joyous people there to have a good time in the space’s warm orange glow (which makes everything and everyone look more attractive). Show up early and stay late. Spots at the bar—especially on weekends—are coveted.
✵ Order: Spanish tortilla, mortadella, marinated olives, oysters, and glasses or bottles of whatever you’ve never tried before.
71. The Place for a Fancy Martini and the Greatest Bar Mural There Ever Was
Upper East Side, Manhattan
A live piano player. Expertly made classic cocktails. Walls painted by Ludwig Bemelmans, the guy who illustrated Madeline. All inside an iconic Art Deco hotel that has discreetly housed the world’s most famous actors, politicians, and musicians. (Jagger! Princess Di! JFK! Anjelica Huston and Jack Nicholson! We’re talking about The Carlyle! Hello!) This is Upper East Side ambiance in its purest form—with prices to match (not to mention the cover charge after 9:30 p.m.).
✵ Order: a martini, old Scotch, a glass of champagne, or whatever else makes you feel like a millionaire.
Old Town Bar
Whether or not you’re using them, it’s important to know that Old Town Bar has the oldest urinals in New York City. Aside from that, the long mahogany bar is well-polished from a century of forearm leans. The booths are cozy enough to keep your secrets. And the dumbwaiters are still bringing fries down from the kitchen upstairs. If it feels familiar, that’s because you’ve seen it before: The bar’s shown up in everything from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to House of Pain’s music video for “Jump Around.”
✵ Order: a rye Manhattan, a copy of the New York Post, Buffalo wings, and fries.
73. The Place for Rum Punches That’ll Knock You Out
This Bed-Stuy bar wasn’t around in the ’90s, but you wouldn’t know it from the exposed red light bulbs, palm tree iconography, and thumping Caribbeats. If the need to escape that vibe for a minute overwhelms you, the backyard is big and comfortable.
✵ Order: Jamaican rums, rum punch, and very cold beer.
74. The Place for When You Want a Great Cocktail But Not a “Scene”
The Long Island Bar
Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
Things that make this Cobble Hill bar an excellent place to drink: The classic-leaning cocktails are well-crafted but not precious. (There are no “mixologists” here!) The restored midcentury interior is stylish but not fancy. And the thin-patty burger is exactly what you’ll want to eat with that second cocktail. Oh, and you can usually get a seat no problem.
✵ Order: a Boulevardier and the Ladies’ Burger.
There’s nowhere better to accommodate the urge to hold residency at a wine bar than The Fly. Show up early with a couple pals, grab some seats at the bar, and as friends come and go throughout the evening, move from bottle to rotisserie chicken to glass to chicken sandwich back to bottle again. If a booth opens up, grab it. Your roster may change, but this rule remains a constant: Don’t stop ordering plates of fries until the last friend is out the door. Make this bar-slash-restaurant your home.
✵ Order: chicken sandwich, rotisserie chicken, french fries, and salad.
76. The Place for Drinking Sake, Whether You’re a Newbie or Lifelong Fanatic
Sake Bar Satsko
Alphabet City, Manhattan
Satsko is one of those rare specialty bars that has somehow managed to still feel like a true neighborhood spot. This tiny Alphabet City bar is staffed by bartenders who really want to serve you sake. The list is on the smaller side but filled with everything from clean, dry junmai ginjo to weirder, fruity, unpasteurized varieties. The bartenders—who control the playlists featuring a mix of soul, disco, electronic, chill-wave, and ambient music—also have very good taste in tunes.
✵ Order: a glass of unpasteurized sake recommended by the bartender and some fried shishito peppers.