New York City guide: Top 10 bars for frequenting

It’s been just over a year living in NYC now and admittedly; it’s been the drunkest year of my life. I’m not really sure who I should be blaming for this… Myself? My friends? The plethora of watering holes in the city? Probably all three (not that there’s even anything wrong with some responsibly drunken fun amongst friends ;))

Anyway with a year of some rigorous bar research under my belt, I feel like I’m in a pretty good place to name my top 10 bars in New York. Knowing how quickly the scene changes in this city, I’ll definitely be adding quality establishments to the NYC Google map whenever I come across them.

Any tips on some of your favourite NYC bars are welcome by the way! (Just leave me a comment and I’ll go check them out)

NYC Google Map

*Tips for using the map: Clicking on the printer icon in Google Maps will bring up a list with images and details that you can print and take with you on your trip. You can also send the link to yourself and use your phone browser to view the map on the go – remember caching the map is the best thing to do to avoid spending a lot of money on data roaming!





NYC does cool hotel bars like no other city and the Wythe Hotel rooftop is no exception. Start the evening with dinner at Reynard and ask the staff if you can skip the line for post dinner drinks.

Best Bit: Best view of Manhattan and a high coincidence of spying on touring rockstars relaxing in their suites.

Wythe Hotel  


Wythe Avenue is very quickly becoming the go-to nightlife street in Williamsburg for young Brooklynites and edgier Manhattanites. Right across from the Wythe hotel stands Kinfolk 90 Wythe – a spot that seamlessly combines bar, restaurant and club in an intimate yet vibe-y way.

Best Bit: The space. It’s the kind of cool converted warehouse space I plan on living in one day 🙂 The music policy is pretty good too depending on the night.

Kinfolk Studios NYC

Kinfolk Studios NYC


It’s narrow (like the name) and the 1920s Deco inspired interiors will compel you to imagine the cast of Mad Men drinking here – only in reality you’ll more likely be drinking with the local Bushwick crowd who are more hipster than Mad Men.

Best Bit: There’s a back garden where you can enjoy some beers. If you’re feeling classy (it’s a pretty classy joint) drink your cocktail inside where the lighting is nice.

The Narrows NYC



Located in what I like to call Little Tokyo on 9th Street East Village, this place could easily be named best sake bar in NYC. Look out for the illuminated “On Air” sign (it’s the only way you’ll know you’ve arrived) and walk down the wooden stairs into what feels like a small Tokyo bar.

Walking in, I spied some wall stickers from Red Light Radio in Amsterdam and Brownswood in London so I knew immediately that they have some serious music cred – they backed it up with some nice tunes too.

Best Bit: The crowd – a nice mix of Japanese expats and East Village locals.

 Decibel NYC

 Decibel NYC



Scandinavia meets Brooklyn. It had to be done one day and what better time than now – while NYC’s recent love affair with Scandinavian cuisine and Danish styling is coming into full fledge.

Best Bit: They manage to really elevate beer by serving all of their 21 brews in refined Danish glassware.

Torst NYC

Torst NYC



A low key East Village local with rustic all-wood interior that could be reminiscent of an old bar in the South of France. The bar attracts a well-dressed downtown crowd that skews creative.

Best Bit: There’s a small-room club downstairs where you can dance off all the wine you’ve consumed.

 Von NYC




I’d say with conviction that they make the best cocktails in the city. Hopefully you score a seat in one of the booths by the big beautiful windows but if not, the handsome Japanese bar men make sitting at the bar a pretty good consolation prize.

Remember the only way in is via a loosely associated Japanese restaurant.

Best Bit: Maximum 4 people in a group and no standing allowed. These strict rules make for a quiet, intimate and chilled out drinking experience – very rare in NYC.

 Angels Share NYC



Some of the ex-Milk & Honey crew saw a great opportunity when the bar uprooted and moved up to their midtown location. They stayed on and re-opened the space as Attaboy, keeping all the best of Milk & Honey but saying goodbye to the slightly pretentious reservation policy.

Best Bit: No menu. Just describe to the bar staff the types of flavours you like in a cocktail and they’ll whip something up to your liking.

134 Eldridge St. (at Broome St)
New York, NY 10002

Attaboy NYC  


Bright and airy with a stylish balance of old and new. Think clean white walls, Edison bulbs and vintage sewing machines.

Best Bit: Start early when it’s still light out and enjoy sitting under the big beautiful skylight

Elsa NYC

Elsa NYC


I can’t quite put my finger on what I like so much about this bar. Sure, it’s airy, the cocktails are nice and there are these big beautiful windows you can sit by in the summer time… But there’s something else about it that makes me wonder why I don’t go more often each time I head there. Sorry I can’t be any more descriptive that “it’s just a nice place to hang out”.

Best Bit: Beer + big window + people watching in Nolita. = nice place to hang out.

Mothers Ruin NYC

Mothers Ruin NYC

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4 Responses to “New York City guide: Top 10 bars for frequenting”
  1. Loraine Branan says:

    You have compiled a great list here, gives me lots of options when I come to visit there for my first time. I have a great book about dining and places to get a drink so I will see if she wrote anything on these places as I can’t visit them all. Monica DiNatale is the author her book is Guide 365 New York City, It’s been a great help in planning meals so far for when we are there!

    • jennynoowyn says:

      Hi Loraine, thanks for kind words and I will go check out the book! Cheers, Jenny

      • Loraine Branan says:

        I will say that there is an actual link to the book I didn’t see before. I was recommending it to friends and they told me was the site just for the book itself. I feel bad putting the wrong thing on here! Sorry!

  2. Abraham says:

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    It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed material.
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