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Best Fancy Bar to Pretend You're a Grown-up Who Can Afford a Fancy Bar
The Second Floor Bar
25 Cooper Sq.
Hey look, you made it inside Carlos Zapata's fancily designed hotel for international rich people! WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO NOW? You're going to relax and have an inventive but restrained cocktail by Jigmed Latshang (because everything rich people do and consume is by someone).
Best Place to Drink Cocktails Prepared by Sasha Petraske Without Making Secret Reservations Six Months before
21 Essex St.
Far from the too-cool masses pressing into Little Branch and Milk & Honey these days, but not as far as the aforementioned Dutch Kills, cocktail mogul Petraske actually tends bar sometimes at this narrow, elegant and mercifully down to earth bar on a distant Lower East Side-meets-Chinatown block—and it specializes in absinthe drinks!
Best Spot to Both Dance and Eat Mac and Cheese
236 Troutman St.
You can work up quite an appetite while drinking and dancing. Luckily Jane Virga, owner of this hidden-away Bushwick bar, serves up amazing homemade mac and cheese (and other great dishes like grass-fed meatballs) to go along with her specialty cocktails and a raging dance party in the back room.
Bar Most Successful at Faking the Versatility of Tequila
304 E. 6th St.
Ok, they're not really faking it here. Though for our money, mescal is the more versatile Mexican firewater. Regardless of which, these guys make cocktail magic that's a thousand miles away from the salt and lime approach. (And some of the best bar small plates in the city).
Best Bar for the Thirsty and Poor on a Tuesday Night
593 Lorimer St.
The philanthropists behind this retro-designed bar are kind enough to reach out to a ubiquitous Brooklyn niche: the young, destitute beer-swiller. On Tuesday nights, from 8:30-10, a PBR costs the very reasonable price of zero dollars (but REMEMBER TO TIP YOUR BARTENDER as the many laminated signs suitably insist). Bonus: free pizza at the Alligator Lounge isn't more than a few stumbles away.
Best Bar for Lovers of PBR, Well Whiskey, Slasher Flicks, and Erotic Photo Hunt
Lucky 13 Saloon
273 13th St.
The White Trash special will get you a PBR and a shot of whiskey for $5, and the Megatouch naked lady game is often inexplicably open. If you prefer your misogyny non-digital, Go-Go night is Tuesday—though Monday's Burlesque show is superior.
West Village in Queens
30-09 34th St., Astoria
This sexy newcomer brings some of the magic of its West Village cousin Wilfie & Nell to cocktail-deprived Astoria. A warm, speakeasy-style atmosphere, specialty cocktails, craft beers and a host of locally sourced menu options (burgers, fried pickles, etc.) makes for a great excuse to hop on the N train.
Best Bar in Which to Shout "Screw The Man"
485 Dean St.
Adorned in anti-Barclay's posters, this reliable dive is the meeting place of old veteran drinkers and young artsy types alike. Fighting eminent domain laws, this institution is hoping to maintain its location despite bulldozers from the Atlantic Yards project. The regulars don't want to be political—they have to be.
Best Bar in Which to Drink a 9% Microbrew While Reading "Finnegan's Wake"
82 Fourth Ave.
Run by relaxed California ex-pats who are unabashedly proud of the West Coast's selection of strong ale, this San Francisco-style pub epitomizes geek chic. The back room is the dorm common room of your dreams (if such an idea could possibly exist)—replete with comfy couches, darts, maps, and the most intelligently-stocked and genre-ranging bookshelves.