Destination: New York
Aria Wine Bar
Located in the West Village at the corner of Perry and Hudson streets, Aria is a cozy Italian wine bar perfect for a late afternoon drink and tapas with friends. Patrons sit at communal wooden tables or at the bar noshing on carefully selected charcuterie and delicacies such as calamari stewed in tomatoes, capers and olives and bite-sized lamb chops simply roasted with rosemary.
Hudson Bar & Books
This cigar bar is great for both the winter and summer. On a cold and snowy night, you can get cozy with a glass of red wine and in the summer, there is outdoor seating. They serve an outstanding Dark and Stormy.
Old Town Bar
The Old Town swung open its doors in 1892. Its mahogany counter has been known to draw its share of movie stars, from Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt to Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson.
Head to the sun-filled upstairs bar of this cool spot near the New Museum, on the Bowery. The space has tall industrial windows and is presided over by a bartender with a love for mixology and creating custom-made beverages in addition to a delicious drink menu.
Modeled after an 1800’s British Colonial Officers’ club in Burma, Pegu Club’s inventive cocktails earn the respect of multiple generations of New Yorkers who flock to this Soho cocktail bar.
The smoky atmosphere of Pete’s Tavern isn’t the least bit contrived; the restaurant dates back to 1864. Almost from the start, it was a literati hangout. In the early 1900s, O’Henry is said to have scribbled “The Gift of the Magi” at his favorite booth near the front door; some thirty years later, Austrian artist-restaurateur Ludwig Bemelmans penned his beloved children’s book Madeline here. Who knows what future classics current patrons are tapping out on their laptops?
After years of a hotel-guests-only policy, the Sky Terrace at the Hudson Hotel reopened this summer as a rooftop refuge for the general public. The setting, on the fifteenth floor of the Midtown hotel, evokes a secret garden, with blossoming wisteria vines and English ivy adding nature to the wooden deck area. There are couches and lounge chairs sprinkled throughout, as well as some strategically placed hammocks with sweeping views. Come early to scope out the better seating nooks; the Sky Terrace is open from 8am to 11:30pm through the summer, with cocktails being served at the mod solarium bar, decorated with antique mirrors, from noon until 10pm.
The Dead Rabbit
Upon arrival at this three-story Financial District speakeasy that opened in 2013, patrons are welcomed with a mini teacup of the night’s specialty cocktail. If it’s not your, well, cup of tea, there is a long list of 72 curated cocktails from which to choose. Each page is dedicated to a different style of libation, from sours and fizzes to flips, possets, and nogs. Don’t be overwhelmed; the abundance of choices can be narrowed down by the knowledgeable staff, who are more than happy to bring samples before you order. If you’re not in the mood for a bishop (“typically wine or beer of any kind, spice and sugar, served hot or cold”) go for one of the communal punches, served in a china bowl for 4-8 people; it’s impossible not to have fun at a grown-up tea party.
I’m not much of a cocktail drinker, so I’ve always loved the otheroom’s interesting list of microbrews and good wines by the glass. During the colder months, the sexy candle-lit interior with exposed brick walls is the perfect place to hole up over a drink. In the summer, the front windows fling open to quaint Perry Street.
The Rose Bar
The Rose Bar, in the Gramercy Park Hotel has weathered the storm, and gone from hot spot du jour to a New York classic. Billowy servers deliver martinis under soaring wood-paneled ceilings, plush sitting areas, contemporary art and a well-curated playlist. Rose Bar is best after work, as it can get packed late-night.
White Horse Tavern
A neighborhood fixture since 1880, the White Horse became an important bohemian watering hole during the beatnik era. Among the regulars: Jane Jacobs, James Baldwin, Norman Mailer and Dylan Thomas. The Welsh poet is reputed to have downed at least twelve whiskeys in one night. Don’t try to top him—he died the next day!
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