Midtown Is Happening
Civilized but surprisingly unfusty new bars.
After catching the Yoko Ono exhibit at MoMA:
Baccarat Hotel Bar
20 W. 53rd St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-790-8800
Few venues in recent years have been more opulent (and shiny) than crystal company Baccarat’s new hotel bar. Sip a $22 Boulevardier (from a Baccarat-crystal glass, of course) at the long, black-white-and-red-accented bar below a whole bunch of ornate chandeliers. Bites like caviar sliders and lobster dumplings are by chef Shea Gallante (who also helms the on-site restaurant); you can take your Champagne on the terrace.
For a preAmerican in Paris glass of Champagne:
30 Rockefeller Plz., nr. 50th St.; 212-632-5000
Sure, SixtyFive isn’t exactly affordable (a Wild Turkey 101 Manhattan costs $22). But would you expect the bar at the reborn Rainbow Room to have a shot-and-beer special? At 65 stories up, the outdoor wraparound terrace offers Instagrammable views, and the cocktails are notably well crafted and creative the Salty Lassi, $20, uses rum, cumin, Kaffir lime, ginger, and turmeric to match bar snacks like caramel popcorn with ancho chile.
For a prePeter Panbus-ride rum cocktail:
11 Times Sq., nr. 42nd St.; 212-542-8950
Across from the Port Authority is this glitzy $29 million affair (the name is a portmanteau of urban and bohemian) from Russian restaurant magnate Eugene Kadomskiy. Once inside the sparkling, 26,000-square-foot warehouselike space, head up the spiral staircase to the second-floor bar, which offers drinks quite unlike those you’ll find in nearby Irish pubs: Jan Warren’s (Dutch Kills) impressive list of seasonal and classic cocktails includes standouts like the Dirty Wine rum, port, and rosemary on the rocks ($15).
When the bar at Le Bernardin is full:
Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
151 W. 51st St., nr. Seventh Ave.; 212-554-1143
Small plates here come courtesy of Eric Ripert, like spicy chicharrones and duck rillettes. But the wine’s the thing, and sommelier Aldo Sohm is among the more accomplished wine geeks in the world, having honed his craft at sister restaurant Le Bernardin. Toast with a glass of prosecco for only $14; a backdrop of bright Keith Harings against muted walls gives the space a Mod-ish feel, while comfy couches create a living-room vibe.
To butter up a client:
Spyglass Rooftop Bar
Archer Hotel, 47 W. 38th St., nr. Sixth Ave., 22nd fl.; 212-730-0538
Perched on the 22nd floor of the Archer Hotel, Spyglass is within spitting distance of the Empire State Building, Bryant Park, and Times Square but feels removed from the midtown madness. Slightly gimmicky drinks aside like the Empire State, made with Hendricks gin, St. Germain, ginger, and basil ($17) the views are worth it. Set up shop at one of the window seats and eavesdrop on local finance types discussing their kids’ college applications after work; you’ll likely feel like you snuck into someone’s penthouse.
If your cousins insist on visiting the Empire State Building:
State Grill and Bar
350 Fifth Ave., nr. 34th St., ground fl.; 212-216-9693
Let them get in line for the 102nd floor while you settle into a seat at the teak bar of the tasteful premises on the building’s ground level. Get there earlyish for a happy-hour menu with a New Yorkcentric drinks list: Bronx Pale Ale and Sixpoint’s the Crisp pilsner ($5) are offered alongside Bedell First Crush reds and whites ($6), and seasonal cocktails like the Spring Spritz include housemade grenadine ($10).
Where the Schmoozers Booze
The vibe at Gran Electrica, near our offices in Dumbo, is easygoing, so a quick meet-and-greet drink can roll easily into a let’s-do-something-amazing-together dinner.
Vanessa Holden, creative director of West Elm
The King Cole Bar at the St. Regis is my go-to for celebrating with a new author. I think expense accounts were invented for their $25 cocktails.
Jenny Jackson, senior editor at Knopf and Doubleday
If I’m meeting men, we’ll go to Charlie Palmer, purely because it’s close to the office. When I’m meeting with women, I’ll go to Lavo: They serve great wine by the glass, you can actually hear each other, and they have good finger food (like truffle fries), which we women need when we drink.
Noelle Savarese, portfolio manager at hedge fund Matlin-Patterson
My warm-weather meeting spot is La Piscine, on the rooftop of the Hotel Americano: There’s the cityscape and a swimming pool. When you’re about to talk business, atmosphere is everything. And the aged cocktails don’t hurt.
Brad Lande, general manager of Birchbox Man
Find a Wine on Tap
We’ve now reached peak draft-line wine. Here, the newest taps worth seeking out, divided by wine region.
For local wines, head to Grand Bar & Grill (647 Grand St., nr. Leonard St., Williamsburg; 718-782-4726), where Seneca Lake Riesling and City Winery’s Zinfandel-Syrah are key offerings.
At pizza spot Emily (919 Fulton St., nr. Clinton Ave., Clinton Hill; 347-844-9588), there are two Bordeaux wines on tap: a Sauvignon Blanc and a red Bordeaux blend, both from Château Tassin and both perfect for pairing with sausage pies.
To try less-seen Chilean options, pop by the tiny (and irreverent: Teddy Grahams as bar snacks) Pocket Bar (455 W. 48th St., nr. Tenth Ave.; 646-682-9062), where a citrusy Elqui Valley Sauvignon Blanc is on draft.
Beverage director Gil Avital keeps at least 8 wines on tap, including sherry, at El Colmado Butchery (53 Little W. 12th St., nr. Tenth Ave.; 212-488-0000).
Tap-only wine bar Lois (98 Ave. C, nr. 7th St.; 212-475-1400) dispenses 15 eclectic, worldly pours, all chosen by expert educatorbeverage director Nora O’Malley (a recent selection: Napa-based Scholium Project’s Loire-grape Miss Texas).
More New Dignified Bars
413 E. 12th St., nr. First Ave.; no phone
Marco Canora’s Terroir remake; music-request chalkboard; some 20 wines BTG.
310 Spring St., nr. Greenwich St.; no phone
Turquoise floors; American-flag art; Montauk vibes.
480 Amsterdam Ave., nr. 83rd St.; 646-918-6510
Press-letter menu board; LP-covered walls; red tufted-leather banquettes.
886 Fulton St., nr. Waverly Ave., Clinton Hill 347-987-4334
AleSmith X on draft; spare brick walls; beer-geek events.
579 Myrtle Ave., at Classon Ave., Clinton Hill 718-638-3982
Uncle Barry’s sibling; on-tap Boulevard; win-a-bar-tab trivia.
231 Court St., nr. Baltic St., Cobble Hill; 917-909-0434
Natural wines; slow-baked carrots; female-friends dates.
175 Kent Ave., at N. 3rd St., Williamsburg 718-384-4100
Mandy Oserselected wines; oysters and cheese plates; chalkboard-wall menu.
No. 7 North
931 Manhattan Ave., nr. Java St., Greenpoint 718-389-7775
Broccoli tacos; $7 borough-themed drinks; pool table.
Flagship Brewing Company
40 Minthorne St., nr. Bay St. 718-448-5284
Picnic tables; window to brewery; flights of Flagship beers (like the APA).
Onderdonk & Sons
566 Onderdonk St., at Menahan St., Ridgewood; no phone
Burger-fries-beer $10 special; congenial bar-keeps; vintage phone booth.
856 E. 136th St., nr. Walnut Ave.; 718-402-1000
Backyard cornhole; daily tours; pale and cask ales on tap.