NYC Guide: Three Great Bars

One of life’s greatest pleasures is…a drink. An evening cocktail, a glass of wine while watching the sunset, an ice-cold beer on a summer day. Here are our three favorite places to kick back…

The Rusty Knot (West Village). This hip nautical-themed bar feels like your grandfather’s basement, with fish tanks, ship paintings, wooden walls and red armchairs. Choose songs on the (free!) jukebox, and order a pretzel dog with can of Tecate–the bartender will splash salt water and lime juice on the top, so you feel like you’re at the beach! The vibe is suuuuuuper chill. (P.S. The bar’s across the street from the Hudson River, so, afterward, take a beautiful, if wobbly, walk along the water and see the Statue of Liberty in the distance.)

Weather Up (Tribeca). This cocktail lounge nails it on all counts: the vibe is warm and welcoming, the cocktails are creative (and stiff!), and the room is swanky and elegant. Check out the gleaming subway tiles on the walls. New York Magazine calls it a “downtown-cool-kid hang-out,” which sounds about right. (Tip: Weather Up would be a great place for a first date. Also, the yellow lighting makes everyone look smokin’:)

Radegast Hall & Biergarten (Williamsburg). Picture: A gray, cold Saturday afternoon in November. Stepping into a Brooklyn beer hall, music playing, a bustling room that feels straight out of Germany. Grabbing a seat at a wooden picnic table, and ordering bratwursts with sauerkraut and a pitcher of beer. Yup, a perfect afternoon. (P.S. Babies are warmly welcome here, which I love. Head’s up: They might want a sip, like Toby did:)

What about you? What bars do you love in New York? Any favorite places to grab a drink?

(Top image layout by HipHipGinGin for Cup of Jo. Top photo by Jennifer Causey from the The Makers Project. Photos by Melissa Horn, Eater, Time Out, New York Magazine and the bars themselves.)

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  2. Check out The Grey Dog in Soho! Great food and amazing beers on draft. The atmosphere is so you, too!

    – Alexandra xx

  3. radesgast is awesome but last time i went there were tons and tons of frat boys playing flip cup! it wasn’t very williamsburg-esque :)

  4. I love that you included Radegast! It was where I meet my husband and will forever hold a special place in my heart.

  5. mmm, yummy! i shared a pretzel and a pitcher with my cousin last year at that bar in williamsburg. great memory, ready to go back! xo!

  6. I go to la biblioteca,located in on third ave at 40th street. which is an actually tequila library, i have a card its so fun. its like 400 types of tequilas.

  7. Love the suggestions!! Gotta check that first bar out ASAP! Looks just my speed :)

  8. I fondly remember two from my time in the area: The Ear, and Peter McManus.

    Also for my bachelorette party/bridal shower, we went with an “Old New York” theme and had cocktails at the Algonquin Hotel, dinner at Fraunces Tavern, and drinks at The Cub Room, which used to the the private room at The Stork Club.

  9. We love PRAVDA in SoHo on Lafayette between Houston & Prince. It’s a Russian caviar/vodka bar and I always feel a bit naughty walking down the stairs to this underground speakeasy. They have over 70 different vodka’s, (10 of them infused), so they have a wonderful martini list! Can’t wait to try the three you mentioned! Thanks so much!

  10. Anonymous says...

    I completely want to visit New York!

  11. I love The Rusty Knot. There’s also a bar right by Prospect Park that we always go to when we visit a friend that lives near by, I can’t remember their name, but I could(and have)sit in their cozy backyard area for hours.

  12. 675 bar! Chelsea/West Village. Trendy, but not too loud and they have nifty little alcoves with different old school video games. Also a weird, huge horse with a lamp shade on its head smack in the middle of the bar.

  13. Anonymous says...

    A few more to add to the list:

    Bourgeois Pig (east vill)- French hole-in-the-wall has fondue and 1/2 price bottles of wine Mon & Tues

    Bathtub Gin (Chelsea)- New speak easy. Have to enter though a running coffee shop on 9th Ave in order to get drink on. -Amazing gin cocktails!-

    Rye House (Union Square NW)- Great bartenders and cocktails including homemade egg nog and hot toddys!

    Cucina di Pesce (east village)- M-F at the bar until 8pm they have 2 for 1 apps, 2 for 1 drinks, and FREE mussels!

    *Promise I’m not an Alchi! lol.

  14. why am i not 21?! => the plight of all international students in the USA

  15. oooh, erin h., let me think of a good place….

  16. I must try rusty knot next time.

    my favs, Pete’s Candy Store (love the garden space) and Union Pool both in williamsbrg brklyn

  17. anna, we typically leave him at home with a babysitter (or my brother) when we go out at night. but during the day, we’ll take him with us to family-friendly places like the beergarden. he loves being around grown-ups and eating their soft pretzels :)

  18. I like the Czech beer halls in Queens. Last time I visited we went to the Bohemian Hall and beer garden, ended up meeting some goofy ass czech guys who took us to Club 21. It was a blast!

  19. I love the look of the last place, German pubs and bars are so exciting :)

  20. Oh, NYC bars…I miss you and always will!
    Happy weekened

  21. I’m loving these posts. Are you going to make a little folder on your blog with a compilation of all of them? I am planning a trip to NYC in the spring and will want to come back and re-read all these posts!

    Also, do you bring Toby out with you guys often? We just had a baby, and I was just trying to see what other families do with their young kids, take them out to dinner and a drink or leave them at home?

    Thanks again for all your posts!

    xo, Anna of :green gable:

  22. There’s a Weather Up in Prospect Heights too. We used to go there. That’s where we went the night I found out I was pregnant. I had one cocktail and was worried I’d ruined the baby but the doctor said it was no biggie! I think Henry’s fine. It’s a great place though. Good to know there’s one in Manhattan too.

  23. Fabulous list. I live near Weather Up and go fairly often, love the Weather Up jr cocktail. Bonus: Gilt City has a special offer at Weather Up right now (just up today I think). An oyster & champagne thing. Fun!

  24. Hi,
    I’m new to your blog and love it!! I also like the Rusty Knot and will try Weather Up, looks gorgeous :) Lately, I’ve enjoyed Botanica in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Bit out of the way for some, but has a very nice atmosphere (esp during summer) and serves some delicious drinks!

  25. You’re making me want to visit New York again and try all of these places out–they all sound amazing!

  26. these look great and definitely worth a visit! Happy Friday!

  27. Love taking people to the Rusty Knot (and a walk along the water afterward.) -RS

  28. Have you been to the Spritzenhaus just north of Williamsburg? They have a great open concept :) I can’t wait to try out your favorite spots, they look awesome!

  29. Love this series, and the biergarten! I’ll be bookmarking this guide for future use :)

  30. loving the atmosphere and interiors of all these bars.. definitely going to reference all your lists next i’m in NY!

  31. I love this new series, Joanna. Love getting the off the beaten track, curated recommendations on food, accommodations and hip spots from a very hip friend who shares our interests & aesthetic! I also follow Hither and Tither (linked from you) and using their recommendations for a trip we are taking Monday to Napa/Sonoma! Thanks-and congrats on keeping your blog so fresh!

  32. Radegast is one of my favourite places to take my out-of-town guests. They are always impressed by the giant beer mugs! Plus, how can you not have a good time when you ingest beers the size of your head?

    One of my girlfriends and I also love finding the hidden speakeasies around Manhattan. Our favourite so far was Raine’s Law Room. Have you been to any?

  33. Anonymous says...

    i love love love spitzer’s corner in the lower eastside… cool people, lots of international beer and a very relaxed atmosphere…

  34. It’s so awesome that you are posting these entries about NYC. My partner and I are going in a week to visit….Thank You for all the awesome ideas.

    We aren’t going to be there on Saturday-so we miss the amazing brooklyn flea :(

  35. Ooo, I wish I could be at Weather Up for a happy hour date with my husband tonight! Can’t wait to check out all your recommendations one day.

  36. I just tried Ginger Man for the first time last week and LOVED it! The atmosphere is nothing special but the beer selection is stellar and the sandwiches and hot dogs are nothing short of excellent. On weekdays, the place fills up with off-hour execs but come 9:30/10pm, it clears out a bit and only the serious drinkers remain.

  37. all of those sound like cool watering holes. =) I’m really loving this series… I have a love affair with NYC.

  38. Hmmm my favorite place to drink in NY, well at this point anywhere in NY because I haven’t been to NY and I’m sure I’d be happy to drink anywhere in NY since I want to BE IN NY SO BAD! Sigh… can’t wait someday =)

    – Sarah

  39. This is the post I’ve been waiting for. Which of these are most like a British pub, Joanna? My requirements are old knotty wood tables, dark frothy beer, pipe smoke and good live music.

  40. Can’t wait to get back to NYC and try some off your more ‘off the beaten track’ suggestions :-)

  41. Your NYC guide is phenomenal. I cannot wait until I take my next trip there. You have so many awesome suggestions :)

  42. These little guides make me feel like an insider even though I live in Philly :)

  43. I love the roof bar and beer garden at The Standard; the views of lower Manhattan are amazing. But my favorite bar of all in New York is Lillie’s Victorian bar in Union Square. So romantic and old-timey! Plus they do a great $10 burger & beer lunch special.

  44. Ohh I love that last photo…It must feel so wonderful to spend an afternoon sitting at those picnic tables. Such a beautiful space. Happy Friday, Joanna:)