Best Cocktail Bars in NYC and a $250 NightOwl Giveaway!

While I love the plethora of dining and drinking options New York City has to offer, it can also be completely overwhelming. I’m a food writer, so my area of expertise lies within the food department. But what about a nice cocktail? I happen to love a good dirty martini or an old fashioned. And living in NYC, you sometimes need a really good one to take the edge off. Maybe two.

I’ve done a fair amount of research in this department (read: drinking), and have come up with a list. Please see below. I also love recommendations so feel free to comment with your fave.

Nightowl cocktail2

In addition to my own list, I was recently introduced to NightOwl, an app specifically designed for nightlife. I’ve used many an app in my day for this stuff, so I only tout the ones I truly like. In celebration of the launch of NightOwl 3.0 (LINK:, I’ve partnered with them and a bunch of other awesome bloggers and writers on a $250 giveaway! See below for full roster as well as the ways to enter!


Best Cocktail Bars in NYC

  1. Employees Only – when there isn’t a wait, this place is great. I didn’t mean for that to rhyme. It’s pricey, but it’s got great vibes and a great food menu as well.
  2. Dear Irving – a speakeasy where reservations are TAKEN and encouraged. Amazing. Love this spot. It’s kinda secret, kinda sexy. I’ve gone on many a date here…even though I don’t really date. But when I do, I like this place.
  3. The Up & Up – great little spot in the West Village – dimly lit and perfect for a drink and small bites.
  4. Slowly Shirley – right next to The Happiest Hour, this secret little spot downstairs is perfect for a date or catching up with an old friend. Go for their signature cocktails.
  5. The Garrett – so there are two of these, and I didn’t even know that until recently. The one in the East Village is my preferred location, as it is way less crowded and NOT above a Five Guys. Don’t get me wrong, I am not hating on Five Guys, but the East VIllage location is also home to Dinnertable, a tiny 19-seat restaurant in the back where you have to flip a little switch that says “Flip for Food”. Make a res there and have a drink at The Garrett first. You’re very welcome.
  6. Little Branch – allow me to preface this by saying that I like it here, but it can be a pain in the dick to get into. If you don’t go early enough there might be a line, and it can get a little stuffy since it’s downstairs with few (if any) windows. I would only go during the week, never on a weekend. Good cocktails and vibe though, which is why I’m even including it.
  7. Mayahuel – so this isn’t a cocktail bar, it’s a restaurant and lounge, but it’s one of my favorite Mexican spots. Kind of dark and mysterious, and they have 100 types of tequila. Ok? That’s a lot. Their cocktails are delicious and dangerous, aka two of my favorite things. And the food is great too – I love their salsa they bring to the table with the chips. I could drink it.
  8. The Summit Bar – it might be a bit of a hike if you don’t live in Alphabet City, but it’s worth it for a cleverly crafted cocktail. I remember the first time I came here was when Jersey Shore was a big thing, and they had a drink called The Situation. It was wonderful. And that’s how long I’ve been coming here.
  9. Sweetwater Social – Downstairs is where you want to be, and you want to park yourself at the bar or on one of the couches. Bonus points for having a TV. Football season is coming up after all, and sometimes I want more than a beer while watching the Giants. #GMENMartini anyone? Let’s make that a thing.
  10. The Handy Liquor Bar – located beneath Chalk Point Kitchen (a great spot for dinner too – THOSE CARROTS OMG), the Handy is a great spot complete with old jukebox, large leather chairs, a fireplace, and games. Love the vibes in here and the cocktails are perfect too. Bonus points for being next to Black Tap as well – in case those carrots didn’t fill you up you can always grab a burger to shove in your facehole.
  11. Black Tree – Alright so it’s not a cocktail bar, but they make great cocktails. And before I wax poetic about my love for Black Tree, let me warn you that they are closing for a few months to do some work. That said, put it on your list for when they reopen (I believe in December), because everything here is wonderful: the food, the drinks, the picklebacks. And fun fact: I worked with Chef Sandy Hall to create a sandwich that was named after me last year. It may have been the proudest moment of my life.

Now..ABOUT THAT $250. I know that’s why you’re really here. All you have to do is click the entry links below and each time you take one of the actions listed (follow a blogger, DL the app, etc), you’ll be entered. The more actions you take, the more chances you have for winning. BEST OF LUCK FRIENDS.

NightOwl August Giveaway


And once again, big thanks to my fellow bloggers:

John Romard of /

Jess of and YoungWinosofDC /  &

Ryan Shea of  /

Terry of /

G-LO of /

Selena of /

Bella Magazine /

Tara of ThirstyNYC /

Jane Ko / A Taste of KoKo /

Nicholas Feris of The Rum Collective /

Giveaway Graphic Blog Post

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