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Courtesy of Gerber Group

The 12 Most Elegant Cocktail Bars in New York City

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Courtesy of Gerber Group
This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

Nights out in New York City can be hard to take: noise, crowds, and loud music. Do you really want to wait in line to shove your way to the front of the bar for a watered down well drink? Thankfully, when you need a calmer, classier scene NYC has that, too. Think plush velvet chairs, marble tabletops, and handcrafted cocktails being shaken by well-dressed bartenders. And of course, top shelf liquor is always on the menu, like the smooth Grand Marnier Cuvée Louis-Alexandre Liqueur, made with VSOP cognac and orange liqueur. So grab a stylish seat and enjoy an elegant evening at these 12 chic cocktail bars across NYC.

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Minton's Playhouse

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A sophisticated supper club in Harlem, Minton’s Playhouse is the birthplace of bebop and has hosted all of the jazz greats, from Thelonious Monk to Dizzy Gillespie to Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, since it opened its doors in 1938. Today, it’s still the place to go for live jazz, plush interiors, and classic food from neighboring restaurant the Cecil like clams casino, filet mignon with spinach, fennel, and sweet potatoes, and grilled pork chop. Many of the cocktail’s names are music inspired, like the Monk’s Dream, Don Thelonius, or Black Magic Woman.

The Polynesian

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This tiki bar on top of the Pod Hotel is making some of the tastiest, craftiest, and most creative drinks in town. Expect lots of fun flourishes like orchid garnishes, different glasses for each drink (yes there is a Tiki head mug or two), and beverages on fire (order the Vaya Kon Tiki for that show). Groups can order a large format punch bowl, like the No Quarter Punch, with gin, rums, cognac, honey, pink peppercorn, coconut, sorrel, bitters, absinthe, and juices—request it with Grand Marnier Cuvée Louis-Alexandre Liqueur for an extra complexity. Complement the booze with snacks like Hawaiian ribs, coconut rock shrimp, and tuna sliders. Or just go all out and order the pupu platter—we promise, you won’t regret it.

The Polnynesian

Cedric's at The Shed

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This new cocktail den inside Hudson Yard’s art and culture center The Shed is as cozy and classy as a well-thought out living room—one with expertly made drinks and snacks. Run by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, Cedric’s brings sophistication and style to the museum/performance center and it’s worth stopping by even if you’re not seeing a show there. Snacks like blue crab dip served with Bugles (remember those?!) and a gooey grilled cheese made with Fontina, Gouda, Provolone, and Comte are sure to satisfy, while sipping on cocktails like the Mixed Media Highball (shochu, chile poblano liqueur, lime, and thyme) or the Squeaky Wheel Negroni (mezcal, Campari, coffee liquor, Amaretto, and lemon bitters), will ensure you have a good time.

Courtesy of Cedric’s at the Shed

Brass Monkey

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This friendly neighborhood bar has been serving craft cocktails to New Yorkers in their multi-level space since 2004. Head inside to the tin-ceiling and exposed beam main room with a long zinc bar, or make your way up to the shaded rooftop. Either way, order a juicy burger and fries with a cocktail like the Story Horse or Free Fallin’, or try the house draft beer, Brass Monkey dark or light.

Employees Only

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This bar was one of NYC’s first modern speakeasies and helped spark the craft cocktail revival of the early 2000s. Thankfully, it’s still going strong and is still an ideal place to sip a perfectly prepared cocktail in a Prohibition-era-inspired environment. You can’t go wrong with the ultimate classic: a Manhattan made with Rittenhouse Rye, Italian Vermouth, Grand Marnier, and Angostura bitters. Munch on oysters and bacon-wrapped lamb while you watch the unassuming yet stylish crowd.

Emilie Baltz

Manhatta

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Restaurateur Danny Meyer doesn’t do anything halfway and when this top floor restaurant and bar opened downtown in 2018 its views were enough to impress even the most jaded New Yorkers. The vibe is classic with a twist and the cocktail list follows suit, with drinks like Castle Garden, made with gin, Benedicitine, honey, lime and Angostura bitters, and the Governor Smith, made with Irish whiskey, Calvados, ginger, mint, and lemon. And of course, the food is near-perfect, thanks to dishes like butter poached lobster and a foie gras reuben.

Franceso Sapienza

Raines Law Room Chelsea

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A Prohibition-era inspired speakeasy, now with two locations—the original in Chelsea and an outpost inside the William Hotel—Raines has been an NYC cocktail mainstay for years. Guests can sip drinks in an elegant and cozy room populated by cushy leather couches, plush velvet chairs, and a central fireplace. The robust cocktail menu by Meaghan Dorman includes classics with a twist, like the Sherry Colada (palo cortado sherry, coconut cream, pineapple, lime, and angostura bitters) and the Garden Paloma (blanco tequila, jalapeño agave syrup, grapefruit, lime, celery bitters, and sparkling water).

Courtesy of Raines Law Room

The Campbell

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Sometimes Midtown can feel, well depressing. When that feeling hits, duck into the iconic art deco-inspired Campbell inside Grand Central Terminal and be transported to a time when sophistication and class ruled the day. Naturally, that time included tasty cocktails and the Campbell highlights the classics like the martini, Manhattan, and old fashioned, all perfectly concocted to make you forget you’re in one of the busiest cities in the world. In here, nothing matters except drinks and style.

Courtesy of Gerber Group

This cocktail bar was an instant classic (and often finds it self on the World’s 50 Best list) when it opened in 2015, and after recently moving to new digs it’s still serving up expertly made cocktails and small bites in a sleeker, larger space. Snacks from Nick Sorrentino include pork and ricotta meatball sliders, smoked duck wings, and that tapas favorite, patatas bravas. Ingredient-driven drinks by bar master and co-owner (with Greg Boehm) Nicolas de Soto include surprising combinations, like the Parsley v.2 made with Amburana cachaça, banana liqueur, banana cordial, and parsley and the Pandan v.4, a combination of coconut-infused bourbon, pandan whey syrup, and sriracha bitters.

Melissa Hom

Maison Premiere

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A James Beard Award Winner famous for its oysters and skillfully crafted cocktails, Maison Premiere is the perfect place to settle into any night of the week. With details like bartenders in three-piece suits, a gorgeous absinthe fountain, and antique fans, you’ll feel transported to a more elegant era. Grab a seat on the leafy patio out back, or around the horseshoe-shaped marble bar and order literally anything from the raw bar along with a drink like the Viva Alberti, made with Cappelletti, Strega, Cava, orange bitters, and cognac—request Grand Marnier for the best version.

Melissa Hom

House of Yes

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Wear your dancing shoes to this Bushwick performance space and get ready to be wowed. The décor, performers, music, and drinks all combine for a magical cabaret-inspired experience that you’ll be hard pressed to forget. This is the place to wear that sequined jumpsuit you’ve been saving and the well-crafted drinks only serve to fuel the debauchery.

Clover Club

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From celebrated bar master Julie Reiner, this 11-year-old Carroll Gardens cocktail den is inspired by the Prohibition era, and it shows in the décor and varied drink list. Snag a seat in the cozy back room with a fireplace, or show up on weekends for the stellar and filling brunch. Either way, order the namesake Clover Club cocktail, made with gin, dry vermouth, lemon, raspberry, and egg white.

Courtesy of Clover Club
This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

Minton's Playhouse

A sophisticated supper club in Harlem, Minton’s Playhouse is the birthplace of bebop and has hosted all of the jazz greats, from Thelonious Monk to Dizzy Gillespie to Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, since it opened its doors in 1938. Today, it’s still the place to go for live jazz, plush interiors, and classic food from neighboring restaurant the Cecil like clams casino, filet mignon with spinach, fennel, and sweet potatoes, and grilled pork chop. Many of the cocktail’s names are music inspired, like the Monk’s Dream, Don Thelonius, or Black Magic Woman.

The Polynesian

This tiki bar on top of the Pod Hotel is making some of the tastiest, craftiest, and most creative drinks in town. Expect lots of fun flourishes like orchid garnishes, different glasses for each drink (yes there is a Tiki head mug or two), and beverages on fire (order the Vaya Kon Tiki for that show). Groups can order a large format punch bowl, like the No Quarter Punch, with gin, rums, cognac, honey, pink peppercorn, coconut, sorrel, bitters, absinthe, and juices—request it with Grand Marnier Cuvée Louis-Alexandre Liqueur for an extra complexity. Complement the booze with snacks like Hawaiian ribs, coconut rock shrimp, and tuna sliders. Or just go all out and order the pupu platter—we promise, you won’t regret it.

The Polnynesian

Cedric's at The Shed

This new cocktail den inside Hudson Yard’s art and culture center The Shed is as cozy and classy as a well-thought out living room—one with expertly made drinks and snacks. Run by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, Cedric’s brings sophistication and style to the museum/performance center and it’s worth stopping by even if you’re not seeing a show there. Snacks like blue crab dip served with Bugles (remember those?!) and a gooey grilled cheese made with Fontina, Gouda, Provolone, and Comte are sure to satisfy, while sipping on cocktails like the Mixed Media Highball (shochu, chile poblano liqueur, lime, and thyme) or the Squeaky Wheel Negroni (mezcal, Campari, coffee liquor, Amaretto, and lemon bitters), will ensure you have a good time.

Courtesy of Cedric’s at the Shed

Brass Monkey

This friendly neighborhood bar has been serving craft cocktails to New Yorkers in their multi-level space since 2004. Head inside to the tin-ceiling and exposed beam main room with a long zinc bar, or make your way up to the shaded rooftop. Either way, order a juicy burger and fries with a cocktail like the Story Horse or Free Fallin’, or try the house draft beer, Brass Monkey dark or light.

Employees Only

This bar was one of NYC’s first modern speakeasies and helped spark the craft cocktail revival of the early 2000s. Thankfully, it’s still going strong and is still an ideal place to sip a perfectly prepared cocktail in a Prohibition-era-inspired environment. You can’t go wrong with the ultimate classic: a Manhattan made with Rittenhouse Rye, Italian Vermouth, Grand Marnier, and Angostura bitters. Munch on oysters and bacon-wrapped lamb while you watch the unassuming yet stylish crowd.

Emilie Baltz

Manhatta

Restaurateur Danny Meyer doesn’t do anything halfway and when this top floor restaurant and bar opened downtown in 2018 its views were enough to impress even the most jaded New Yorkers. The vibe is classic with a twist and the cocktail list follows suit, with drinks like Castle Garden, made with gin, Benedicitine, honey, lime and Angostura bitters, and the Governor Smith, made with Irish whiskey, Calvados, ginger, mint, and lemon. And of course, the food is near-perfect, thanks to dishes like butter poached lobster and a foie gras reuben.

Franceso Sapienza

Raines Law Room Chelsea

A Prohibition-era inspired speakeasy, now with two locations—the original in Chelsea and an outpost inside the William Hotel—Raines has been an NYC cocktail mainstay for years. Guests can sip drinks in an elegant and cozy room populated by cushy leather couches, plush velvet chairs, and a central fireplace. The robust cocktail menu by Meaghan Dorman includes classics with a twist, like the Sherry Colada (palo cortado sherry, coconut cream, pineapple, lime, and angostura bitters) and the Garden Paloma (blanco tequila, jalapeño agave syrup, grapefruit, lime, celery bitters, and sparkling water).

Courtesy of Raines Law Room

The Campbell

Sometimes Midtown can feel, well depressing. When that feeling hits, duck into the iconic art deco-inspired Campbell inside Grand Central Terminal and be transported to a time when sophistication and class ruled the day. Naturally, that time included tasty cocktails and the Campbell highlights the classics like the martini, Manhattan, and old fashioned, all perfectly concocted to make you forget you’re in one of the busiest cities in the world. In here, nothing matters except drinks and style.

Courtesy of Gerber Group

Mace

This cocktail bar was an instant classic (and often finds it self on the World’s 50 Best list) when it opened in 2015, and after recently moving to new digs it’s still serving up expertly made cocktails and small bites in a sleeker, larger space. Snacks from Nick Sorrentino include pork and ricotta meatball sliders, smoked duck wings, and that tapas favorite, patatas bravas. Ingredient-driven drinks by bar master and co-owner (with Greg Boehm) Nicolas de Soto include surprising combinations, like the Parsley v.2 made with Amburana cachaça, banana liqueur, banana cordial, and parsley and the Pandan v.4, a combination of coconut-infused bourbon, pandan whey syrup, and sriracha bitters.

Melissa Hom

Maison Premiere

A James Beard Award Winner famous for its oysters and skillfully crafted cocktails, Maison Premiere is the perfect place to settle into any night of the week. With details like bartenders in three-piece suits, a gorgeous absinthe fountain, and antique fans, you’ll feel transported to a more elegant era. Grab a seat on the leafy patio out back, or around the horseshoe-shaped marble bar and order literally anything from the raw bar along with a drink like the Viva Alberti, made with Cappelletti, Strega, Cava, orange bitters, and cognac—request Grand Marnier for the best version.

Melissa Hom

House of Yes

Wear your dancing shoes to this Bushwick performance space and get ready to be wowed. The décor, performers, music, and drinks all combine for a magical cabaret-inspired experience that you’ll be hard pressed to forget. This is the place to wear that sequined jumpsuit you’ve been saving and the well-crafted drinks only serve to fuel the debauchery.

Clover Club

From celebrated bar master Julie Reiner, this 11-year-old Carroll Gardens cocktail den is inspired by the Prohibition era, and it shows in the décor and varied drink list. Snag a seat in the cozy back room with a fireplace, or show up on weekends for the stellar and filling brunch. Either way, order the namesake Clover Club cocktail, made with gin, dry vermouth, lemon, raspberry, and egg white.

Courtesy of Clover Club

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