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From classics like Manhattans and Old Fashioneds to weird and wonderful new combinations, cocktails at their best are a work of art. And, if you love trying the most amazing examples of the world’s most famous mixes or the latest beverages to hit the cocktail scene, New York is a brilliant place to visit – not least, I think, because it has some seriously swish venues that are a real experience to drink in.
So, if you’re planning on hitting New York this year and want to get a few ideas of cocktail bars not to miss, make sure you read my tips on some of the very best places to head to.
Rogue & Canon
Where: 128 West Houston Street
Having once been a pub, Rogue & Canon has got a much more relaxed atmosphere than you might expect of your average upmarket cocktail bar. Don’t get me wrong – it’s still got a great ambience, somehow feeling swish and casual at the same time. It has, of course, been redecorated since its pub days, which certainly helps add to its overall vibe.
In terms of cocktails, what I love about this establishment is that it splits its menu into two categories, which are in turn based on its name. Its ‘canon’ drinks are the classics – think things like Old Fashioneds and Martinis. Those craving something new, meanwhile, should check out the ‘rogue’ menu, which includes plenty of more unusual creations. Girls Gone Wild, for example, is Sauza Silver Tequila, strawberry, coriander, agave and lime.
Where: 37 West 19th Street, Flatiron District
With a great reputation for its delicious Manhattans, the Flatiron Lounge is the next bar on my list. Possibly the ultimate place to go if you’re on the hunt for somewhere trendy to sip a few drinks and meet people, this bar has beautiful mahogany tables, red leather booths and globe-shaped lamps that give it a gorgeous Art Deco finish. In fact, the decor is one of my favourite things about this establishment.
That said, it doesn’t quite manage to outshine the cocktails, which are second to none. If Manhattans aren’t your thing, try one of the venue’s great rum concoctions, like Airmail, which combines aged rum, champagne, honey syrup and lime – delicious!
Please Don’t Tell
Where: 113 St Marks Pl, East Village
Last on my list is PDT, which is probably the most unusual place I’m suggesting today. Perhaps the oddest thing about it is the heavy use of taxidermy in its decor – which, I must admit, I do find a little unsettling! – but its entrance is pretty quirky too.
Head into Crif Dogs and duck into the phone booth. Lift the receiver and the back of the booth will be peeled away by staff on the other side, which is in fact PDT. Getting to use this special entrance is half the fun of coming here – well, aside from the cocktails, of course! Drinks to look out for include the Staggerac (made with bourbon and absinthe) and Sixth Street, an unusual drink that features curry powder, guava and ginger beer. It’s also worth grabbing a bite to eat here – especially since you can order delicious hot dogs to be brought in from Crif next door.