Post updated on April 17th, 2018 at 04:27 pm
New York has some of the funkiest bars around – really unique spots that serve great drinks in an even greater ambiance! My idea of a great bar is actually a relatively quieter spot (compared to other bars and clubs of course 😉 ) so I can actually chat with people, and one that’s got something more than just great drinks: a unique décor, some munchies and non-alcoholic drinks too. Keeping that in mind, here are some of my favorites – I lived in New York for 2 years and can vouch for the fact that this list is in no way exhaustive of all the unique bars this city is teeming with, but I think it’s a good start for anyone new to the city. Each one is built around a very unique concept, making the experience even better!
1. Gallow Green
Where: 27th St, between 10th and 11th Avenue | Cost: $$$
Hands down – my FAVORITE rooftop bar in New York. It’s at the top of the McKittrick hotel that hosts the famous play Sleep No More; they’ve created a beautiful forest-like ambiance, with wooden tables and chairs, and an old train compartment. This a great place to get a drink at during sunset, or at night, when they light up the trees beautifully. Not much food here though, so plan accordingly.
2. Grand Banks
Where: Pier 25, Hudson River Park | Cost: $$$
A large boat in the Hudson River, converted into a bar and seafood restaurant– an absolutely amazing spot to spend a summer evening, sipping on a cocktail and watching the sunset over the water. Not much food for vegetarians though, so again, plan accordingly. It’s got such a casual and relaxed vibe, I really didn’t want to leave! During the summers, there can be a bit of a wait to get in (but not more than 15 minutes) so it’s definitely worth it.
Where: 6th St and Avenue A | Cost: $$$
My favorite speakeasy in New York – literally hidden on a street corner, you’ll have to really search for this one. This Cuban-themed bar serves delicious rum cocktails in huge punch bowls, and excellent tapas. Even more of a reason to visit is actually the ambiance – you have to see it to believe it: a dimly-lit room with colorful walls and armchairs making you feel like you’ve been transported to the Prohibition era. Order the Isle of Manhattan Fizz punch bowl – you won’t regret it! It’s a creamy, coconut and rum-based drink that’s too sweet to be true.
They don’t take reservations, and they’re usually quite full, so try to get there early.
4. Loopy Doopy
Where: Vesey St and North End Avenue, Tribeca | Cost: $$$
Popsicles in Prosecco. Overlooking the Hudson River. On a rooftop. Do I need to say more? 🙂
The wait here is CRAZY (especially on summer weekends) – I guess everyone wants some popsicles dipped in champagne 😉 We got there at about 6pm, and were told the wait was at least 2 hours, which is how we ended up at Grand Banks. Good thing is they text you when they’re ready for you. Unfortunately, this meant I missed watching the sunset while having some popsicles because we only got our table by 9pm 🙁 but it was worth it nonetheless!
5. Campbell Apartment
Where: 42nd St and Vanderbilt Avenue | Cost: $$$
A cocktail lounge built in what used to be the office of an American financier, John Campbell. Did I mention it’s IN the Grand Central? Yep, that’s right. It was also featured in a very prominent scene from Gossip Girl, for all you fans out there 😉
This is another one that makes you feel like you’ve been transported back in time to the Gatsby era – I don’t know what it is with me and these prohibition period bars 😉 This is just such a classy and suave spot (can’t believe I used that word for a bar, but it really is) – plush couches, jazz music and some pretty pricey cocktails.
Here’s a map to help you navigate:
Go ahead and check these off your list! If you have any other recommendations of funky bars you’ve been to in New York, leave them in the comments below 🙂 Would love to hear about your experiences!