The Craft Cocktail & Wine Scene - LES and East Village
When the cold weather sets in, most New York residents tend to hibernate like bears in their apartments, binge-watching their favorite TV shows while ordering from the local old-school diner, pizzeria, or Chinese restaurant.
You can't blame them, especially when snow or freezing rain hit the city.
It turns out, though, that these folks are missing out on a lot of fun; namely spending some quality time at their local bar in the company of good friends and a delicious cocktail.
There's nothing like a tasty libation or delectable glass of wine to soothe your soul and put a warm glow on your evening.
In more ways than one, a nice cocktail is the ultimate mood-changer, no matter what kind of weather you're dealing with. Summertime, Winter, Spring, or Fall, a delicious mixed drink is certain to hit the spot.
So go ahead and make an extra effort to explore everything that your neighborhood has to offer in terms of an inviting bar, pub, or cocktail lounge. You'll be glad that you did.
And, if you just so happen to live downtown, somewhere in the Village and the Lower East Side, you are totally in luck, as these neighborhoods boast some of the finest bars and pubs in the city.
The Wayland - Lower East Side
A quintessential neighborhood bar, The Wayland is pulsating with great energy and it's own distinct brand of charisma. And, may we say, fun, fun, fun!
Owners Robert Ceraso and Jason Mendenhall have seen and done it all in the hospitality industry, putting in years of service working behind the bar and in the kitchen of some of NYC's leading drinking establishments.
These gentlemen know what it takes to make their customers happy. In addition to an enticing food and drink menu, you can look forward to living performances from an intriguing mix of musicians such as Sam Ryder and the Emotions, Ryan Scott and the Kind buds as well as guitarist Helitron Johnson.
The word stress just doesn't exist here. A cozy rustic ambiance transports customers to another place and time, far from Manhattan's maddening crowds.
Wood tables, benches and high-tops overlook the quiet street outside. When the large windows and doors are thrown open on a breezy spring or Summer's day, you'll feel as though you are sipping a cocktail on a friend's front porch.
Utilizing fresh-squeezed juices,house-made syrups and infusions, The Wayland's cocktail list is both refreshing and innovative.
The Squash Rocket features Lemon juice, cinnamon syrup, nutmeg apple brandy, a whole egg and fresh butternut squash. These out of the box ingredients make for one totally refreshing cocktail.
Another must-have is the Smoked and Roasted, which is perfect to offset the chill outside. The ingredients include Mezcal, fresh pineapple, chipotle-infused agave nectar, lemon and chili salt. Now that will put a pep in your step, for sure!
A cocktail to remember is the Cozumel Magic, a refreshing blend of light rum, Reposado Tequila, Campari, cantaloupe juice, lime juice, lemongrass and cucumber.
The kitchen offers a nice variety of light bites ranging from absolutely fresh oysters and crispy cauliflower in the chef's secret sauce to outrageous milk and honey Brurrata as well as their signature sauteed mushrooms and greens sandwich.
Location and Hours
700 East 9th Street
New York, N.Y. 10009
Monday to Friday 4 PM to 4 AM
Saturday and Sunday 11 AM to 4 AM
Lois Bar - Lower East Side
Located in Alphabet City, one of the city's trendiest, up and coming neighborhoods, Lois Bar has everything you're looking for in a great night out.
The ambiance is cool and intimate with a variety of quirky but eye-catching touches like circular wall mirrors,white-washed brick walls and multi-hued, quilted banquettes. It's simply a comfortable place to be in.
There are no pretensions here. At Lois, owners and long-time friends, Nora O'Malley and Phoebe Connell have crafted a bar where friends can gather and unwind from their day.
And, you can meet new friends at the singles mixers and wine and cheese classes that Lois hosts on a regular basis.
Nora and Phoebe feel that when it comes to food and wine; accessibility and quality are not mutually exclusive. It's all about creating an atmosphere that encourages bringing the community together for some really good times.
Wine should be excited but never intimidating.
At Lois, they have sixteen rotating taps that dispense some of the best wine you will ever taste.
Why taps? The owners chose to serve all of their wine from the tap instead of the bottle for an interesting variety of reasons. First and foremost, they want to keep prices low, reduce waste and make sure that the wine in your glass is as fresh as the day it was kegged.
Currently, you can enjoy whites such as a Roebling blend from Brooklyn Winery or a Riesling from Milbrandt Vineyards.
Reds include a superb Saintsbury Pinot Noir as well as an Annabella Cabernet Sauvignon.
However, if you're not sure what to order, no problem. One of the friendly and may we say knowledgeable bartenders will allow you to sample a couple of wines as well as offer helpful suggestions.
The food menu at Lois is elevated, to say the least. So, plan to have something with your wine.
Accompany your plate of Castelvetrano olives with a selection of house-made bread. This tempting plate includes fluffy cornbread, a piece of herb flatbread and C & B sourdough.
A delectable serving of creme fraiche and maple red pepper butter adds to the food festivities.
Other delights range from an addicting avocado arepa and sausage rolls in puff pastry with beet and cabbage kraut to turkey meatballs in tomato sauce with lemon-pesto toast.
Finish up your meal with a slice of their unworldly red wine chocolate cake, topped with a raspberry reduction and buttermilk whipped cream.
By the way; do NOT, repeat, don't leave the premises without enjoying Lois Bar's sensational wine jello shots. One-shot will not be enough!
Lois Bar takes its' name from its location. Back in the day, Avenue C was actually referred to as Loisaida Avenue. Who knew?
Location and Hours
98 Avenue C
New York, N.Y. 10009
Monday to Friday 5 PM to 12 AM
Saturday 12 PM to 12 AM
Sunday 12 PM to 11 PM
The Up & Up - Greenwich Village
Up your first date game, ( if you'll pardon the pun), by taking that new person in your life to this cozy and classy basement level cocktail bar.
You will practically be guaranteed a second night out together, after sipping cocktails amidst decor accents like William Morris wallpaper, marble, polished brass and lots and lots of solid wood.
Owner and bar director Matt Piacentini has totally transformed the space that was previously occupied by the venerable Gaslight Cafe.
A Greenwich Village legend, the Gaslight Cafe hosted luminaries such as Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Richie Havens and Eric Clapton during its heyday.
MacDougal Street was THE place to be in the Sixties and Seventies. And it still is, thanks to Matt and the team at the Up & Up.
This bar is well worth a visit even if you don't happen to live in the immediate vicinity.
Fairly low-key but with a killer cocktail list and welcoming service, the Up and Up is the perfect marriage of an intimate cocktail lounge and a delightfully social neighborhood bar. Basically, what you see is what you get.
The phrase "up and up" goes back to the Roaring Twenties, when it was used to describe someone who was trustworthy, sincere and fair, as in "He's an up and up guy." Nowadays, we say that someone of that ilk is a stand-up guy or gal!
They don't play games at this bar. The drinks are never watered down and the down to earth vibe is real. The staff is genuinely glad to see you.
The bar keeps are always at the top of their game; constantly experimenting with a plethora of intriguing ingredients. And it's all with one single-minded mission; to tantalize your palate.
The proof is definitely in the glass with libations like Moon in Libra, a concoction that's made with Dorothy Parker gin, Aperol, strawberry juice, Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto, sparkling wine a just a touch of balsamic vinegar.
Cilantro and tart drops of lemon juice come together with Tromba Tequila Blanco, Giffard Creme de Mure and Neversink Apple brandy to create The Sowerby, a cocktail that just might become your new "flavor of the month"... or longer!
The Insanely Good section of the Up & Ups' cocktail menu contains their version of traditional drinks like the Midori Sour, Scotch and Soda as well as a crazy good Gin and Tonic that's made with Brooklyn Gin, Suze, Angostura Bitters, Q Tonic, and lime cordial.
Location and Hours
116 MacDougal Street
New York, N.Y. 10012
Sunday to Wednesday 5 PM to 2 AM
Thursday to Saturday 5 PM to 3 AM
Amor Y Amargo - East Village
For romantics and those cocktail fans who adore bitters, this intimate bar is the place for you.
And, we really DO mean intimate. Cute but a wee bit on the small side, Amor Y Amargo bills itself as a bitters tasting room. This means that every cocktail the bartenders make is bitters-forward. Which is totally not a bad thing!
A great place to grab a drink on the way home from work or before heading out to dinner, Amor Y Amargo has been in business since 2011. And this out of the box bar looks as though it has what it takes to be part of the neighborhood's craft cocktail scene for many years to come.
Featuring Italian as well as a wide array of craft bitters, Amor Y Amargo's
signature libation is the Vecchio Quadrato. Winner of Home Bar's Bartender of the Year award, this sexy as hell cocktail is made with Bonal, Del Capo, Rye, Cognac and Peychaud's and Orleans bitters.
The mysteriously-named Occurs In-Flight cocktail features lemon and apple bitters, burnt sugar, baking chocolate, Gran Classico, Punt e Mes and aged rum.
Smooth and silky is the Velvet Leaf; a concoction that consists of fresh blueberries, marzipan, Pasubio, Cocchi Americano, Cachaca and Earl Grey bitters. It's garnished with a celery shrub.
Hopped grapefruit bitters are the focus of Di Pompelmo, a refreshing libation made with Citron Sauvage, Aperol, Tequila. Your glass of fun is garnished with, what else, but a slice of ripe grapefruit.
Currently, Amor Y Amargo is offering a chance for amateur mixologists to learn from the best at one of their cocktail classes.
Limited to twelve people, these classes are taught by an expert mixologist. You will learn the basics of how to create a classic cocktail, the use of bitters, the concept of Amaro and the history of modern mixology.
There is also a more advanced class available where the participants actually get to go behind the bar for an incredible hands-on experience.
In this session, you will work side by side with one of Amor Y Amargo's bartenders and create your very own cocktail!
The advanced class includes light snacks as well as a special gift to take home from Amor Y Amargo's well-curated shop.
Their shop, by the way, sells everything that has to do with cocktails, from bottles of their signature bitters and mixology books to bar equipment that you can use at home.
Private classes are also on offer. This option makes for an unforgettable birthday gift or date night option.
Amor Y Amargo, where love happens one delicious pour at a time!
Location and Hours
443 East 6th Street
New York, N.Y. 10009
Monday to Thursday 5 PM to 1 AM
Friday 5 PM to 3 AM
Saturday 3 PM to 3 AM
Sunday 3 PM to 1 AM
Goodnight Sonny - East Village
This friendly and lively bar is a love letter to the classic New York neighborhood bar and tavern. Places like Goodnight Sonny have, quite literally, been around for hundreds of years, ever since the city was founded.
These watering holes provided a brief escape from the day's toils and troubles. And they served as a gathering place for both local residents as well as merchants and sailors.
Things haven't changed all that much today except that Goodnight Sonny's patrons' rock iPads and smartphones instead of Colonial-era dress! New Yorkers' throughout the years, though, have always had a taste for fine wine and premium spirits.
After their workday is done, the bar's regulars seek solace in Goodnight Sonny's incredible Happy Hour, Monday through Friday, from 4 until 7 PM.
Oysters have always been a favorite of NYC tavern patrons. During Happy Hour, you can get $1 East Coast Oysters as well as Doug's Little Neck clams for only seventy-five cents. Now that's some kind of deal!
The fun continues with $2 off all draft pints and you can enjoy a glass of red or white for just $8.
Select cocktails are available for only $10. Choose from a delicious Manhattan, a well-made Dirty Martini, a superb Daiquiri, or a classic Margarita.
The atmosphere is warm and energetic. Gather around the polished wood bar and make new friends or re-connect with some old pals you haven't seen in a while.
When date night beckons try to score the banquette seating which is situated inside a cozy nook, off to the side.
Sections of the brick walls are decorated with sketches and photographs, some of which depict the history of the neighborhood. The tiled floor is a snazzy sight to behold.
Spending an evening at Goodnight Sonny is like taking a trip back in time; but with a ton of contemporary flair, especially in terms of the food and drink menu.
At Brunch, the signature drink that's to-die-for is the Sunny Orchard Margarita.
Tequila, agave, smoked paprika, lime juice, fresh-pressed apple juice and, get this, roasted jalapeno marmalade are the ingredients that make this drink one of the most popular brunch specialty drinks in the neighborhood.
Brunch selections have their own personality and you will find many dishes that you can't get anywhere else.
The lobster deviled eggs are a great appetizer to share. You won't go amiss with either the avocado tartine or the Shishito peppers and ricotta omelet.
Another must-try is Sonny's club sandwich. A meal in itself, this non-traditional club is stacked with succulent grilled chicken, Serrano peppers, a bevy of caramelized onions, crisp bacon, sliced pickles, juicy tomatoes and herb mayo.
At dinner-time, the menu emphasizes small plates that are certain to tempt your taste buds. Plates run from country ham (Prosciutto) and the fish of the day to roasted bone marrow and Clams Casino.
After dark, there is a huge selection of inventive cocktails including The Aristocrat, a libation made with vodka, Bosc pears, lime juice, ginger and soda water.
Light and not too sweet is the Hudson Valley Spritz. Locally sourced maple syrup, (just a dash, mind you) is added to a mix of Rye, apple brandy, lemon juice and sparkling wine.
A decidedly bold take on an old classic is the Disco Old Fashioned. The ingredients are Bourbon, bitters, and Luxardo cherries with an orange peel garnish. This drink won't take you back to the '70s but you will end up in cocktail heaven after a few sips.
Good times abound every night of the week at Goodnight Sonny!
Location and Hours
134 1st Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10009
Monday to Sunday 4 PM to 4 AM