While much of New York has emptied for the holidays, a whole new crop of visitors have poured in from all over the world to explore the city. Aside from the usual tourist attractions, we think you might want this very important piece of advice: The best places in New York to get a good, stiff drink. That’s why we enlisted beverage master Scott Gerber – the brains behind popular New York nightlife spots like Stone Rose Lounge, Whiskey Park and the new (and incredibly cool) Kingside at the Viceroy Hotel – to give us his top ten bars in New York. Tourists and New Yorker’s take note: Whether you’re a local or a visitor, you’ll definitely want to add these to your must-try list.
1. P.J. Clarke’s – P.J. Clarke’s is one of my “go to” spots in the city. It’s close to my office and serves one of the best no-nonsense burgers in town. I like to get a table with friends before Knicks and Rangers games or simply just sit at the bar for a beer. You can’t go wrong with P.J. Clarke’s; it’s a New York City standard.
2. King Cole Bar – The King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel is a classic hotel bar with a timeless New York City vibe. The cocktails are stiff and the service is impeccable.
3. Employees Only – I’m typically not big into mixology bars, but the staff at Employees Only does it right, sans the attitude. A great bar should have constancy, and at Employees Only they are still creating great cocktails and perfecting the classics, even half a decade after opening.
4. Bar at the NoMad Hotel – The bartenders at the Bar at the NoMad are real bartenders who know a thing or two about making a strong classic cocktail. One of the things I like most about this bar, is their bar stools. Since I have spent the better part of my life sitting at bars, comfort is important and it’s something I am always trying to acquire at my bars. You have no idea how hard it is to find a truly comfortable bar stool.
5. Boom Boom Room at The Standard Hotel – If you have to go to the Meat Packing District, definitely check out the Boom Boom Room. The views are incredible and the sound is phenomenal. It proves to be difficult to achieve a high level of sound quality in a club, but Boom Boom Room nailed it, which is why we now share the same sound engineer.
6. Bobby Van’s – Bobby Van’s is a classic New York City Steakhouse with a friendly and efficient staff. My friend, Ricky Passarelli, is one of the partners and I used to go there a lot with my Dad so the bar offers familiarity and friendly faces which just can’t be matched anywhere else. Plus they serve an enormous dry martini, which in my eyes, should be a steakhouse standard.
7. Landmarc – Marc Murphy’s Landmarc is located on the floor below Stone Rose Lounge in the Time Warner Center, so it’s a restaurant I find myself at often. Landmarc has a great burger and a terrific half bottle wine program. During a meal, I like to try different wines and half bottles are a great way to have variety.
8. Mayahuel – I’m a big tequila drinker, however I tend to stay away from the typical margarita, so Mayahuel is a great spot for truly high quality sipping tequilas. They also have a great flight menu, so if you are interested in tasting a few different styles of tequila, this is the place.
9. Il Posto Accanto – Il Posto Accanto is a great little Italian wine bar in the East Village. They have an extensive small plates menu and large variety of Italian wines. It’s a casual bar with a knowledgeable staff and is perfect for a post-work drink.
10. Saxon + Parole – Saxon + Parole has an in-depth cocktail program using bespoke spirits, bitters, and house-made sodas. They also offer their own house brand of whiskey, which makes this bar unique. Plus, even though they are concocting innovative drinks, they aren’t skimping on the classics.
*For Scott’s Recipe for a Barrel Aged Manhattan, Click Here
*Scott Gerber, photographed at Kingside by Danielle Kosann