Spring is about rebirth, so what better time to get a fresh take on the bar scene than now? From those focused on bourbon to spots where you can drink while playing shuffleboard, with these five hot openings, New York City has gotten a little more tipsy, in a good way.
Thank goodness the delightfully spooky yet romantic spot on the corner of Broadway and Bleecker Street opened again this March. After all, when it was The Vault at Pfaff’s, it was consistently the most unique space in NoHo to get a drink. Now, under the guidance of barmen Tim Cooper and Justin Noel, the basement bar has been revived with drinks that pay homage to New York neighborhoods. Native or not, you’ll want to try the Dimmi Liquore di Milano and Aperol-laced Little Italy, or Chinatown’s Big Trouble, Little China, a mixture of toasted sesame-infused bourbon, cucumber, lemon and a bit of salt. Unlike its predecessor, the designer-costumed waiters are gone; instead, feast your eyes (and hands) on foosball and shuffleboard.
The Moonlight Mile
With more than 80 Kentucky bourbons and American whiskeys, this newly opened bar in Greenpoint is a haven for brown spirit lovers. Owner Garry Embry, a Bluegrass State native, decided to leave the corporate world and open up this spot out of pure love for bourbon. “Every time my wife and I would go back home to Louisville, we would miss the vibe of the city, and its bars,” Embry says. “We decided to open a place here in Greenpoint, where we live, that incorporates the things we love — great bourbon and small-batch American whiskeys, unique beers, music and art from local artists.” While you can get just about any whiskey straight, the place also has a clever selection of craft cocktails, including The Foggy Mountain Manhattan, a combination of Bonded bourbon, vermouth, dry curaçao and homemade Appalachia bitters. The Greenpoint Sour is a rift on a classic whiskey sour, but instead has rye bourbon and blueberry port added to the mix.
Dirck the Norseman
Despite the Viking-sounding name, the vibe of this Williamsburg brewpub is more cozy beer hall than bearded-conqueror cave. Dirck the Norseman was founded by Ed Raven, owner of the popular beer shop and bar Brouwerij Lane, and brewmaster Chris Prout. Though homemade brews will make the menu soon, you can indulge in premium German selections (Jever Pilsener, Brauhaus Riegele) while waiting for those suds to mature. Curl up by the stand-alone fireplace with a plate of smoked brisket and turkey confit, throw back a couple of brews, and be thankful for your chance to pillage the bar.
If you’re in search of a swanky spot on the Upper East Side to sip cocktails, The Gilroy is it. Among the exposed brick walls, cozy interior and solid wooden bar, you can find a vast selection of tipples that range from wine and craft cocktails, to seven types of Negronis. Try the signature Gilroy Negroni, a mixture of Spring44 gin, Punt e Mes vermouth and Campari, or go for something new like the Oaxaca, which employs mezcal in the place of the gin. Other cocktails sound just as nice — the Eureka! is a drink that combines Dickel rye with Leatherwood honey and lemon, and the refreshing Phils Collins is a concoction made with green tea-infused Fords Gin, raspberry, lemon, mint and seltzer.
OK, so maybe this a little bit of a cheat since this American gastropub is more focused on bacon than cocktails, but hey, they do have a few selections that mimic the smokiness of the popular breakfast meat. For example, The Drunken Preacher combines Elijah Craig 12-Year-Old bourbon with St. Germain, lemon, mint and a splash of champagne. The Manhattan at Night is filled with Jim Beam Black, sweet vermouth and Luxardo Maraschino liqueur. Of course, if straight up is more your style, the Hell’s Kitchen stop offers a healthy selection of bourbon and scotch as well. Executive chef and owner Peter Sherman suggests pairing one of the drinks (or a nice cold beer) with some of the delectable pork offerings. After all, the premise behind the venue is that not all bacon is made equal; you’ll just have to sample the menu to see how true the statement is.
Photos Courtesy of BarBacon and The Moonlight Mile