Cocktail culture seems to be making a resurgence these days, and there is no shortage of bars in New York where you can get a good drink. You can even recall the days of prohibition with mysterious and hidden speakeasies. Neil and I love a good cocktail so we attempted to explore a few bars while we were in New York over the holidays.
1. Attaboy (Lower East Side)
If you walk past Attaboy you will likely miss this hidden bar, but just check out the Yelp reviews to find your way. This place is small and has no menu. Instead you will chat with the bartender about what flavors or spirits you like and they will mix you a drink. Neil and I went here in December 2013 and we really liked it. On this trip we were a bit more “meh” about our experience. Our cocktail was good, but not great. It may have just been our experience with this particular bartender though.
2. Mother of Pearl (East Village)
If tiki drinks are your thing then Mother of Pearl is worth a visit. I ordered the Shark Eye, which comes in a fun shark shaped drinking vessel complete with blood splatter (a.k.a. appropriately colored bitters).
3. Clover Club (Brooklyn)
Unfortunately our only opportunity to try Clover Club was for brunch so I can’t speak to what the atmosphere is like here in the evenings. Going through the cocktail list there were endless drinks that sounded fantastic, but I went with the We Got the Beet: blanco tequila, mezcal, lime, beet shrub and beet syrup.
4. Employees Only (West Village)
If you’ve watched the documentary Hey Bartender on Netflix then you might recognize Employees Only. This place gets packed and there are minimal seats. If a laid back vibe is more your style this is not the place to be. I did enjoy my drink here though, the Ready, Fire, Aim, shown in the top of the post (and how to make it below).
5. Death and Company (East Village)
Death and Company wound up being our favorite venue of the entire trip. Last year I gifted Neil their book so we knew we’d have to visit here. This place is small, and there is no standing. If the bar is busy the doorman will take your name and number and call or text you when seats open up. Their menu is broken down by spirit, then by shaken or stirred. I highly recommend a visit here!
Honorable Mention: Sippin’ Santa’s Surf Shack at Boilermaker
The holiday season brought a host of fun pop up bars to New York and Neil and I had to check out Sippin’ Santa’s Surf Shack on December 23rd. The tables were covered in wrapping paper, presents hung from the ceiling, lights and decorations were up all inside the bar. This was the perfect place to get into the Christmas spirit!