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The 10 Most Exciting New Bars to Try in New York City

By Dan Q. Dao | July 26, 2018 | Food & Drink

With longer days and a lot more sun, summer is a great time to be drinking. And in the past few months, New York has seen a crop of exciting new bars popping up on the scene. Whether you’re a cocktail nerd geeking out on thoughtfully-designed drinks or a rooftop chaser looking for #views, here are the 10 best new bars to visit right now.

The 18th Room


The brainchild of Dave Oz of Bathtub Gin, this Chelsea bar, which takes its name from the Prohibition-ushering 18th Amendment, showcases its zero-impact menu of sustainable, low-waste cocktails by bartender Joseph Boroski. Take, for example, the bananas used in a fat-washed banana daiquiri repurposed for a house banana bread, while dried peels are used for edible garnishes. Beyond drinks, find reimagined classic bites such as deviled eggs and a shrimp cocktail. 134 9th Ave., 646-559-1671

Blue Quarter


Opened in June, the latest project from Amor y Amargo hitmakers Max Green and Sother Teague focuses on cocktails made with tea. At this 18-seat charmer hidden behind a blue door inside East Village restaurant Local 92, the duo show that they’re the king of single-focus bar menus. Find cocktails blending booze with every kind of tea from matcha to oolong, and even a black tea-brandy number served in a teapot. 92 2nd Ave., 212-432-2232

The Blue Rooftop


A Turkish-inspired concept at the Marmara Park Avenue, this bi-level rooftop bar offers an oasis from Midtown Manhattan. Enjoy breezy lounge seating on an outdoor deck and lower penthouse area. Sitting a block from the Empire State Building, you’re sure to get a side of sweeping views with your cocktail. 114 E. 32nd St., 212-603-9000

Broken Shaker


The New York outpost of the Miami and Chicago favorite is located on the rooftop of the Flatiron District’s Freehand Hotel. You’ll likely have to wait in line, but it’ll be worth it for those 360-degree views from the wraparound terrace. And of course there are the cocktails, like a New York-nodding poppy seed bagel fizz—gin and "powdered cream cheese" are involved—and a Cocoa Puff old-fashioned stirring bourbon, rye, brown sugar, and chocolate bitters. 23 Lexington Ave., 212-475-1920

Existing Conditions


With a pedigree that includes modern drinks luminary Dave Arnold of Booker and Dax, Don Lee of PDT, and Greg Boehm of Cocktail Kingdom, you know this new Greenwich Village spot is a veritable cocktail destination. Garnishes and glassware are decidedly un-gimmicky but drinks employ advanced technology: the bar has its own custom carbonation system to keep things bubbly, Arnold’s bottled cocktails can be dispensed from a vending machine, and you’ll find bartenders using centrifuges and and pressure cookers for bespoke ingredients. 35 W. 8th St., 212-203-8935

George Washington Bar


Also at Freehand Hotel, this more elegant lounge, housed in the hotel’s former library room, pays homage to our first president. On the drinks front, find aptly-named twists on classics including a Mount Vernon Spritz topping off Cappelletti and Chinotto with sparkling wine and a savory Georgie’s Hatchet, made with applejack, Cocchi Barolo Chinato, vermouth and... leather? 23 Lexington Ave., 212-475-1920

The Golden Hour


This year’s seasonal summer pop-up at the High Line Hotel debuted in May and will stay open until mid-October, weather permitting. Helmed by the team behind James Beard Award-winning Maison Premiere and Greenpoint charmer Sauvage, the tropically-fitted outdoor bar serves refreshing, weather-appropriate cocktails like a ginger-accented Pimm’s Cup variation and a fun, frozen take on a Blue Hawaii. The star of bartender Will Elliott’s menu, however, is the beloved frozen negroni with Jerez vermouth and seasonal citrus. Soak it up with lobster rolls, fish and chips, and an array of raw-bar options. 180 10th Ave., 212-933-9735

Katana Kitten


Helmed by former Saxon + Parole barman Masahiro Urushido, along with Cocktail Kingdom’s Greg Boehm and Boilermaker’s James Tune, this playful modern izakaya divides its menu into creative riffs on classic cocktails, beer-and-cocktail boilermakers, and Japanese highballs—think a shiso gin and tonic laced with Bergamot orange and lime. The house signature is a yuzu-shio daiquiri, highlighting the Asian citrus fruit with Shio-Koji seasoning and Wasanbon sugar. The bar opens in July 24th. 531 Hudson St.

The Polynesian


An behemoth of a bar from the Major Food Group team (Carbone, Santina), the 200-seat Polynesian brings the group’s characteristic attention to detail to the tiki format. They’ve tapped bar legend Brian Miller to design the menu, which salutes the escapist quality of tiki with drinks like the Reggae Bus, riffing on a Queens Park Swizzle with yellow Chartreuse and saffron bitters, and the Merrie Monarch, a seriously amped-up whiskey sour variation with cold brew, orgeat, tropical spices, and calamansi puree. Food is similarly throwback, with pu pu platters, wontons, and crab rangoons galore. 400 W. 42nd St., 212-254-3000

Stay Gold


Kips Bay isn’t know for having many quality cocktail bars, but here’s one for the list. Bartender-proprietors Matt Piacentini and Chaim Dauermann of Greenwich Village staple The Up & Up have recently unveiled their follow-up project, this 150-person neighborhood joint for cocktail geeks and casual drinkers alike. Belly up to the gilded antique bar for classics and original creations, like the titular Stay Gold, the house bourbon-beer slushie. Later into the night, retreat to the back lounge, anchored by its own lilac marble bar with window service catering to drinkers hanging in the garden. 360 3rd Ave., 917-261-7441

Photography by: Photography courtesy Doron Gild; Eric Medsker; Katie June Burton; Noah Fecks