More: The 5 Best Bars Near Central Park
Russian Vodka Room
The name seems to say it all, but there’s more to the Russian Vodka Room than just a neat glass of vodka. Listen closely as Russian accents mingle through the crowd, while a live pianist adds a bit of elegance to the bar. Choose from more than 50 different vodkas, including house infusions ranging from strawberry to pepper and dill, knocking you off your barstool with an iced shot. Arrive early to enjoy happy hour specials from 4 to 7 p.m. daily and enjoy shots of flavored vodka for $3.50 and martinis for only $5.
This underground Russian speak-easy, tucked away in Soho, is the perfect destination for a sexy date night. Pravda is a caviar bar serving over 70 different vodkas including 10 house infused flavored vodkas, such as fig and cranberry. Dine on Russian inspired food, while getting cozy on a red leather sofa under Moscow décor. After a few strong vodka cocktails, you may divulge more than you bargained for with your new crush, understanding why pravda means “truth” in Russian.
Grab your former frat buddies and head to The Ice Cage, Mehanata’s sub-zero drinking room in the bar’s basement level. Dish up $20 per person, don an authentic Soviet military uniform and hold a shot glass made of ice before plunging into the freezing ice cage, lined with vodka bottles. You’ll have two minutes to drink up to 6 shots of vodka before stumbling out to dance into a lair of belly dancers. Mehanata is not your old school Russian vodka bar.
Back in the 1940s, this space housed the local headquarters of a Ukrainian socialist party. Today, twenty-something grad students enjoy more than 40 types of vodka, while listening to KGB’s legendary reading series, drawing published authors to struggling writers hoping to get noticed and make it big, with an audience tipsy on vodka.
New York’s only 30-foot ice bar promises guests a “different” bar experience than you’ve had anywhere else in the city. Try one of their 16 in-house infused vodkas, including ginger and cucumber, to seasonal flavors, like pumpkin and apple cinnamon. Vlada erupts into a nightclub after happy hour, hosting shows ranging from burlesque to drag until close.
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Sarah Shaker is the founder of Bright Lights, My City.