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NYC’s Top 5 Laid-Back Cocktail Bars

February 9, 2012 3:26 PM

Credit: Randolph at Broome

Credit: Randolph at Broome

When it comes to NYC nightlife, one night you can be sipping Champagne with pseudo-celebrities, the next you’re chugging cheap beer in a noisy dive with sticky floors. Wondering where you can just grab a nice cocktail and relax without any pretense or a clipboard-wielding doorman? Here are the best bars with laid-back scenes in NYC. By Selena Ricks-Good.
daddy o NYCs Top 5 Laid Back Cocktail Bars

Credit: NYC


44 Bedford St.
New York, NY
(212) 414-8884

So long as the Steelers aren’t playing on the flatscreens, Daddy-O is a popular spot for its no-nonsense atmosphere. There’s a long list of cocktails, but you won’t find any bartenders calling themselves mixologists here, as well as a large whiskey selection and reasonably-priced bar food. Get here early to score a cozy booth, as the bar tends to stay packed until 4 a.m.

shoolbred s NYCs Top 5 Laid Back Cocktail Bars

(credit: Shoolbred’s/Facebook)


197 2nd Ave.
New York, NY
(212) 529-0340

Featuring leather club chairs, a gas fireplace, stained glass and a 20-foot mahogany bar, this Scottish gastropub is refined yet oozing with comfort. Draft beers include Bluepoint Toasted Lager ($6) and Delerium Tremens ($9). Winter cocktails include mulled cider and a hot toddy featuring green tea, Chivas Regal 12 year Scotch, honey, cinnamon and fresh orange juice.

the randolph NYCs Top 5 Laid Back Cocktail Bars

Credit: Randolph at Broome

The Randolph at Broome

349 Broome St.
New York, NY
(212) 274-0667

Serving coffee by day and cocktails at night, The Randolph has built a reputation as an unassuming dive bar with an excellent drink program. Cocktails are $14 after 8 p.m., and just $7 from noon to 8 p.m. Whether you order a Manhattan, a PBR or a pickle-back (a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle brine), no one will bat an eye here–anything goes.

White Star

mcc cocktails 450 NYCs Top 5 Laid Back Cocktail Bars

(File photo credit: Clipart)

21 Essex St.
New York, NY
(212) 995-5464

Originally opened by Sasha Petraske, White Star has been an anti-speakeasy cocktail bar since it first opened in 2008. Although it’s not hidden, the bar still has a secretive air about it, perhaps because it’s off the beaten path. Intimate, cozy and featuring a short cocktail menu, the bartenders here are friendly and will happily make a drink of your choice.

Mother’s Ruin

112978961 NYCs Top 5 Laid Back Cocktail Bars

(file photo credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

18 Spring St.
New York, NY

Serving cocktail slushies such as bourbon with frozen apple cider, Mother’s Ruin is all about taking the pretense out of cocktails. Opened recently by bartenders-turned-bar owners T.J. Lynch and Richard Knapp, this Nolita hangout features a rotating menu of cocktails in addition to the slushies and bar bites such as French onion soup topped with grilled cheese. An oasis of low-key cool, the neighborhood crowd has quickly taken notice, packing the bar during late hours.

Selena Ricks-Good writes about drinks and produces events as the Dizzy Fizz.

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