Without having done any sort of proper statistical analysis, we’d venture to say that the East Village has the highest number of bars per block than any other New York City ‘hood. If you’re looking to do a cocktail crawl, it’s certainly the place to be, although it may be more enjoyable to spread these five stops out over a few evenings. By Laren Spirer.
This cocktail den manages to be sophisticated without being stuffy. With an extensive menu and some of the best barkeeps around, you’re in for a treat whether you’re a cocktail newbie or a seasoned imbiber. Choose your spirit, decide if you’d like your poison shaken or stirred, and don’t forget to order the truffled mac and cheese to soak it all up. It may be a bit tough to get into during peak hours, but if you’re strategic about timing your visits, you’ll be fine.
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Sneak through the phone booth inside of Crif Dogs and enter a cozy and refined space, perfect for a date or quietly catching up with a friend or two. Helmed by Jim Meehan, PDT’s team will guide you towards seasonal drinks or tried and true favorites, based on your personal preferences. If you’re hungry, don’t miss the NYC chef-inspired dogs and tater tots, or order from the full Crif Dogs menu.
Cocktails go high tech thanks to Dave Arnold, and his culinary technology expertise, who brings his techno-wizardry to the former Milk Bar space connected to Momofuku Ssam Bar. Hot drinks are brought to temp with the “red hot poker,” bringing some serious flames and caramelization to the equation. Even the traditional Manhattan isn’t as simple as it seems, made in batches to the perfect dilution, then bottled with liquid nitrogen, to prevent any aging effects from oxygen. When you order, you can pour from your own bottle into a liquid-nitrogen-chilled glass.
A lair for all things agave, Mayahuel has a cocktail list chock full of tequila and mezcal delights. Try one of the Mayahuel classics like the Loop Tonic, a mix of blanco tequila, green Chartreuse, dry vermouth, lime, and celery bitters, or explore Mexican terroir through a tasting flight. Don’t forget a bite or two while you’re at it; the cochinita — braised pork belly with papaya mango mustard — is not to be missed.
Up a flight of stairs through Japanese izakaya Village Yokocho, Angel’s Share is a secretive respite from the hustle and bustle of the East Village. This civilized hideaway is an ideal date spot, and a perfect place to sip expertly made versions of classic cocktails without noise or crowds. Grab a seat by the window and watch the world pass by from your perch.