Served hot or cold, sake is an ancient beverage brewed from fermented rice, while shochu is distilled like vodka. Both are delicious sipped neat or mixed in cocktails.   By Selena Ricks-Good.


Sake Bar Decibel

240 E. 9th St.
New York, NY
(212) 979-2733

Down a small flight of stairs, this dimly-lit cozy dive transports you straight to Tokyo. Choose from more than 80 sakes – served hot or chilled, shochu, beer, plum wine, as well as a list of saketinis. The staff here are knowledgeable and friendly, so for recommendations just tell your server which flavors you prefer, such as light and sweet, dry or full-bodied. The menu of small plates, such as dumplings and Japanese pancake, should keep you from stumbling out of here.

Credit: Japanese Brasserie

EN Japanese Brasserie

435 Hudson St.
New York, NY
(212) 647-9196

This cavernous, modern izakaya (a Japanese pub with food pairings) has a standalone bar dedicated to shochu. From traditional flavors such as buckwheat and sweet potato to the less common, such as black sesame and sguarcane, more than 30 varieties are served here, all explained on a descriptive menu. Sake and beer are also served here, and cocktails include the Seppun (Takara Jun 35 Shochu, shiso leaf, grapefruit juice and yuzu juice).



211 E. 43rd St.
New York, NY
(212) 953-7253

Discreetly tucked away beneath a corporate Midtown lobby, Sakagura has been popular with business types, Japanese and American alike, since opening in 1996. More than 200 varieties of sake are served at this sleek subterranean lounge, and a sake sommelier is available to help guide you through the menu. Pair the sake with small plates such as pork belly, sashimi and chilled tofu for the full experience.

For the latest on NYC’s bar and nightlife scene, follow us on Twitter!Selena Ricks-Good writes about drinks and produces events as the Dizzy Fizz.