The beagle takes a look at the best cocktail bars in New York - the world's (second) best cocktail city...
Attaboy- Lower East Side
Probably Beagle's favourite bar in the world. On the site of the former Milk & Honey, so effectively built on sacred ground. Low key, 'neighbourhood' style bar hidden behind an unassuming door - it's the one with AB stickers on the front. Just knock and hope for the best (at worst they'll take your number and send a text later). There's no menu here, you just need to get a seat at the bar and chat to the bartenders. Bonus points if you can unassumingly get them to make you a Penicillin (M&H modern classic) just by talking about how you like smokey, citrus, ginger drinks...
Bar Goto- Lower East Side
Another Asian-inspired joint taking NYC by storm, Bar Goto offers Japanese comfort food and rich yuzu and cherry blossom drinks with all the attention to detail you'd expect from Pegu Club alum Kenta Goto. Take a seat at the bar and enjoy the best view in the house as the attentive staff shake, stir and strain - it's walk-in only though, so be there early.
Dante- Greenwich Village
A Greenwich Village destination since 1915 and a long time resident of the 50 Best Bars list (reaching the coveted number one spot in 2019) Caffe Dante is a cosy Italian cafe with a killer drinks list. From the seasonal Negroni menu (which takes up a the entirety of a bar to ceiling mirror) to the a la carte list, these guys know their way around a shaker. The kitchen doesn't slouch either, on our last visit the Beagle ate the biggest anchovies he'd ever seen, while the Fox feasted on cannoli the size of her paw.
Dead Rabbit - Financial District
Longtime "Best Bar in the World". Don't be fooled by the spit n sawdust taproom downstairs - put your name down with the doorman on your way in and enjoy the Guinness until they have a seat for you in the fancy "Parlor" on the first floor. The menu is literally a work of art, and while it may make each drink sound like it contains far too many ingredients to work, have faith. They're punchy and well balanced (and that's just the staff...)
Death & Co- East Village
A seriously influential bar that created or rediscovered a lot of drinks now considered modern classics - Final Ward, Oaxaca Old Fashioned, Coffey Park Swizzle, Strange Brew et al - thanks to the 'Mr Potato Head method'. Seriously...
Double Chicken Please- Lower East Side
Re-establishing the Lower East Side as one of the finest cocktail neighbourhoods in the world, DCP rocketed straight in at number 6 on 2022's 50 Best list. The front room offers fried chicken and the slow pour of draft cocktails (try #5 with Kavalan whisky, Patron and oolong), while the back room tries to recreate solid foods (cold pizza, French toast and Key lime pie) as cocktails. Yup...
Employees Only - Greenwich Village
Another highly regarded bar, and not a bad spot for dinner either. Can have quite a rowdy crowd, but there are tables at the back if you're eating. Have the steak tartare: (a) it's ace, and (b) a waiter comes and makes it at your table. There's also free chicken soup at closing time and a fortune teller by the door, if you need one (or the other).
Katana Kitten- Greenwich Village
Descend the steps and travel back (and east) to a Japanese dive bar with a solid 1980s playlist. The menu has a strong Asian influence, with highballs, Thai chili and hinoki tree essence. Snacks are a good call as well, with soy-garlic and sake marinated fried chicken a particular highlight.
Mace - East Village
It's five year run in the 50 Best list may have ended, but they may well be back. Either way, Mace is a useful spot if you need somewhere to wait for a table at PDT or Death & Co as its just the other side of the park. A big herbal theme to the menu here, but there's also a pistachio-oil-fat-washed vodka on the list, so it's not all spice...
Maison Premiere - Brooklyn
A New Orleans style (think Cajun spice and Sazeracs ahoy) oyster bar with distressed walls and a menu that leads on raw fish, absinthe and a heap of style (if shirt sleeve garters are your idea of style).
PDT - East Village
A long-standing classic of the speakeasy style. Enter through the phone booth in Crif Dogs. Eye roll. Outrageously popular (for an alleged secret), so you'll probably need to book. Owner Jim Meehan is a geeky-legend of the cocktail world. The drinks are awesome and you can get hot dogs and tater tots as well. What more do you need?
Rainbow Room- Midtown
Pretend you're Jack Donaghy and take in the vista from the top of the rock. Takes an age to get served, and you'll pay a premium, but at least you can enjoy the view.