10 places to drink like a local in New York

By Louise O'Brien

<em>Lic Bar in Long Island</em>
Lic Bar in Long Island
Louise O’Brien is Director of Public Relations The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue. Here are her recommendations for a great place to drink while you discover the city that never sleeps.

Lic Bar, Long Island City

There are some signs that this used to be a down-to-earth neighbourhood. One of those signs is LIC Bar (pictured above). The neon sign outside is like a port in the storm. No hipsters. No fancy décor. Just a solid wooden bar, brick walls and live music to get your drink on to. Recommended drink? A single malt scotch. licbar.com

Sunny’s, Brooklyn

Located right on the water, Sunny’s ‘back garden’ (cement yard with random folding chairs strewed haphazardly around) often has impromptu musical performances. The bar inside is festooned with tacky Christmas lights and Three Stooges statuettes. And the regulars are all zany locals who make visiting Red Hook the magical adventure that it is. Recommended drink? The strongest Dark & Stormy you’ve ever had outside of Jamaica. sunnysredhook.com

Grand Republic Cocktail Club, Brooklyn

Located on a quiet street close to Transmitter Park, this is an upscale cocktail pub wolf in dive bar sheep’s clothing. The cocktail menu is stupendous. Your recommended drink? The Salty Dog, made with gin, grapefruit juice and a salt rim. grandrepubliccocktailclub.com

Bar Veloce, Chelsea

This is centrally located enough to draw in just the sort of crowd that creates memorable, albeit totally random, bar conversations. This unassuming wine bar has one of the best happy hours in the city that only other New Yorkers seem to know about. It’s not the prices that make it great – it’s the offerings. Nowhere else will you get a half-priced glass of pinot noir or white burgundy that you would happily pay full price for. Recommended drink? Anything that the bartender recommends. winebarveloce.com

BG at Bergdorf Goodman, Midtown

This restaurant has sweeping views of Central Park and is a lovely hidden gem. A seat at the bar will afford you the feeling that you have been transformed somehow into Holly Golightly, one of the most iconic locals in film history. Recommended drink? Anything with Champagne. bergdorfgoodman.com

Keens Steakhouse, Midtown

Midtown Manhattan is not routinely where one goes for a ritzy night out. But this chophouse has been in business since 1885. Best known for its steaks, its world-famous mutton, and the wooden pipes which once belonged to figures like Albert Einstein, a seat at the bar is the best one in the house at Keens. The bartenders are the black- suited types straight out of central casting. Recommended rink? Try the dry gin martini with three olives. keens.com

Mar’s, Astoria

This is where Astorians go to unwind, thanks to its delicious Mediterranean menu (Astoria is a Greek dining mecca), robust offering of seasonal oysters, and comfortable atmosphere. Recommended drink? Whatever rosé the bartender recommends to go with your oyster selection. lifeatmars.com

Rudy’s Bar & Grill, Midtown West

It’s hard to miss Rudy’s. After all there is a ceramic pig stationed next to its front door. Rudy’s has been a Hell’s Kitchen staple since the 1930s. Its customer base has since evolved beyond the longshoremen the neighborhood used to be known for, but the cheap beer and free hot dogs pretty much remain the same. Recommended drink? A shot and a beer which, at Rudy’s, is Seagram’s 7 American Whiskey & a Rudy’s Blonde Draft for US$5. rudysbarnyc.com

The Long Island Bar, Brooklyn

This quaint eatery has been serving food and drink since 1951. It looks like a diner. The food is unpretentious but interesting – it has one of the best burgers in NYC – but the draw is the cocktails, thanks to co-owner Toby Cecchini, one of the most legendary bartenders in NY who is credited with inventing the Cosmopolitan. Recommended drink? The Long Island Gimlet. thelongislandbar.com

Cubbyhole, West Village

This is one of the few remaining lesbian bars in NYC. And it is also home to the world’s greatest jukebox. No idea why or how but the music here just sounds better. It is a friendly, warm, happy place – for the LGBTQ+ community, first and foremost, but also just anyone who wants to soak in the positive vibes. Recommended drink? Dyke Beer, locally brewed in Brooklyn. cubbyholebar.com


Print Recipe


Let us keep you up to date with our weekly MiNDFOOD e-newsletters which include the weekly menu plan, health and news updates or tempt your taste buds with the MiNDFOOD Daily Recipe. 

Member Login