There's certainly no shortage of creative craft cocktails in New York City. Check out our roundup of Manhattan mixology destinations, served neat.
1. Little Branch
20 Seventh Avenue South at Leroy Street
Nothing says speakeasy like a hidden subterranean piano bar on Seventh Avenue South. Think mustard walls with corrugated steel accents, the occasional jazz trio, and bespoke cocktails tailored to sippers' tastes. Cozy up to a booth and enjoy the surroundings or linger at the bar for a true lesson in libations; either way, any trip to Little Branch is a surefire crowd pleaser.
2. Employees Only
This art-deco speakeasy, located in the heart of West Village, is reminiscent of the 1920’s down to every detail. With a backlit bar and old-world touches left and right, from terraced lighting and overhead luggage racks to a steel-encased fireplace, the dining room elicits a “railroad-chic” feel that pays homage to the cocktail dens of yesteryear. The gang that brought this establishment to life - Igor Hadzismajlovic, Jason Kosmas, Bill Gilroy, Dushan Zaric and Henry LaFargue - is seriously committed to both traditional and new-age techniques. EO's bartenders can be found mixing up anything from a classic Pisco sours to more inventive house concoctions, like our personal favorite: the Provençal, a bright, refreshing concoction made with lavender-infused Plymouth Gin, best when paired with oysters on the half shell.
Craving a stiff drink in an old-school apothecary? Look no further. This cleverly hidden speakeasy is arguably one of New York's finest, and most definitely not for the faint of heart. Apotheke is truly one of a kind with its "opium den" feel 30-foot bar made from imported Carrara marble flanked by red velvetine couches - lest we forget the hundreds of antique medicine bottles that were collected from all over the world, displayed proudly behind the bar and aptly filled with house-made spirits and liqueurs. Mixology masters Nicolas O’Connor, Chris Marshall, and Eleuterio Carrillo can be found in lab coats serving up cocktails to the likes of Manhattan’s most elite.
4. Experimental Cocktail Club
Touting a menu consistently updated by the most renowned mixologists in the world, ECC’s cocktails are eccentric and unique. Originally a French establishment (there are now seven in Paris, two in London and one in Spain,) the American outpost attracts a largely international following along with anyone in New York City seeking a glam feel and convivial atmosphere. Be sure to try the “Stockholm Syndrome,” a curiously refreshing dill-infused vodka concoction served in a small medicine bottle, and take a moment to make friends with the bartenders on duty: they might just share the insider scoop on their latest “experiments.”
PDT, short for “please don’t tell,” is as exclusive as they come. Accessed from a phone booth inside an East Village hot dog joint, this speakeasy is a NYC mainstay for Manhattanites with a taste for true mixology. Taxidermy adorns brick-laden walls illuminated by candles and the occasional dim chandelier, complete with hot dogs served through a tiny window behind the bar: the ultimate cozy cocktail-and-hot-dog experience. Try the Benton’s Old Fashioned, a smoky house favorite made with bacon-infused Bourbon, paired with the renowned “Chang dog”, a bacon-wrapped frank with signature kimchi by the father of the Momofuku empire himself.