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My Top 10 Drinking Holes in NYC

December 11, 2009

Need a festive drink to take the edge off your holiday preparation? Here are my top ten favorite places to get a drink in the city, relatively varied in price range and atmosphere, with one other burrow thrown in. I guess from this list it’s easy to tell where I am most commonly tipping my glass.

My Top 10 Drinking Holes

10. Banjo Jim’s
700 E. 9th St, Lower East Side

One excruciatingly warm summer day, I was wandering the streets with Zooey England in search of our life’s purpose and we stumbled across Banjo Jim’s – a bar that instantly reminded me of the kitchen parties thrown almost nightly at my blue-grass prodigy Grandfather’s house. Call me a sucker for sentiment, but the lights and decor didn’t hurt either.

09. The Skinny
174 Orchard St, Lower East Side

I end up at the Skinny on accident all the time. It’s conveniently located in the middle of every other place I like to go – basically a long, skinny bar with lofts on either end for the DJ booth and additional seating. Not a bad place for a casual date, the owner is a great guy, and my friend AK spins there on Friday nights.

08. Karma Lounge
51 1st Ave, East Village

This place is crowded and hard to navigate front to back as a result, but the hookah’s are super-tall (fun!) and provide for some decent puffing. The music is top-40 and club-esque so you probably want to go there for your warm up before finding your nightlife niche elsewhere in the village.

07. Decibel Sake Bar
240 East 9th St, East Village

A hidden hole-in-the-ground bar that cards old men with beards. It’s a dimly lit, sexy little sake bar with a huge selection of drinks and a wall you can write on. Just ask your waiter for a marker and try not to write over the relics of my previous love affair, which you’ll find somewhere near the back door…

06. Le Souk Harem
510 La Guardia Place, Greenwich Village

Sequel to Le Souk, this three level bar/restaurant/club is a great place to smoke hookah and drink. During dinner hours you’ll enjoy the company of a belly dancer and some Turkish tunes, but as the night gets later they switch to typical meatpacking anthems and the place kind of loses its soul.

05. East Side Company
49 Essex St, Lower East Side

The best mixed drinks I’ve had in the whole city, hands-down. And ten points for atmosphere – you can barely find the entrance and you’ll have to make your way down a long stone-wall corridor to find yourself an alcove and a small table in the back. Super romantic (in that catacomb sort of way).

04. Pinetree Lodge
326 East 35th St, Midtown East

I was introduced to this bar recently and I have actually daydreamed about returning. It’s like the old Cheeky Bastard electro crowd moved to the sticks and started a hunting lodge for pretty young things with no work the next day. It’s crammed with rustic left-overs and furniture and holiday lights, a digital juke box glowing in the corner like a nucleus.

03. Pete’s Candy Store
709 Lorimer St, Williamsburg

An inspiring social space that I’ll actually leave Manhattan for. This place has good food, cheap drinks, a small performance hall for local talent to woo drunk hipsters into the early hours, and an outdoor patio for unforgettable summer nights. Oh wait, that’s me getting sentimental!

02. Simone Martini Bar
134 1st Ave, East Village

I’m here almost every night, so it bares mentioning. The food is incredible and the high-class brothel ambiance may actually be worth the extra money you spend on a drink. You’ll have fun watching the customers-only bathroom policy get enforced repeatedly and flirting with the first rate gents behind the bar.

01. Mehanata
113 Ludlow, Lower East Side

The only place to be on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, after 1:30AM. A dive bar with more emotion and family-ties and dramatic, violent, beautiful history than you’ll probably ever realize from just drinking & dancing there. The best mash-up of music, the most varied dance floor moves, and a glass box in which you can chug vodka for two minutes.

Enjoy!

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  1. darling buy!

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