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The Five Best Cocktail Bars to Hit This Summer

Since its birth in the 19th century, the cocktail has become a staple of American life, particularly during the summer, when an icy mixed drink is just the thing to cool down both body and mind. And, as with many things, New York is the undisputed cocktail capital of the world, which is why we’ve taken the liberty of rounding up the City’s best spots to get a mixed drink this summer. Read on—there’s a spot for everyone.

Dear Irving

With its pink and green damask couches, crystal chandeliers, toile wallpaper, and ornately carved wood tables, Dear Irving’s interior resembles a modern-day Versailles. Gather your friends, dress up in your finest attire, and sip cocktails in this luxurious Victorian-inspired bar. The drinks even have fancy names and ingredients. Try The Confidant, which features gin, Perrier sparkling water, egg whites, and lavender bitters. Or, opt for the more pungent Butler Service cocktail, mixed with a rare type of brandy, sherry, cacao, and mole bitters. Opened in 2014, Dear Irving was founded by the Yves Jadot Restaurant Group, which also owns popular Chelsea speakeasy The Raines Lawroom.

Patent Pending

The Radio Wave building in Flatiron District honors Nikola Tesla, the Croatian innovator who patented the first radio technology in 1900. Tucked in the back of the building’s basement is a new Tesla-themed speakeasy called Patent Pending, which opened its doors in January. Inside, teal diner-inspired seating is contrasted by wood walls and hanging lightbulbs, for a cozy, yet exclusive vibe. The bar’s menu features cocktails with inventive names and ingredients. Each drink is sketched on the menu like a prototype and measurements are listed next to each drawing. Try the bar’s appropriately named cocktails like the “Radio Wave,” “The Twain,” “Strange Magic” and “Light Me Up,” which feature unique ingredients like Thai chili, elderflower, and absinthe. While the drinks are fancy, the food is down-to-earth, and American. Pair your drink with classic comfort food like grilled cheese, pulled pork sandwiches, and tomato soup.

Tokyo Record Bar

Nestled between quaint Italian restaurants and coffee shops that were once frequented by famous beatniks and novelists, sits Tokyo Record Bar in Greenwich Village. This joint is the only place in the city where you can listen to vinyl records while eating a seven-course Japanese meal. Sip on a sake cocktail while you wait to be seated at this underground bar—but you must make a reservation weeks in advance. You can get basic Sake flavored with jasmine and cucumber, or try the butternut squash and toasted marshmallow versions if you’re feeling adventurous. The decadent food menu features caviar sushi, mushroom dumplings, steak tonkatsu, and chocolate lava cake, and the decor is just as pleasing. Inspired by traditional Japanese culture, the interior features a colorful mural of mountainous landscapes, whimsical bamboo chairs, and flower-covered ceilings. A large mosaic of a gold sunflower tiles the floor.

Rose Bar

Located in the swanky Gramercy Park Hotel, Rose Bar is a stylish spot perfect for the more flamboyant crowd. Pink velvet chairs, checkered floors and art by Keith Haring and Andy Warhol fill the bold space. The bar epitomizes New York nightlife, and hosts fashion week after parties along with performances by artists like Dave Navarro and Elle King. Sip on Bellini’s, martinis, and fruity vodka cocktails while munching on craft bites curated by Danny Meyer, New York restaurateur and creator of Shake Shack. Then dance the night away with your friends.

Legacy Records

Famed restaurateurs Charlie Bird and Pasquale Jones teamed up to convert Sony’s old Legacy Recordings studio into a restaurant and bar. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Legacy is the record label that manages rockers like Aerosmith and AC/DC, rappers like Chris Brown and ASAP Rocky, and pop stars like Adele and Avril Lavigne. The restaurant features a gourmet Italian menu and a blue-and-white interior that exudes major Mediterranean vibes, and is sure to draw in a young, hip crowd. The stylish space was designed by Ken Fulk, a San Francisco-based interior designer who’s known for his colorful, nature-inspired spaces. Legacy Records is no exception. Natural elements like wood countertops are mix with modern decor, including dangling green and white decorative balls and kaleidoscope-inspired paintings. Legacy’s luxurious, yet welcoming vibe makes it the perfect place to drink sweet cocktails and aperitifs while sampling gourmet appetizers. Indulge in wine spritzers and rare whiskies with unique accents like honey and rosemary, which pair well with the light dishes like smoked fish, prosciutto and artichokes. Legacy Records Bar, located along the water in Hudson Yards, is probably the closest you can get to a summer getaway without leaving the city.

Words: Hayley Lind


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