Amid New York’s bustling nightlife scene, sometimes all you want is a quiet spot to catch up with friends over well-crafted cocktails. While there are plenty of high-energy, buzzy hot spots out there, there’s also a time and place for a less stressful kind of night out. Plus, with the holidays right around the corner, we’re all feeling the pressure of hectic schedules, and the looming task of finding the perfect gifts and preparing for countless fêtes and get-togethers. So, if you’re searching for a more intimate and low-key experience to indulge in cocktails sans the clamor of clubs and too-trendy bars, consider one of these under-the-radar New York City haunts.
24 Cortlandt Alley, New York, NY 10013
Nestled beneath the Walker Hotel Tribeca, Saint Tuesday is an intimate, dimly lit bar with live music. The simple, straightforward cocktail menu at this subterranean bar focuses on fresh ingredients and modern takes on classic recipes, with all drinks priced at $21.
510 East 11th St., New York, NY 10009
11th St. Bar exudes the charm of a classic Irish pub through its old-timey brick walls and laid-back atmosphere. There’s live music five nights a week; each evening features different genres ranging from traditional Irish tunes and jazz to country and blues. This low-key neighborhood spot also offers an extensive selection of snacks and drinks, with beer, spirits, classic cocktails and specialty beverages like the beloved Night Owl and 11th Street Manhattan.
49 West 44th St., New York, NY 10036
Situated within the historic Iroquois Hotel, Lantern’s Keep is a cozy, relaxed space focused on classic and pre-prohibition cocktails. With a limit of five people per party, Lantern’s Keep is an ideal spot to unwind for a low-key evening. Among their best-selling drinks are the New York Harvest, which blends bourbon, wine and applejack, and the Tequila Maid, infused with lime, mint and cucumber. In keeping with historic authenticity, Lantern’s Keep doesn’t carry vodka, as the spirit wasn’t popular in the U.S. around the Prohibition era.
67 Clinton St., 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10002
For a speakeasy-inspired experience, head to Garfunkel’s, on the second floor of The Burgary. A bank vault door serves as the entrance, paying homage to the Prohibition era and transporting guests back in time, with jazz music playing in the background. The space exudes an air of mystery and charm from a bygone period, with its plush velvet couches, dim lighting space and tin ceiling.
13 East 30th St., New York, NY 10016
Many often stumble upon George Bang Bang after dining at Okdongsik, a Michelin-recommended Korean restaurant, intrigued by the dark door at the back of the eatery. But George Bang Bang is equally noteworthy for its meticulous mixology. From classic libations like the Manhattan and Old Fashioned to bespoke cocktails such as The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, featuring lavender-infused Bacardi rum and coconut water, each sip is a testament to the bar’s dedication to crafting drinks that transcend the ordinary.
509 East 6th St., New York, NY 10009
A hidden gem in the East Village, Pineapple Club is a tropical bar with inventive takes on tiki and classic cocktails. Don’t miss their signature Pineapple Old Fashioned or fruit-infused drinks like the Passion Fruit Spritz and Lychee Martini, which perfectly complement the beachy vibe. If you’re picky, the bartenders will gladly customize beverages. Plus, the venue hosts weekly themed events, from disco beats to Y2K nostalgia.
44 Bedford St., New York, NY 10014
A nostalgic journey back to the ‘70s, Bandits is a retro diner-themed watering hole from The Garret Group, featuring wood-paneled interiors, stone checkered floors and vintage decor. The expansive drinks menu includes categories like everyday tiki, mixed shots, beer, wine, highballs and signatures. Try the Truth or Pear, a mezcal cocktail with pasilla and guajillo chiles, pear, rosemary, lime and blueberry salt.
70 West 36th St., New York, NY 10018
Bo Peep is nestled right below The Ragtrader. This speakeasy offers two seating options, each complemented by live music. The first begins at 5:30 pm, with piano tunes, while the 8:30 pm seating features guest vocalists. Whichever you choose, savor the small bites, pizza and an extensive menu of beers, wines and cocktails.