In the city that never sleeps, Lower Manhattan East is the resident life of the party. While in the quaint, sophisticated Gramercy neighborhood, wine bars dot the streets, Alphabet City pumps out inexpensive Margs along the East River. Meanwhile, the Lower East Side and East Village are home to both late-night dance parties and buzzy cocktail bars.
The southeastern region of the borough has it all — so much so, in fact, that it can feel nearly impossible to explore all of the exciting spots it has to offer. One could truly spend months making their way through the seemingly endless beer bars, clubs, and dives in the area below 34th street and east of Broadway, but in case you don’t have the time (or funds) to do so, we’ve pared it down to eight can’t-miss spots that scratch every itch a drinks lover could have.
Here are eight of the best places to drink in Lower Manhattan East.
Best Place to Taste the Unexpected: Double Chicken Please
If classic Martinis make you yawn and Negronis feel so 2016, head to Double Chicken Please for an array of cocktails unlike any you’ve tried before. The space, dubbed DCP by those in the know, includes a front and back room — the former doles out cocktails on tap while the latter serves up a unique menu of drinks made to order. The cocktails are each inspired by and named after beloved food items ranging from French toast to cold pizza, with ingredients used in each dish repurposed to make some truly fantastical concoctions. Expect to find that rare combination of lively ambience that doesn’t feel packed, making it a dependable pick for last-minute ventures to the Lower East Side.
Address: 115 Allen Street, New York, N.Y. 10002
Best Place to Start off the Night: Mister Paradise
In the heart of the Ukrainian Village, Mister Paradise is a “serious” cocktail bar that thankfully doesn’t take itself too seriously. The space has a retro feel with plush leather booths lit with moody red bulbs, and a mixture of classic and signature drinks served up by knowledgeable bartenders in boiler suits complete with nicknames on their name tags adds to the playful vibe. This spot is ideal for post-work happy hours or low-key weekend afternoon sipping.
Tip Jar: The space gets packed at night but makes for a nice, casual hang in the afternoon. When the weather’s warm, sit outside and order the fried chicken alongside your favorite drink. If egg white drinks are your thing, Mister Paradise pours a mean Whiskey Sour.
Address: 105 First Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10003
Best Place to Get Adventurous: Ruffian
Sometimes, we’re in the mood for what we know, and old faithfuls like Provence rosés and Napa Cabs never disappoint. If you’re looking to stay in your comfort zone, Ruffian may not be for you. Here, the extensive list is inspired by the Adriatic region, offering guests a chance to explore lesser-known and highly underrated producers.. Take a trip to Slovenia for a natural Savvy B, or stop by Croatia for a glass of Babić. The food menu offers an array of mainly vegetarian small bites, including quirky offerings like The Gucci Bag, a plate of almond-smoked beet dumplings tucked beside enoki mushrooms.
Address: 125 E 7th St, New York, N.Y. 10009
Best Place to Get Dancy: Dream Baby
If sitting for a quiet drink sounds like a bore but the club scene doesn’t quite appeal, Dream Baby walks the line between these two vibes. In the front, bartenders serve up $10 Margs (that are actually good) to thirsty patrons; in the back, a DJ spins crowd-pleasing retro hits (think: lots of ABBA) while a second bar doles out macro lagers. It’s proudly loud, with a small line out the door most weekend nights, and is therefore the perfect place to keep the energy going until after-hours.
Address: 162-164 Avenue B, New York, N.Y. 10009
Best Place to Take a Date: The Ten Bells
With locations in the Lower East Side and, more recently, Bushwick, The Ten Bells is a natural wine bar with an impressive and delicious selection of Spanish-inspired tapas. Explore an extensive by-the-glass list, or split a carafe with a friend or date. Speaking of the latter, this is an ideal spot to bring a new romantic interest, as its cool ambience makes for easy fodder for buzzy conversation. During happy hour, enjoy $1 oysters or a selection of tapas for dinner on the cheap.
Address: 247 Broome St., New York, N.Y. 10002
Best Place to Spend an Afternoon: Alphabet Beer Co.
While NYC is now home to its very own brewery, ABC Beer Co. has been a staple for the city’s beer-loving residents for the past 10 years. With a laid-back atmosphere and an extensive tap list, the bar serves up everything from local IPAs to Canadian goses. While the vibe here is undeniably “New York,” its massive pretzels and beer cheese dip will transport you to a Bavarian beer garden, if only for a moment.
Tip Jar: Alphabet Beer Co. is situated right beside Accidental Bar, an inviting and cozy sake bar with delectable Asian-inspired small bites. Pop in for a quick snack before heading to your next destination.
Address: 96 Avenue C, New York, N.Y. 10009
Best Place for Drinks With a View: Manhatta
From the veterans at Union Square Hospitality Group, recently reopened Manhatta offers a panoramic 60th-floor view of the entire city. Come for the Everything Pretzel Bites and French onion burger, and stay for the eye-catching cocktail list, featuring five sips inspired by some of New York City’s most beloved neighborhoods, including a delightful Red Hook-inspired drink made with coconut-infused rye, Punt e Mes, Maraschino, and chocolate.
Address: 60th Floor, 28 Liberty Street, New York, N.Y. 10005
Best Place to Embrace Nostalgia: Ding-a-Ling
Ding-a-Ling — as its name might suggest — is an ode to all things fun and slightly absurd. With a menu consisting of drinks like the blended Banana Bread Daiquiri and the Grasshopper, as well as a drinks category dubbed “Negronis(ish?)”, the bar is a great last-minute stop on any big night out. Hit the dance floor, or chat with fellow patrons over loaded hot dogs and blended Daiquiris. This watering hole stays open until the wee hours of the morning, making it an apt spot to toast to the city that never sleeps.
Address: 116 Avenue C, New York, N.Y. 10009