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Lower Manhattan West — the area below 34th street and west of Broadway — encompasses some of New York City’s busiest neighborhoods. In SoHo, high-end shops sit alongside flea markets and chic cocktail lounges, while restaurants in Little Italy dole out platefuls of spaghetti al limone alongside Sicilian Chardonnay. Meanwhile, Chelsea is home to wine bars galore, as FiDi begins to attract more than just finance bros to its up-and-coming watering holes.
The region is a true cultural hub that captures NYC’s creative spirit with its romantic architecture, trendy food scene, and innovative bar scene. It’s also a historic center for the LGTBQ+ rights movement; Greenwich Village bars like the Stonewall Inn have long been home to queer liberation protests and continue to welcome the community with open arms. When it comes to drinks and culture, this sprawling area truly has something for everyone.
Here are eight of the best places to drink in Lower Manhattan West.
Best Place to Feel Like an Insider: Katana Kitten
With cool twists on Japanese classics and signature drinks with unexpected flavor combinations, Katana Kitten — helmed by “startender” Masahiro Urushido — is an industry darling. Beloved by some of the city’s top mixologists, what Katana Kitten lacks in size, it makes up for in menu variety by serving up a wide array of highballs, boilermakers, and small bites, including iconic dishes like the nori fries served with curry sauce. This understated West Village bar, wallpapered with movie posters and decorated with eclectic, eye-catching trinkets, serves up some of the best cocktails in the city, so if you stop by, you’re sure to be in good company.
Address: 531 Hudson St., New York, N.Y. 10014
Best Place to Mix it Up: Porchlight
Union Square Hospitality Group’s Porchlight, located between Hudson Yards and Chelsea, is not your parents’ cocktail bar. Its menu comprises modern takes on beloved classics — like the Frozen Strawberry Negroni made with ginger and citrus and the whimsically named 51:49 Martini —as well as signature drinks inspired by the American South. We’re especially fond of the Storm’s Brewin’, an elixir composed of Jamaican gold rum, grenadine, and passion fruit, or choose from a laid-back list of local brews on tap. The food menu stars Southern staples like hush puppies, hot honey chicken, biscuits, and fried shrimp po’ boys.
Tip Jar: Stop by on a Monday night between 6 and 9 p.m. for live jazz, country, soul, or bluegrass music. Check out the upcoming performances here.
Address: 271 11th Ave., New York, N.Y. 10001
Best Place to Explore Spirits: Brandy Library
In the heart of Tribeca, Brandy Library is a spirit collector’s dream. Sprawling shelves with propped up wooden ladders frame a dimly lit lounge where you can relax, or grab a seat by the stunning copper bar and choose from a list of hundreds of spirits. The Library offers up exciting flights to taste some of the best each category has to offer, from rum to tequila. The staff are immensely knowledgeable, and some even offer their own master classes in the space, so feel free to nerd out with them about your favorite bottles.
Address: 25 N. Moore St., New York, N.Y. 10013
Best Place to Embrace Kitsch: Bandits
This diner-inspired West Village hot spot is perhaps the best place in the city to scratch a nostalgic itch. Complete with a disco ball, green velvet booths, and a menu featuring grown-up root beer floats, it’s no surprise that this space regularly hosts costume parties with themes ranging from WrestleMania to the British Invasion. Stop in for a fuss-free beer-and-shot combo, or embrace your “extra” cravings with an over-the-top tiki drink. Either way, the spot is sure to please your taste buds and sentimental side.
Address: 44 Bedford St., New York, N.Y. 10014
Best Place for Family Fun: Torch & Crown Brewery
Having opened its doors in October 2020, Torch & Crown is Manhattan’s first and only full-production brewery. With a tap list and food menu honoring the soul of the city, Torch & Crown proudly serves IPAs, pilsners, porters, and ales brewed in NYC and snacks like soft pretzels inspired by Manhattan’s famed food carts. The space features grand stainless steel brewing vessels in the center, surrounded by large community tables and a sprawling outdoor area where dogs and children can run around on sunny afternoons.
Address: 12 Vandam St., New York, N.Y. 10013
Best Place to Bring a First Date: Amelie Wine Bar
With locations in Fairfax, Va., San Francisco, and NYC’s Upper East Side and West Village, Amelie Wine Bar has a distinctly European feel, with a dimly lit, romantic atmosphere and generous by-the-glass pours. Enjoy from a wide selection of white, red, orange, rosé, and sparkling wines hailing largely from the other side of the Atlantic alongside French bites like onion soup and escargot.
Tip Jar: Amelie Wine Bar often features live music, so plan to stay for a couple of hours to enjoy the performance. And don’t be put off by the low price point on the wine list — this well-curated spot keeps the quality of its offerings high.
Address: 22 W. 8th St., New York, N.Y. 10011
Best Place to Escape the City: Jungle Bird
Need a quick respite from Manhattan’s noisy, fast-paced energy? Stop by Chelsea’s Jungle Bird to be instantly transported to the tropics. With a menu featuring beloved tiki drinks (including the one that inspired the bar’s name), punch bowls for a crowd, and plenty of signature sips, Jungle Bird captures the playful spirit of beachside bars while maintaining an upscale feel. The space itself is as bright and colorful as the drinks it serves up, complete with teal velvet chairs and a camel leather booth sandwiching marbled wood tables. Vibrant murals, bird trinkets, and plenty of plants tie the aesthetic together for a true sanctuary away from the city’s hustle and bustle.
Address: 174 8th Ave., New York, N.Y. 10011
Best Place to Drink With Pride: the Stonewall Inn
With decades of history under its belt, the Stonewall Inn is one of those few “tourist attractions” that’s well worth a visit. The bar, located in Greenwich Village, proudly touts its legacy as a site of LGBTQ+ riots back in 1969 and remains a haven for the city’s queer community. Peer through its rainbow flag-clad windows and expect to witness drag shows, dance parties, karaoke nights, and more. There’s perhaps no better place to immerse yourself in the cultural energy of Lower Manhattan West.
Address: 53 Christopher St., New York, N.Y. 10014