Best New Cocktail Bars Downtown | Grandlife
The Roxy Hotel New York

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New York, NY 10013

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Best New Cocktail Bars Downtown

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In New York City, there’s always a new, stylish haunt that overnight becomes the only place in the city that matters. Just try narrowing down where to grab a cocktail from the crop of new and excellent spots in Lower Manhattan without wanting to destroy your credit card. We’re here to prevent that from happening. From a glitzy jazz bar with a David Lynch vibe to a Northern Mexican-inspired hotspot, these are the new-ish downtown kids on the block worth checking out. 

Only Love Strangers

The Lower East Side is overrun with boozy hotspots, but this newcomer from the team behind the Chinese restaurant franchise MáLà Project is one of a kind. Wander in from the rowdy streets and enter the sleek and sultry bi-level boîte whose Studio Omar Aqeel-designed interior oozes 1970s retrofuturism from all corners. The sumptuous space is drenched in cobalt blue, from the stairs, plush carpets, and curvy banquettes down to the glossy floors. Order from a Mediterranean-inspired menu at the groundfloor restaurant or perch at the curvy aluminum bar before making your way downstairs to the 55-seat mesmeric jazz lounge for martinis, live music, and lingering late-night conversations. It’s an exceedingly atmospheric and date night-friendly haunt, especially for those who want to feel as if they’ve been transported to the shadowy nightclub in David Lynch’s ‘Blue Velvet’ sans cigarette smoke clouds. Feeling blue never looked so good. 

200 Allen St; T. (646) 454-0153

Romeo’s

This fun-filled, retro drinking den comes from the team behind Alphabet City bistro Virginia’s. Nestled on St. Marks Place, just look for the whimsical handpainted mural (think cats, skulls, the King of Hearts) by local artist Workshopnate. Swing open the big red doors and enter a delightfully dizzying world soaked in glowing neon lights. Grab a seat at the cement bar under a spinning disco ball, where bartenders pour tasty, flamboyantly-presented cocktails that seem like they were made for TikTok: a pistachio mai tai, a chocolate negroni, and an avocado marg are all on the menu. Then there’s a cosmo that is briefly set ablaze. Hungry? Order small bites like Elote popcorn and a hotdog served with jalapeño relish. Don’t leave without bookending your meal with a dessert or three. (And by dessert, we mean the espresso martini shots, topped with hazelnut foam.)  

118 St Marks Pl 

 

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Commodore II 

When The Commodore opened its doors in Williamsburg back in 2010, it instantly became a magnet for fans of MGMT, extra-thick glasses, and quirky tattoos. Well, the hipsters of the 2010s may have sold their American Apparel collection at Buffalo Exchange long ago, but Commodore is still going strong, which is understandable if you’ve tried their delicious fried chicken. So strong that the beloved watering hole just opened its first Manhattan location on the corner of Avenue C and East 2nd Street. Evoking the same lighthearted charm and aesthetic as the original joint, there’s a DJ booth, porthole windows, and plastic fish dotting the wood-paneled walls. Menu items include kale salads, sky-high nachos, a killer shrimp po’boy, plus plenty of fruity frozen cocktails. As for their must-order fried chicken? It will change your tastebuds’ lives.  

14 Ave C, T. (646) 935-9571

Corima

Chef Fidel Caballero, an alum of the dearly departed, Michelin-starred, tasting-menu restaurant Contra, opened Corima–which translates to “circle of sharing”–in Chinatown at the start of 2024. The space is rustic and dimlit. The Northern Mexican-inspired (with a Japanese flair) menus are thrilling. Yes, plural. The rustic and dim-lit space is split between two menus: à la carte in the front, and a tasting menu in the back. Dishes include everything from carne asada with charred scallions to surf clam ceviche with pickled seaweed to a massive seasonal sashimi platter involving cured egg yolk and ponzu. Tip: do not sleep on the chocolate flan. And if you like your beverages briny, you must order the Uni Gin Sour, made with uni, gin, and lemon. 

3 Allen St; T. (646) 964-4836

 

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Sip & Guzzle 

Everybody’s still talking about Sip & Guzzle, the aggressively atmospheric two-story bar that opened in January by way of alums of Employees Only and Angel’s Share. It makes sense that the hype hasn’t died down–it’s housed in what had been the beloved Cornelia Street Cafe from 1977 to 2018 (RIP, you legend), and modeled after the award-winning SG Club in Tokyo. Order shots of Japanese whiskey, highballs, and izakaya-style bites upstairs at the casual-ish Guzzle while waiting for your table at the perpetually-packed Sip. Things are a bit more sophisticated downstairs, where guests dine upon shochu tipples and fancy fare, courtesy of Mike Bagale, former executive chef of three-Michelin-starred Alinea in Chicago. Feeling extra fancy? We dare you to order their much-Instagrammed $150 Royale with cheese. It’s an A5 Miyazaki wagyu tenderloin cutlet glazed with cheddar ganache and a wasabi-heavy BBQ sauce cushioned between two pillowy slices of milk bread. The mouthwatering-inducing showstopper comes in a glittering gold Happy Meal-style box because of course it does. Make it a “very Happy Meal” with a white truffle milkshake or a black truffle cherry soda float. One last over-the-top thing worth mentioning: Golden Osetra caviar can be added to any dish for $5 per gram, though there’s a 10-gram minimum. (We’ll stick to guzzling highballs upstairs.)

29 Cornelia St; T. (917) 259-6974

Jade & Clover 

This newly opened, speakeasy-style cocktail lounge is tucked behind the unassuming storefront of a traditional Chinese apothecary on Chrystie Street. Come here for the killer cocktails. Artfully made using Irish and Asian ingredients, they’re wildly inventive. Take a quick look at the drink menu and you’ll realize we’re not exaggerating. Some standouts: The “139 Chrys-Tea” (oolong tea infused Mijenta tequila, lemon, demerara), the “PB & S” (Woodinville Bourbon, peanut butter, black sesame, chocolate bitters, angostura), and their tasty take on an espresso martini, called the “Cá Phé Ailen” (Lost Irish whiskey, Fill Up coffee, condensed milk, coffee liqueur, chocolate bitters.) Perch at the glamorous gilded bar or sink into elegant, low-slung olive green seating. Enjoy some dim-sum after-dark (they offer a variety of dumplings and bao) from the food menu, or bar snacks, like pecking duck spring rolls, truffle fries, and fried wontons. But don’t post on social media. This is the type of hidden gem you’ll want to keep to yourself. 

139 Chrystie St; T. (646) 370-3906

WORDS Alex Catarinella 

IMAGERY romeosnyc.com

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The Roxy Hotel New York

2 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10013

212.519.6600 https://www.roxyhotelnyc.com
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