265 Elizabeth St., nr. E. Houston St.; 212-334-2426
Sam Martinez has remade his former Rialto space as a slightly schizophrenic lounge: skull lamps in the front room, poker-felt wallpaper in a back lounge, and a smart dining-room patio topping things off. Sunday nights bring Long Island-style lobster boils, served with corn fritters and buckets of beer.
247 Eldridge St., nr. Houston St.
Matt Levine, self-styled savior of New York City nightlife, has ruffled some feathers with his grandiose claims for his "exclusive" LES lounge-restaurant. Understandable: Levine has already promised that the tiny space—thirteen tables will seat 150 people—will have butlers, hospitality consultants, table attendants, and a $650,000 wall of champagne.
The Frying Pan
Pier 66, W. 26th St. at West Side Hwy.; 212-989-6363
After being shuttered during the '07 season, our favorite historic lightship from 1929 is back in service. Equipped with Ping-Pong and foosball tables, lobsters and cheap beer, the spot also claims the best views of the Hudson around.
210 Smith St., nr. Butler St., Cobble Hill, Brooklyn; 718-855-7939
This spot from Flatiron Lounge's Julie Reiner pushes the haute cocktail movement even further into Brooklyn. The design flourishes, including a bar dating back to a nineteenth-century Pennsylvania mining town and sparkly chandeliers, are impressive. However, the cocktails themselves—separated into categories like Collins & Fizzes and Juleps & Smashes—are still the primary draw.
120 1/2 First Ave., nr. 7th St.; 212-777-9244
Shuttered for three years, International Bar is open once again, thanks to new owners Shawn Dahl and Molly Mulholland Fitch. Modest upgrades like sinks in the bathrooms and beers on tap are great, but the stacked jukebox—Miles Davis, Howlin’ Wolf, Loretta Lynn—is the real upgrade.